by Cheryl Williams
Breaking the ice and becoming better acquainted with your date, co-workers, or even your in-laws shouldn’t be hard work. Locating an alternative to the customary night of dinner and a movie shouldn’t be either. So how should we mix and mingle with others? Play with them! The new name of the game in contemporary nightlife is PlayDate, and it’s bringing people together in a unique yet relaxed atmosphere. PlayDate premiered in Richmond last week. But there’s more fun in store: The next one is March 13, 9pm at the Hat Factory, 140 Virginia St. Future dates are April 10 and May 8.
At a PlayDate event you will find good food, drink, and music, as well as people playing all sorts of nostalgic games including Battleship, Connect Four, limbo, pool, poker, UNO, Twister, musical chairs and Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots. There’s even Nintendo Wii. So if you want to play along, guys, loosen that tie. And ladies, come prepared to kick off those heels!
“It was so fun last night! Everybody needs to DuttyWine!” laughs Anthony, referring to a featured game. Anthony came from Hampton Roads but a few Play-Daters come from even farther. Nickie and Terri visited from Charlotte, North Carolina. Terri’s only regret? She thinks she should have won Twister.
Playdate was created by Imari Havard of Timeless Entertainment Concepts. But the Richmond Affiliate Manager of PlayDate is Johnathan Mayo, creator of SoulBowl Lounge, a social event he began three years ago that brings a night of live music, food, bowling and casino games to young professionals. Owner of Avail Marketing and co-owner of Mama J’s Kitchen on 415 N. 1st St., Johnathan is ambitious as well as socially-conscious. He says that amidst the fun and games, important concerns are being addressed. “We try to support the charities and non-profit organizations too. In fact, many charities sell PlayDate event tickets and in return, a percentage of all the proceeds go directly to their respective charity or organization.”
Non-profits are allowed to sell event tickets and retain the $5 per ticket as fundraiser profit. A different non-profit has the opportunity for proceeds each month. With the premiere PlayDate, the Corey D. Smith Memorial Foundation, honoring former John Marshall High School student and NFL star, raised over $1000 for scholarships for students who attend John Marshall High School. The Foundation plans to participate again.
In just five years, PlayDate has expanded into 30 cities nationwide, making it a chic social network for professional adults ages 21 and up. He says each event features a mix of older adults as well as twenty-somethings. To keep the party going, there’s PlayDate Playground, a free online social hub for guests nationwide to remain in contact, network, share videos, photos and music. There’s also the Wanna Play Getaway, which each year visits an international destination. While the initial getaway was to Nassau, Bahamas, PlayDaters this year look forward to an all inclusive, 5-Star Grand Caribe Real Resort and Spa in Cancun, Mexico.