There are some fairly obvious reasons why you shouldn't drink too much on the early dates. Nobody wants to get plastered and end up in a punch up on the way to the toilets. Likewise if you delicately slide under the table mid sentence, it's going to be difficult to pretend later that ordinarily you're teetotal except for the odd Baileys before bed.
I would advise against drinking for a different reason however. The problem with alcohol is that it can make a crap date seem like a good date, and it can make Mr Completely Wrong seem like Mr Pretty Fun. Before you know it, five dates have flown by and it's not until you're sitting facing each other over a couple of hangovers it dawns on you that you're a vegetarian and he works at an abattoir.
I turned up to a blind date once after a frustrating day at work. I complained about this bitterly to my date and insisted I needed a double G&T just to wind down. More alcohol followed and soon we were playing a zombie shoot 'em up game in some arcade ('aim for head' I told him). We were both having a fun time, nothing wrong with that, but the problem was that I'm generally not a fun kinda girl. This sort of date was not the type I would generally enjoy and I wasn't acting like myself. My idea of a fun day is lying in bed complaining about things, maybe with some toast.
I don't remember what his job was, but I believe it involved wandering round the desert with explosives. I have no idea what his interests were, and while I wasn't one hundred per cent sure what my interests were either, I do know that whatever my interests were, they were not in the same camping ground as whatever his interests were, zombie hunting aside. In this instance, alcohol had picked the date up and taken it to dizzying heights it just wouldn't have reached over coffee and cake.
It made for a fun night, but in these situations it's just too easy to think you're both compatible, when you're actually both just drunk. After that I stopped booking first dates on Friday and Saturday nights, the temptation to party was too strong. I stuck to somber cafes where I could take things slowly and be myself. I never played another zombie arcade game. Let this be a lesson.