7:45 p.m. Weekdays: Best Place to Meet an Online Date for a Beer 

Cato's Ale House

There are few moments more grueling than the ones leading up the moment when you finally meet your Craigslist buddy in person. Oh, they were witty with the e-mail banter, and their CD player is (allegedly) stocked with tasteful tunes. And the picture they sent gave you reason to swoon. But in the back of your mind, you know e-mail can be deceiving. You know CDs don't tell the whole story. And you know, God, do you know, pictures do lie -- especially on Craigslist. So the last thing you need is a bogus meeting spot to mess with your game. Cafes don't provide enough cover, restaurants are too heavy for a first meeting, and dive bars, quaint as they may be, may say the wrong thing about you, you alky. For just the right ambiance, where all the bases get covered, we suggest Cato's Ale House on a weekday night when the pressure isn't too intense. The low-key hipster vibe suggests you've picked out a good pub (you're thoughtful) that still hasn't been discovered by the TGIF crowd (and now you're tasteful). There's a wall full of beers to chose from, supplying a gimme icebreaker: "Never tried the Appalachian Mountain Black Tar Summer Edition Malt Ale Pilsner? Then let's order two!" Cato's also serves unpretentious pub grub, so if you stammer through the first drink and want to prolong the date, the cuisine won't fail you. On some weeknights, a bluegrass band rakes washboards and plucks banjos, adding to the overall cozy chemistry. After that, you're on your own.

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