In Bustle’s new series Shooting Your Shot, single celebrities weigh in on drinking and dating: their go-to beverages, their favorite date bars, and more.
Kit Keenan knows a thing or two about going on dates. The New York City native and daughter of designer Cynthia Rowley was a contestant on the 25th season of The Bachelor, which aired in 2021. On the show, Keenan was known for being a “straight shooter” who wanted a serious partner to match her maturity level — despite only being 21 at the time. After many chats and dates and talks about whether or not she was ready for marriage, Keenan quit the show in Week 7 and has since continued her quest to find a partner in the moody bars of NYC. The 23-year-old loves a dirty martini and a good vibe, but says she doesn’t necessarily need to drink while on a date.
In fact, the self-proclaimed lightweight is a one-and-done type of gal — and she wants her dates to be on the same page. When they aren’t, she says, things get awkward fast. On a recent meetup at The Nines, a romantic, old-school piano lounge, Keenan found herself across from someone who wasn’t getting the message. “There’s a bunch of great mocktails there, so I ordered off that menu because I didn’t want to drink alcohol, since it was a Monday or a Tuesday,” Keenan tells Bustle. “But the person I was with ordered rounds and rounds of straight Scotch or some sort of liquor.” Her date continued to drink while Keenan sipped a mocktail, and it completely threw her off. “I think you should try to be on the same level of drinks as the person you’re on a date with, so it was just traumatizing.”
Even though they weren’t matching each other’s energy, Keenan stayed through the date, made conversation, and then left. “I said ‘thank you’ and never went on a second date. That happens once in a while, but it’s OK. A bad date is always a good story.” Here, Keenan tells Bustle more about her go-to date spots, her biggest dating pet peeve, and what the drinking rules were like on The Bachelor.
What’s your favorite bar in New York City for dates?
I’m not too much of a date planner, but I would say I’ve been on good dates at Temple Bar, Pebble Bar, and The Nines.
What makes those bars so good? What’s the vibe?
It’s dark, moody, but you can still chat, which is really nice. If I’m going on a date to a bar, it needs to be quiet enough that I can hear the other person. The Nines is definitely a spot where you can hang out, chat, and there’s stuff going on around you. I’ve been on some very funny first dates there. Usually there’s a piano player at some point in the night, so it gives you something to comment on if there’s an awkward pause in the conversation.
Do you have a go-to first date drink? Something you always order?
Usually I do a dirty martini. One of my best friends works for a vodka brand called Body, and they do lower-proof vodka. I’m a lightweight, so it means I can still have a dirty martini but not feel too unfocused during the date or sloshed by the end of it.
Is there a drink order that turns you off or gives you the ick?
I don’t think there’s any specific drink someone could order that would turn me off, but I think a major red flag is if they’re ordering more drinks. Let’s say we go for a drinks date and we each order a drink. If they order a second one and I don’t, I think that’s super awkward. I think it’s a good reminder — if you’re in the mood for another drink, maybe ask if the other person is also in the mood.
Do you have a drink limit for yourself on dates?
Since I’m biggest lightweight when it comes to drinking, I can only have one drink on a date. Unless it’s mixed in with a full, heavy dinner and it’s spread out over two hours, there’s no way I’m ordering a second. Usually it’s one and done for me.
Is there a food you like to have with your drinks, so that it doesn’t hit you too hard?
French fries and a martini are the New York Happy Meal. I love that combo.
Were the drinks good on The Bachelor?
From what I remember, a lot of the drinks were Champagne toasts. If I were to get a drink now, I’d go for a tequila soda, since I know how that drink affects me. I’d keep it simple.
What were the drinking rules on The Bachelor?
There were limits on how much we could drink — a two-drink limit — and I think that’s a good thing because it ensures everyone stays safe. Obviously you’re being filmed and you’ll be in front of millions of people. The show already has an environment that’s high stress, high emotion, so it’s better if you’re not drinking too heavily.
Are these drinking rules newer for reality TV?
Yes! I was recently re-watching something, either Jersey Shore or The Hills, and I was like, “These people are super drunk on TV.” I think it’s good that there’s drink limits now because no one wants to look back and be like, “Oh, my gosh, I was way too drunk last night,” but really no one wants to look back and say, “Oh, my gosh, I was really drunk last night and now it’s captured and shared with the world forever.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.