Kris and FawnSeveral times a year, Orlando Date Night Guide sends a different couple on an awesome date night. The pair becomes the “Couple at Large” and are charged with reporting back to readers the details of their night. Here's our inaugural Couple at Large report, brought to you by Kris Kuhl & Fawn Porter of New Smyrna Beach. Kris & Fawn had dinner and then rocked it out at the House of Blues at Downtown Disney.

This is one of the area's best places to see a concert because…
The House of Blues has an overall cool vibe, and because the size of the venue is intimate, there’s always a great view of the stage. The other thing we loved about seeing a concert at HOB is that you can move around to different parts of the venue while still enjoying the show; you’re not confined to one spot for an entire concert. The full bar and being able to order food is an added bonus!

Couples on date night should be sure to…
Make a reservation for dinner, but get there early. As we walked up to the restaurant, there was live music at the outdoor bar. We were glad to have had a reservation, as we were taken in promptly and those without one had a 45-minute wait. In hindsight, I wish we had known to come a bit early to enjoy the live music and a pre-dinner drink. Also, I wish we had thought to stop by the gift shop to buy a little something to remember our amazing night. We have the great memories, and we’ll for sure be back, so no biggie…but other couples should keep this in mind.

Ceiling mural over barWe live over an hour away, and while we certainly could have driven back following the concert, we decided to extend our date night by adding an overnight stay. The dinner and concert already made for a perfect date, but following it up with a day relaxing at the resort pool and floating down the lazy river, made it extra special.

The three things that made dinner at House of Blues great were…
1. The eclectic menu. There is truly something for everyone, but what we loved was the interesting twist on each dish. Kris ordered the Chile Braised Short Ribs. I was unsure of what it was served atop of until I tasted it. Turns out it was the yummiest cornbread. Though looking back at the menu it is described as ‘andouille corn pudding’ – either way it was delish. While I enjoyed my Seared Ahi Tuna Chopped Salad, I have to admit I did have food envy. We saved room for dessert, and boy was it worth it. We opted for the Bourbon Bread Pudding. Plenty for two and yummy.
2. The ambiance. It’s warm, laid-back, inviting, upscale and like the menu, the décor is fantastically eclectic. Everything from folk-art and mosaics, to ceiling medallions formed out of shoe/sneaker circle arrangements (trust me, it all works together). We were also surprised that although HOB is in the heart of tourist-land, it didn’t feel as if you were amongst a bunch of vacationers. Instead, we very much felt like it is a place where the locals go to eat – in a good way.
3. The staff. From the moment we walked in, every staff member we encountered was exceptional. Kind, attentive, super-friendly, just really made us feel welcome and special. This carried over to the staff at the music venue, everyone from security to servers.

Photo 4A tip every couple should know is…

If you don’t want to spring for the ‘loge seating’ (see below), there’s still a chance to snag a seat. On the upper level there are seats surrounding the inside perimeter of the balcony. It didn’t appear as though you needed anything more than a General Admission ticket to sit in those seats; however, this likely varies by event, so you’ll want to check with the box office. In order to secure the seats available on a first-come-first-serve basis, you’ll want to be one of the first in line when doors open. To up your chances, we learned there is Priority Entrance for those who take advantage of HOB’s “Shop or Dine – Pass the Line” option.

The highlight of the night was…
The entire night was a blast, but for us the highlight was when we realized we had been upgraded to the loge area for the Ziggy Marley concert. Talk about feeling like rock stars! For those that aren’t familiar with the venue, the lower level of the upper balcony is reserved with very limited seating (most of the venue is standing room only). We were greeted by the loge hostess at the roped off area (complete with security guard) and were escorted to our assigned stools. Our waitress, (yes, another benefit of the loge) Nicole, was extremely friendly and attentive. We’re told that the loge seating isn’t always an option for the general public, as it is reserved for band member’s guests, VIPs, contest winners (like us) 🙂 etc. The area is not crowded, and having a place to sit made everything that much more enjoyable, especially for me; because of leg surgery it’s hard for me to stand for extended periods of time. If you have the opportunity to purchase loge tickets it is SO worth it. Another tip, our hostess said sometimes loge seats become available day-of and you can purchase them at the box office. Doesn’t hurt to ask!

We feel so lucky to have been selected as the very first Couple at Large. A million thanks to Orlando Date Night Guide and the House of Blues for one of our most fun and memorable nights! It truly was a Great Date!

Fawn & Kris