Address: 149 2nd Ave. 2nd Floor (9th & 10th St.)
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.
Address: 53 W. 19th St. (5th Ave & Avenue of the Americas)
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!
Address: 167 E. 33rd St. (Lexington & 3rd Ave.)
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!
Address: 196 2nd Ave. (12th & 13th St.)
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.
Address: 136 9th Ave. (18th & 19th St.)
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.