13 Best First Date Bars in NYC
Finally score a date with your crush? Now, all you need the perfect spot for your first date. No pressure, right? With all the options in NYC, it can be a bit difficult to figure out where you should go. That’s why we made a list of the 13 best first date bars in NYC to make sure you lock down date #2.
1. Night of Joy (667 Lorimer St, Brooklyn)
Along with the name itself summarizing how you hope any first date will turn out, this bar’s cozy atmosphere and uniquely delicious cocktails will make sure that your night is one to enjoy. With antique carpets and sofas and old-fashioned decor, Night of Joy places you in a perfectly relaxed, homey environment, ideal for comfortably opening up to your date in an intimate atmosphere. While the bar provides an old-fashioned feel, it puts a special, progressive twist on classic cocktails that make great conversation starters, while helping to loosen you up to the dating environment with spirits nicely matched with botanical ingredients and herbal infusions. By the end of the night, you’re guaranteed to be cozied up to your date after low lit, romantic, intriguing Night of Joy.
2. Forgetmenot (138 Division St)
Ideal first date–experience love at first sight and be whisked away to a romantic beachfront getaway. A more realistic but also fabulous first date–head to the beachy themed Chinatown bar, Forgetmenot. With just one of their much stronger than they look libations, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered a tropical paradise whether the date itself goes well or not. Their spicy watermelon margaritas are rumored to make even those on the shyer side open up. Though slightly kitschy, the beachy decor is just as adorable as you hope your date will be. And assuming the date goes smoothly, you can end the night telling your date “Forgetmenot.”
3. Bell Book & Candle (141 W 10th St)
If you can already tell that a first date won’t feature any awkward silence and instead will be filled with hours of interesting conversation, head to Greenwich Village’s quiet and quaint Bell Book & Candle. Not to mention, their decadent cocktails are conversation starters in themselves and certainly pack in their own kick. With a rustic interior and a stunning rooftop garden, the bar provides both an alluring, intimate vibe and a bright, romantic atmosphere, perfect for any mix of personalities. For something extra private, head to the dark back corner for whatever it is that might be NSFW for the other bar patrons to witness. With a first day here, you’re likely to score yourself a second ASAP.
4. Fat Cat (75 Christopher St)
Live jazz, pool, foosball and ping pong–the Fat Cat provides you with plenty of activity in case you’re iffy about how much you and your date will actually have to talk about throughout the night. Ease the first date awkwardness instead but channeling both of your competitive edges with a bar game. Even if dive bars aren’t usually your scene, this place is guaranteed to be tons of fun, and the underground location gives you nostalgia for basement house parties, adding a sense of comfort to the environment no matter how the date itself is fairing. Stick around til 5am with your date in check, or ditch them when they can’t keep up with your pool skills…the choice is yours, but the night will be memorable whatever the outcome.
5. Dante (Greenwich Village)
A full bar with a coffee shop-style atmosphere, Dante is the perfect place to get to know someone over a few casual drinks. Established in 1915, this classic historical spot may even help you and your date begin your own romantic history. You’re likely going to want to try every mixologist perfection on the menu, so you may find yourself sticking around for awhile. From the “Port Cobbler” to the “Spiced Pear Bellini” the drinks here are as fascinating as your date hopefully turns out to be. Keep the conversation flowing, as flavorful small plates pair with the cocktail of your choosing. Bright and whimsical, the first date spot should happily spawn a new relationship or at least an amiable new connection.
6. Goodnight Sonny (134 1st Ave)
Upbeat with light-hearted patrons, Goodnight Sonny is the spot to head to when you’re not ready to be that romantic but certainly want to have tons of fun. With an extensive drinks and food menu, both served until the bar’s 4am close, your night will be filled with mouth-watering tastes for you and your date to enjoy. Representative of a first date gone right, sip on the decadent Lavender Love cocktail, or opt for a more classic martini or beer. Enjoy the intimate library-style leather couch area, surrounded by books and old photos, or hop up by the urban chic bar area. This date hotspot will give you good vibes all night long.
7. Bar Goto (245 Eldridge St)
A Japanese izakaya at its core, Bar Goto is guaranteed to spice up your night with a little bit of everything from authentic Japanese food and drink to french fries featuring hints of Japanese flavor. While everything here is delicious, the atmosphere is what makes this bar so inviting for a first date. Intimate and sleek with its wood-paneled walls and backlit bar, Bar Goto also boasts super friendly and engaging bartenders who will help keep the conversation flowing even if you and your date can’t accomplish that on your own. Bartenders are also totally willing to hop in a selfie with you as a souvenir of your experience, so even if nothing turns out Insta-worthy with your date, you’ll still have a fun photo to document the night.
8. Donna (27 Broadway, Brooklyn)
“You are just so beautiful,” is what you hope your date will say about you after the amount of effort you put into getting ready to rock the first-impression test, but at Donna you’ll likely find yourself saying that about both the bar’s interior and the drink presentation. The wooden, country-like oasis adorns all of their extremely fun named drinks with equally fun garnishes that compliment the drinks bright colors and perfectly sweet or savory tastes. They even turn the menu into a game for you and your date to break the ice, as next to each drink description are emoji-like symbols that make up a special code for you to crack. Undoubtedly, this place will make your first date a light-hearted, yet strikingly memorable experience.
9. Aria Wine Bar (117 Perry St)
It doesn’t get much more romantic than Italian culture and it doesn’t get much more delicious than Italian wine, so Aria Wine Bar is obviously an amazing first date destination, since it’s highly unlikely the date will be in Italy itself. Lively and intimate, as you savor the continuous flow of flavorful wines, Aria is a great place to get to know someone you may grow to care about (and even eventually fall in love with). There is just too much to love about this small and cozy, yet upbeat and friendly environment for it to not be your night first date spot. Cheers to that!
10. Eli’s Night Shift (189 E 79th St)
You may think there’s no better way to get to know someone than to converse with them over some delicious bagels and lox, in which case you should hit up Eli’s day shift over at Zabars. If you’re more of the date night owl, however, Eli’s Night Shift should make it onto your list of first date destinations. Cool and casual with great cocktails and small bites, this spot makes the first date carefree and fun. If you’re down to be a little daring (aren’t first dates in general kind of daring already anyway), ask the barman about the Bartender’s Choice and leave your drink decision in the hands of the mixologist. If you’re feeling more indecisive than daring (you do, after all, have the big decision ahead of whether your first date is worthy of a second), order a flight of local brews for you and your date to share and enjoy.
11. Weather Up (159 Duane St)
Cool and classy, Weather Up is where you head to secure the perfect first impression. The bar itself is stunning, and the drinks are strong and satisfying. Enjoy your decadent drink alongside savory tapas that will surely drool over (if you’re not drooling over your hopefully attractive date). With a wide array of all unique drinks, each order serves as a type of personality test, whether you’re showing your sweet side with a creamy Flamingo cocktail or you’re smokin hot side with the Tequila Torchlight.
12. Nitecap (151 Rivington St)
Small and barely lit, Nitecap can become whatever you want it to be for your first date. Intimate and romantic, you can snuggle up with your date while sipping a top-notch cocktail. Or, if the date doesn’t look exactly like their Tinder profile suggested, embrace the barely there lighting to use your imagination of what your dream date would actually look like and who knows? Maybe that date of yours will actually have a great personality. Looks aren’t everything after all. A highlight of this place is that when you order a bottle, you only get charged for what you drink, so whether you and your date talk the night away and drink down to the last sip, the date is going so badly you need the bottle for yourself, or something goes south that leads you to have to ditch before sufficient booze, you’re covered.
13. The Up & Up (116 Macdougal St)
Want to sound smart heading into your first date? Research the Up & Up’s history and you’re bound to find interesting information to spark a night’s worth of conversation. Not yet one to be featured in the history books, the Up & Up boasts stories from the 60s from Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, so conversations can head in the direction of passionate poetry or fun-loving music once you’ve shown off your knowledge of the establishment where you’ll be sipping your one-of-a-kind bottled cocktail surrounded by the vintage wallpaper, snuggled in a cozy booth.
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