For a few dollars less

A gender-specific guide to cheap dating
By SARA FAITH ALTERMAN  |  September 4, 2007


Like a $20 hooker, college expenses can really suck you dry. But come on, playa! If you wanna hit it with the co-eds you’ve got to hit the ATM first. The ability to plan a cheap, fun date is a crucial tool in any 18-to-20-something’s belt. Since men are from Mars, women are from Crazytown, and you’re not a mind reader, it can be tricky to figure out the perfect date, especially one that won’t drain your pathetic bank account. Behold! A his-’n’-hers guide to sweet, cheap action.

Booze is a key part of any hot date. Ladies, listen very carefully: three little initials are all you need to make your man happy. (Initials! Not words. Good lord, not three little words. If there’s one thing that men hate more than salad, it’s feelings.) Those initials? PBR. Cheap beer is like ambrosia to the dudes, and a few pints of the Pabst will make his night super special.

On the other hand, gentlemen, your girl wants to feel classy. You could go with Miller High Life, a/k/a, “the Champagne of beers,” because it’s cheap and kinda fancy, but if you really want to romance your special lady friend, pick up a bottle of the glory that is cheap wine, especially Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck. For as little as, well, two bucks, you can pop open a decent bottle of vino before popping her cork. Meow.

There are so many cheap bars in this town, it’s hard not to stumble into (or out of) one. Sligo (237 Elm Street, Somerville, 617.623.9651) is the ideal place to bring men, because it’s BYOAT (Bring Your Own Anna’s Taqueria). Burritos plus beer plus sticky floors and tiny stools? Nirvana. On the other side of the river, the Avenue (1249 Comm Ave, Allston, 617.782.9508) or The Tam (222 Tremont Street, Boston) are Meccas of cheap, drunken fun.

Something about bars with dancing really speaks to the ladies. If Lansdowne Street is too pricey for you, take her to the Cantab Lounge (738 Mass Ave, Cambridge, 617.354.2685), a cheap fix for dancing queens. The cover charge is minimal, the drinks are affordable, and the live music is raucous. Plus everyone dances like an asshole at the Cantab, so no need to feel self-conscious.

Girlie-girls probably dig the Faneuil Hall scene (shudder), so if you absolutely must brave the yuppie/tourist/asshole-law-student storm, dirt-cheap beer and dirtier monkeys can be found at Sissy K’s (4 Commercial Street, Boston, 617.248.6511).

The aforementioned Anna’s Taqueria (multiple locations in Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline) serves the best cheap food around, no gender stereotyping about it. Though it’s not exactly smokin’ hot to be shoving a carnitas super burrito into your vacuous face, beggars can’t be choosers. Besides, that shit is delish. (And fuck you, Rachel Ray. That word used to be ironically cool.) Men will also appreciate foods that they can gnaw at as if they were slobbery, primal animals. Redbones BBQ (55 Chester Street, Somerville, 617.628.2200) to the rescue.

Ladies will love the I’m-going-to-have-sensual-sex-tonight vibe of Noir at the Charles Hotel (1 Bennett Street, Cambridge, 617.661.8010), and Monday through Thursday, from 5 to 7 pm, most of their menu is under $5. If it’s a nice night, you can sit out on the patio and watch the rich people file inside to eat at Rialto.

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