Cocktails

Peels

Peels NYC

Photo by Peels

Address: 325 Bowery (2nd St. & Bleecker St.)

Link: http://peelsnyc.com/

Review: Located in the East Village/NoHo area, this is a terrific spot for a cozy date with some delicious food as well.  The decor is stylish but comfortable.  The booths upstairs are a favorite and work well for a quiet conversation or can even accommodate a double date with some of your pals.  They do a good job of executing some old comfort food standbys – fried chicken, burgers, and shrimp and grits.  With prices that won’t break the bank, Peels is a good spot for a cozy date on a cold winter night to sip on some hot cocktails and fill up on some home style cooking. (They have a great brunch too!)

Kingston Hall

Kingston Hall

Photo by Kingston Hall

Address: 149 2nd Ave. 2nd Floor (9th & 10th St.)

Link: http://www.kingstonhall.com/

Review: Kingston Hall is a nice break from the chaos that can be the East Village bar scene.  This sudo speakeasy is a great place to bring a date or a group (though avoid Thursday through Saturday for a date as it can get pretty loud/rowdy on weekends).  There’s comfy lounge seating, a pool table and a back room that’s great for groups.  Fun cocktails give Kingston Hall a classier feel than the standard East Village bar catering to the beer swilling masses.

Lexington Brass

Lexington Brass

Photo by Lexington Brass

Address: 517 Lexington Ave. (48th & 49th St.)

Link: http://emmgroupinc.com/restaurants/lexington-brass/

Review: Lexington Brass is a nice upscale bar located in Midtown East.  It’s got a hopping after work bar scene, tasty small bites and great upscale bar food – burgers, truffle fries, fried chicken and everyone’s favorite – lobster mac and cheese.  They also have a decent selection of cocktails and some great microbrews on tap.  Being that it’s located in Midtown, it’s packed to the hilt with suits, but the friendly service helps dull the overall corporate feeling of the clientele.  If you’re looking for a place to stop in and refuel after a long day of climbing the corporate ladder, this is the spot.

Sushi Masaru

Sushi Masaru

Photo by Sushi Masaru

Address: 169 8th Ave. (18th & 19th St.)

Link: http://sushimasaru.com/

Review: Recently opened by former Bond St. and Sushi Samba chefs, this Chelsea sushi joint produces some deliciously fun rolls.  It’s clubbish decor and music may be unsettling for those looking for a nice quiet date, but given the right group it could be just what you’re looking for to start a night of club hopping.  Though opened about 2 months ago, they still seem to be ironing out the kinks – the service was a bit all over the place and there was a miscommunication with their VIP card program.  It’s not the best spot for a romantic date, but moreso a good starting point for a fun, lively night with some booze and a tasty meal.

Wilfie & Nell

Wilfie & Nell

Photo by NYCHDR

Address: 228 W. 4th St. (7th Ave. S. & W. 10th St.)

Link: http://wilfieandnell.com/

Review: Wilfie & Nell is a great local bar in the West Village.  It’s got that old tavern look and feel which attracts hipsters and suits alike.  It’s a great spot to meet a date or grab some drinks with your pals after work or on the weekends.  They have a good selection of craft beers and specialty cocktails to choose from.  We have yet to try the food here, which consists of somewhat upscale pub fare, but definitely want to make a trip back for their brunch ($5 bloody mary’s!) It can get pretty crowded/loud on weekends so only take a date here for drinks during the week if you want to be able to hear what they’re saying!

Rosa Mexicano

Photo by Rosa Mexicano

Address: 9 E. 18th St. (5th Ave. & Broadway)

*Locations also in Midtown East and UWS

Link: http://www.rosamexicano.com/newyorkcity/

Review: Rosa Mexicano is a large format chain Mexican restaurant with 3 locations in NYC – Union Square, Upper West Side and Midtown East.  But even though it is a chain they have great, more upscale Mexican dishes with deliciously fresh ingredients.  They have a large menu with tons of different options and lots of great tequila cocktails as well.  You of course need to order the guac which is freshly made at your table, their ceviches are solid and the fundido (Mexican fondue type dish) is super cheesy and terrible for you but oh so good and a must order for the table to share.  If you’re looking to have a fun dinner out with friends and/or family, this is a great choice.  Though beware, at busier times the servers can get over whelmed, service can get pretty slow and one for got an app we ordered.

Pampano

Photo by Pampano

Address: 209 East 49th St. (3rd & 2nd Ave.)

Link: http://www.richardsandoval.com/pampano

Review: Pampano is a high end Mexican seafood spot located in Midtown East.  It’s not a far walk from Grand Central and it has really nice outdoor seating among the tall buildings in the area.  You have 2 options here – you can eat off the tapas menu downstairs at the bar if your looking for some small bites, or eat off the full dinner menu upstairs (either indoors or out).  Everything we tried was truly fantastic.  The scallops were prepared perfectly, the braised pork shoulder was savory and delicious and the lobster tacos and red snapper quesadillas were super tasty appetizers.  They also have good specialty cocktails, nice decor and quick, friendly service.  So if you’re in the mood for some great Mexican food but want to keep it on the healthy side, this is a great spot to bring your date for a nice night out.

Cask Bar + Kitchen

Photo by Cask Bar

Address: 167 E. 33rd St. (Lexington & 3rd Ave.)

Link: http://www.casknyc.com/

Review: Cask Bar + Kitchen is a fun spot to grab a bunch of small plates and drinks with friends in Murray Hill.  We went here with a group of friends for the boyfriend’s birthday, and had a great time.  They have long tables that are perfect for big groups, beautiful rustic decor and a solid selection of specialty cocktails and beers.  The spring rolls, truffle mac and cheese, meatball sampler, tuna tartare and kobe sliders were all delicious.  It gets pretty packed so make a reservation!

Banc

Photo by Banc

Address: 431 3rd Ave. (30th & 31st St.)

Link: http://www.banccafe.com/

Review: Banc is an average restaurant in the Murray Hill area. It has a decent date spot atmosphere but seems like more of an “upscale” after work hang out rather than a place to take your date for dinner.  It’s somewhat loungey and trying to be a hip/sophisticated spot. The food was average, though the truffle mac and cheese was pretty good.  They also have some good specialty cocktails at decent prices during happy hour. So if you’re looking for a not-as-fratty after work option in the Murray Hill area, this could be a good option, though it might be trying a little too hard.

Yerba Buena

Photo by Yerba Buena

Address: 1 Perry St. (Greenwich & S. 7th Ave.)

*Location also in the Lower East Side

Link: http://ybnyc.com

Review: Yerba Buena is a fantastic restaurant located in both the West Village and the Lower East Side! Great food, great cocktails and nice ambiance. There are so many delicious options on the menu that we had trouble deciding. With their hearty portion sizes it’s a great place to get a few dishes and share – we had the Parrillada for two (5 different meats) – and it was insanely good! The guacamole, croquetes de queijo and tuna ceviche are must tries as well. While not cheap, Yerba Buena is a fun spot that is definitely worth making a trip to.

Lani Kai

Photo by Lani Kai

Address: 525 Broome St. (Thompson St. & Sullivan St.)

Link: http://www.lanikainy.com/

Review: Looking for an escape to the Hawaiian islands but without the airfare? Check out Lani Kai for some fruity Hawaiian themed cocktails, island decor and music.  It’s a fun, comfortable spot in SoHo to grab a bite to eat and sip on some great specialty cocktails.  They have some yummy seafood small plates and an extensive cocktail menu with tons of great options.  Lani Kai is a good after work/before dinner spot to cozy up to your beau, or a fun place to get large “liquid luau” drink to share with a group of friends.

Blue Owl

Photo by Blue Owl

Address: 196 2nd Ave. (12th & 13th St.)

Link: http://www.blueowlnyc.com/

Review: We weren’t blown away by Blue Owl.  We went there around 10pm on a Thursday looking for some cocktails, cheese and some charcuterie but their kitchen was already closed and the place was pretty empty.  They had a decent cocktail selection but we expected more from this place. The layout was a little weird with a DJ playing some hipster music in one room and couples sitting/canoodling in the other room.  Though we could’ve been there at the wrong time, seems more of a happy hour/weekend type place.  All in all, there are definitely better options for cocktails elsewhere in the East Village, but if you want to stop in for a quick one there’s a decent selection here.

The Tippler

Photo by The Tippler

Address: 425 W 15th St. (9th & 10th Ave.)

Link:   http://thetippler.com/

Review: The Tippler is a speakeasy-type, underground watering hole in the old Nabisco factory underneath Chelsea Market.  It’s a break from your standard meatpacking club, though on weekends it does seem to get some of the the nightclub rejects who can sometimes ruin what could be a great scene.  The awesome cocktail list of intricate drinks, along with some good craft beers make it worth the walk over to meatpacking though.  The Tippler has a cavernous/romantic vibe, but it can get a little loud and hard to hear your companion later on in the night.  There is a line out front at times with a wait, so try and get there early to beat the rush.  All in all, it’s a fun and different spot to try if you enjoy trying out new specialty cocktails, and as long as you can snag a table in one of the dark/quieter corners, it can be a great spot to bring a date.

Employees Only

 

Photo by Employees Only

Address: 510 Hudson St. (10th St. & Christopher St.)

Link:  http://www.employeesonlynyc.com/

Review: Employees Only is a great cocktail spot.  It’s another speakeasy type place but with less fuss at the door than PDT and Death & Co.  Similarly, you pay a premium for the mixology but this is another place that’s totally worth it.  They have some delicious and creative specialty cocktails and tasty small plates.  You’ve got to try the bone marrow poppers and bacon wrapped lamb chops!  Employees Only is the perfect spot to kick start your date night with some pre-dinner cocktails and apps. Can also be a good spot for a first date to get to know each other over some drinks.

Death + Company

Photo by Death + Company

Address: 433 E. 6th St. (Ave. A & 1st Ave.)

Link: http://www.deathandcompany.com/

Review: Death and Company is another one of our favorite speakeasies in NYC.  With its trendy, intimate atmosphere, perfectly crafted unique cocktails and friendly, knowledgeable staff – Death and Co. is a great spot to impress your date or enjoy a night out with a small group of friends.  If the lengthy cocktail menu is too much for you to handle, just tell the bartender or waitress what you generally like and they’ll whip you up the perfect concoction.  They also have some delicious small bites for you to munch on, like truffle macaroni, crispy pork belly and seared petite filet mignon.  Their no reservation policy makes for long waits, so get there early to put your name in and be extra nice to the doorman as he is the gate keeper.  You can sit up at the bar and watch the mixologists at work or cozy up to your date in a plush booth.

PDT

Photo by Eater.com

Address: 113 St. Marks Pl. (1st Ave. & Ave. A)

Link:  http://pdtnyc.com/

Review: PDT is your speakeasy prototype, a hidden cocktail lounge through a phone booth in a hot dog shop (Crif Dogs).  It’s as equally hard to find as it is to get in, but once inside it’s a great place to sit and hang out for an hour or two sipping on amazing unique cocktails. As expected with any speakeasy, the cocktails aren’t cheap, but they’re definitely worth it.  The waitresses are super knowledgeable, if you’re having some trouble picking from the large cocktail menu just tell them what type of liquor or taste you’re in the mood for and they’ll bring you exactly what you’re looking for. PDT is the perfect spot for a different/fun date, whether it be 1 on 1 or a group date, as well as a great place to hang out with a bunch of friends or take some clients.  Awesome snacks are also available from Crif Dogs next door, if you haven’t already eaten some hot dogs while waiting for your table.  We suggest getting a reservation on Thursday-Saturday or you’ll be waiting forever, you’ll have more luck just walking in on off nights.

Summit Bar

Photo by Summit Bar

Address: 133 Ave. C (8th & 9th St.)

Link:  http://thesummitbar.net/

Review: Summit Bar is a great off the beaten path cocktail bar. Space is tight but if you get there a little early you can snag a seat at the bar and sit there all night.  Good music, nice ambiance and great specialty cocktails.  Meat, cheese, and veggie platters also available.  The “Ground to Glass” was my favorite cocktail, tequila + a little spicy + a little sweet = amazing.  It was a little hard to get the bartender’s attention when it got really busy even though we had seats at the bar, but that’s to be expected on a Saturday night during peak hours.  Cocktails range from $8-12 so won’t break the bank like some other specialty cocktail locations. Summit Bar is a perfect for a “let’s grab drinks” date, a double date or meeting up with friends.

Rye House

Photo by Rye House

Address: 11 W 17th St. (5th & 6th Ave.)

Link: http://ryehousenyc.com/

Review: Rye House is a good spot for a strong cocktail in somewhat of a hipster/trendy atmosphere.  They have a good specialty cocktail list and great selection of dark liquors.  We’ve never been here for dinner but it’s a great spot for some apps and cocktails.  Could be good for a more casual “let’s grab drinks date spot”, but also a fun place to grab a long table in the back to booze all night with friends. Truffle grilled cheese and truffle beer cheese are fantastic snacks to nosh on while enjoying your cocktails.  They have a pretty solid Southern style brunch as well.

The Living Room at the W Union Square

Photo by Andrew Karcie

Address: 201 Park Ave. (at 17th St.)

Link: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/dining/attraction_detail.html?attractionId=40194&propertyID=1299

Review: The Living Room at the W Union Square is a trendy, posh hotel lounge with a mix of business types and hotel guests milling around.  You can sit in plush chairs and get served by a cocktail waitress or sit up at the bar.  It’s a great, quieter spot to grab some drinks and chat with your date.  They have a seasonal drink menu but be warned, the drinks aren’t cheap, even just vodka sodas, but if you’re willing to shell out the cash for a couple of cocktails it’s a nice cozy spot to get to know your date.

Angel’s Share

Photo by Be N.

Address: 8 Stuyvesant St. (2nd & 3rd Ave.)

Link: None

Review: Angel’s Share is a hidden date spot gem in the East Village.  It’s a really cool speakeasy that you have to walk upstairs and through a Chinese restaurant to an unmarked door.  It’s the perfect place to impress a first date (The boyfriend brought me here for our first date and it obviously worked!)  Their specialty cocktails are AMAZING, the bartender is SUPER knowledgeable and they have some small plates like cheese and oysters if you get a little hungry.  Drinks aren’t the cheapest but with the amount of work that goes into them and how delicious they taste, it’s definitely worth it.  There’s a no reservation policy so get there early on Thursday – Saturday nights or you’ll be waiting on line for a while.

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