Mayahuel

Mayahuel NYC

Photo by Mayahuel

Address: 304 E. 6th St. (1st & 2nd Ave.)

Link: http://www.mayahuelny.com/home.php

Review: Though we have never sat down to enjoy a full meal, Mayahuel  is worth the trip to the East Village for the cocktails alone.  In the middle of the East Village, just off 2nd Ave., lies a mecca for fun and original tequila and mezcal cocktails.  With a plethora of options to choose from it’s tough to go wrong.  We have nibbled on snacks like spicy popcorn and chips and guac that were a nice treat to accompany our drinks.  Those ordering full meals around us were waiving in sizzling plates of shrimp and succulent pork belly..looks like we are going to have to show up with the intention of sampling the fare and not just the libations!  A dark and cozy bar with a couple side rooms lends itself to a great spot for a quiet conversation, though, like many of the cocktail establishments in the EV, there can be a wait (normally not TOO bad), but dont let it deter you from the chance to transport your palate to some place south of the boarder.

Ramen Sanshiro

Ramen Sanshiro NYC

Photo by Keiko T.

Address: 249 E. 49th St. (2nd & 3rd Ave.)

Review: Speakeasies seem to be the hot new trend for bars these days so why should food not follow suit?  This speakeasy-ish noodle joint is only open after 11 pm and does not take reservations or credit cards.  Sidle up to the bar in this “closed” Japanese restaurant (called SEO during dinner hours) and feel as though you just got off a day long plane trip to the far East. In no time we were chomping down on succulent pork and tasty noodles.  It’s a great place to end a long night out without that neon sign outside advertising $1 slices or some other greasy cooked slab of meat.  The food is absolutely delicious and the service was friendly and fast, though there is definitely a language barrier.  If your date has lasted long enough to warrant a midnight snack, this could be your best bet before calling it a successful night out.

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.

Bohemian

Photo by Cassie S.

Address: 57 Great Jones St. (Bowery & Lafayette St.)

Link: http://www.playearth.jp/

Review: Bohemian is hands down one of our favorite restaurants in NYC.  It’s got a cool speakeasy feel with its unlisted phone number and no walk-ins policy – you have to know someone who’s been there to be able to get the number and a reservation of your own.  It’s down a long hallway behind a butchers shop and through a secret door. If and when you can find your way in, it’s got a really chic/modern vibe, naturally lit from the skylight above and a very limited number of tables.  The food and specialty cocktails here are out of this world.  We only had time for some small plates but each one was fantastic – the mushroom coquette with uni, the washu-gyu beef sliders, the beef short rib sashimi and the foie gras soba noodles.  We’re dying to go back to try out the steak and branzino.  If you can get your hands on the number and snag a reservation, Bohemian is a great place to impress your date with a delicious meal in a small intimate atmosphere.

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.

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.