Tapas

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.

Boqueria

Photo by Boqueria

Address: 53 W. 19th St. (5th Ave & Avenue of the Americas)

Link: http://www.boquerianyc.com/index.html

Review: Boqueria is a great Spanish tapas place with two locations – in Flatiron and SoHo.  It’s the perfect date spot to share a couple different dishes and try something new over a glass or three of wine.  Boqueria has a fun, young crowd and super helpful/knowledgeable servers if you’re at a loss as to what wine or meat/cheese options to pick.  We didn’t have too much as we only stopped in for a quick bite but the meat and cheese plate, croquettas cremosas (creamy croquettes; three each of mushroom and Serrano ham), and cojonudo (fried quail eggs and chorizo on toast) were all delicious and definitely hit the spot. Can’t wait to make a trip back to try more!

Cask Bar + Kitchen

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!

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.

Salinas

Photo by Salinas

Address: 136 9th Ave. (18th & 19th St.)

Link: http://www.salinasnyc.com/

Review: Salinas seems like a launch pad for a night out in meatpacking – lots of large groups of girls in tight dresses getting the party started for the night.  Which was unfortunate because Salinas has the potential to be a really great, romantic and intimate date spot, but I wouldn’t totally rule it out since we did go at 10pm on a Friday night.  They have really good specialty cocktails, awesome tapas (must try the quail wrapped with bacon) and a DELICIOUS suckling pig entree that we split.  Try going earlier in the night or on a weeknight so you don’t catch the pre-club crowd and Salinas is sure to be a great date spot for some awesome Spanish/Mediterranean food.

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