New York City area residents looking for unique first date opportunities face no shortage of trendy venues to choose from, though the sheer volume of hot and new choices can often be overwhelming. The following restaurants and lounges offer some of the most romantic ambiance in Manhattan and Brooklyn, serving up international fare and craft beverages to share at intimate tables or on cozy loveseats meant for two. Dates looking to skip the city's more heavily-touristed sights can still take in the ambiance of Times Square atop the Marriott Marquis' The View rotating restaurant, while those looking for an unparalleled world-class dining experience can make reservations at Cagen's exclusive 12-seat chef's table, operated by acclaimed Nobu chef Toshio Tomita.
1.The Shops at Columbus Circle
The Shops at Columbus Circle is an upscale retail and dining center housed within Manhattan's Time Warner Center, attracting more than 16 million annual visitors. The 2.8-million-square-foot complex, originally opened to the public in 2003, is located along Columbus Circle at Central Park's southwestern corner, offering stunning views of the city's Upper West Side district. More than 50 boutique and specialty retailers are offered, including the East Coast flagship location of culinary retailer Williams-Sonoma, along with retailers such as Amazon Books, Hugo Boss, H&M, Coach, J. Crew, and Whole Foods Market. Dining choices include the Michelin three-star restaurant Per Se and Masa, which is reputed to be Manhattan's most expensive dining destination. Nightlife spots include Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, overseen by internationally-acclaimed musician Wynton Marsalis.
10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-823-6300
2.VR World NYC
VR World NYC is the United States' largest virtual-reality entertainment destination, offering more than 50 unique art, gaming, and entertainment mixed-reality experiences. The complex, which is located adjacent to Manhattan's famed Empire State Building, offers a plethora of unique virtual reality experiences for adults to enjoy, including multiplayer gaming experiences. Players use Oculus and HTC Vibe virtual reality headsets to immerse themselves in limitless interactive virtual worlds, including games using hands-free experiences. Experiences span three floors, with a full bar available for players to enjoy alcoholic beverages between games. The complex's mezzanine level is also home to a selection of curated art, music, and film experiences.
4 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016, Phone: 646-578-9630
Mayfield is an acclaimed casual New American restaurant in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood, opened in October of 2012 by owners Jacques Belanger and Lev Gewirtzman. The trendy restaurant is perfect for an intimate first date, offering a laid-back ambiance and wood-forward design elements in its hip dining room. Diverse menus highlight casual and upscale fare alike, ranging from patty melts and Cuban sandwiches to a full raw bar and elegant entrees such as steak tartare, buttermilk fried quail, and organic chicken liver pate. At brunch, diners can choose from create-your-own omelettes, brioche French toast, shrimp and grits, or corned beef tongue hash, available with homestyle sides such as spoon bread and collard greens with bacon lard. Drink selections include an extensive list of craft beers on draft and in cans, along with fine wines and clever house cocktails.
688 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238, Phone: 347-318-3643
4.David Benrimon Fine Art
© David Benrimon Fine Art
David Benrimon Fine Art is one of Manhattan's premiere art galleries, founded in 2002 by David Benrimon to showcase the works of Impressionist, modern, and contemporary artists from around the world. Top names from the art world on display include Impressionist legends such as Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, while modern and contemporary luminaries showcased include Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Andy Warhol. Rotating exhibitions on display at the gallery focus around a single artist or theme, rotating through the gallery's extensive artist-focused collections. All pieces are for sale, with dedicated advisors on site to guide patrons through every step of the purchasing process.
724 5th Ave 8th floor, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-628-1600
5.QXT's Night Club
© Jacob Lund/stock.adobe.com
QXT's Night Club is the longest-operating alternative dance club in New Jersey, originally opened in 1991. The club has become a haven for alternative music fans to dance the night away each Friday and Saturday night, open each weekend from 10:00pm to 3:00am. For more than 25 years, the club has spun a wide variety of hits across genres such as new wave, alternative rock, punk, goth, and industrial music, with themed nights highlighting top alternative genres throughout the month. A spacious main dance floor gives patrons ample space to spread out and dance, with two additional more intimate venues offered, known as The Crypt and Area 51. Bars are offered at each dance floor for patrons 21 years of age and older.
248 Mulberry Street, Newark, NJ, Phone: 201-983-9397
6.Amelie Wine Bar
Amelie Wine Bar is a charming Upper West Side wine bar and restaurant originally opened to the public in December of 2017, showcasing elegant French cuisine and an extensive European wine list. The romantic restaurant serves up an extensive customizable cheese and charcuterie program alongside excellent French entrees such as escargots gratinés, baked camembert de Normandie, coq au vin, and steak à l’échalote. A constantly-changing list of specials is offered, along with sides such as pommes frites, gratin de pommes, and sauteed wild mushrooms. Extensive red and white wine lists feature more than 50 selections, focusing on French favorites with additional options from regions such as California, Chile, South Africa, and New Zealand.
566 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10024, Phone: 646-422-7167
© Elsie Rooftop
Elsie Rooftop is a stylish restaurant near Manhattan's Bryant Park, opened in 2018 and helmed by executive chef David Burke. The restaurant is housed within a 25th-floor penthouse, designed in honor of American actress and interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe, the creator of New York's first penthouse suite. The restaurant's rooftop villa vibe is meant to evoke the splendor of New York City's 1920s-era socialite society, recreating the vibe of elaborate parties of de Wolfe's that hosted guests such as Coco Chanel. A seasonally-focused menu of light bar fare highlights international snacks such as hummus, lamb sliders, and guacamole de fruta, while craft cocktails pay homage to New York in the Roaring Twenties with names such as the Windsor and the Colony Club.
1412 Broadway, New York, NY 10018, Phone: 646-834-2291
© Fenea Silviu/stock.adobe.com
Industry Kitchen is a chic New American restaurant at Manhattan's South Street Seaport, opened to the public in 2015 by restaurateur Abraham Merchant, known for his work on restaurants such as Clinton Hall and Watermark Bar. The Financial District bar and restaurant offers spectacular views of the East River from floor-to-ceiling windows, featuring beer-hall-style tables and a 12-seat chef's counter and open kitchen floor plan. Menus emphasize wood-fired plates, pasta, and seafood dishes, including unique signature pizza flavors such as the Thanksgiving, which is topped with cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pulled turkey, or the dessert-style Pop Candy Land, which features a rainbow swirl crust, cream cheese frosting, Pop Rocks, and cotton candy. For a once-in-a-lifetime decadent experience, the restaurant's Guinness World Record 24K pizza is infused with foie gras, caviar, truffles, and 24-karat gold leaves. Craft brews are served up alongside nautical-themed cocktails from the restaurant's horseshoe-shaped bar.
70 South St, New York, NY 10038, Phone: 212-487-9600
© Mustang Harry's
Mustang Harry's is a legendary sports bar institution near Manhattan's Madison Square Garden, owned by Irish brothers and entrepreneurs Ian and Niall Conroy. The two-story bar is home to New York City's longest bar, which stretches for 99 feet along its main floor. American and Irish-style gastropub fare is served up, including entrees such as 18-hour slow-cooked short ribs, prime hanger steak frites, shepherd's pie, and fish and chips. Shareable appetizers include include flatbreads, sliders, beer cheese pretzels, and Jersey-style disco fries, with a selection of clever sandwiches and burgers also available throughout the day. Draft beers, red and white wines, and craft spirits and cocktails are also available, with growler service available to go.
352 7th Ave, New York, NY 10001, Phone: 212-268-8930
© Loi Estiatorio
Loi Estiatorio is a Manhattan offering from acclaimed Greek chef Maria Loi, best known to American audiences as the author of the bestselling culinary book and diet plan The Greek Diet. The restaurant, which is owned and overseen by the Greek Hospitality Group, adheres to the Greek cultural philosophy of philotimo, which emphasizes pride in one's accomplishments and respect for one's community. A delicious menu of health-conscious Greek fare is showcased at the restaurant throughout the week, with a focus on traditional Greek entrees such as lasagna, spinach pies, and stuffed eggplant. Lunch service is available on weekday afternoons, with full-service dinner served up Mondays through Saturdays.
132 West 58th St, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-713-0015
11.Les Enfants de Boheme
© Les Enfants de Bohème
Les Enfants de Bohème is a unique collaboration restaurant in Manhattan's Lower East Side district, opened in 2015 by restaurateur Stefan Jonot, with the collaboration of curator Cathy Lang Ho of Architect magazine, restaurateur Daniel Rivera, photographer Simon Harsent, and actor Joshua Lucas, best known for his work in feature films such as Sweet Home Alabama and A Beautiful Mind. The delicious Parisian-style bistro serves up classic French fare with a modern twist, emphasizing ingredients sourced from local organic farms. Entrees include favorites such as steamed mussels, duck confit, Icelandic cod, and strip steak, paired with appetizers such as charcuterie boards, tartare, foie gras, and oysters on the half shell. For a less expensive and formal option, next door, the restaurant's Les Enfants Délice serves up sweet and savory crepes and coffee shop beverages.
177 Henry St, New York, NY 10002, Phone: 646-476-4843
© The Leopard
The Leopard is a traditional Southern Italian-style restaurant within the Upper West Side's acclaimed Hotel des Artistes, owned and operated by Paula and Gianfranco Sorrentino since 2011. The restaurant takes its cues from the culinary traditions of regions such as Calabria, Sardinia, Campania, and Sicily, remaking the hotel's famed Café des Artistes space into a showcase for everyday Italian dishes. Dishes highlight pasta plates, risottos, and specialties such as Sardinian fregula seafood stew. Delicious cocktails are available for pre-theater service for dates headed to shows at nearby Lincoln Center, with live jazz performances offered at weekend brunch service. The cafe is also a popular spot for A-list celebrity watching, known as a favorite hangout for celebrities such as Steve Martin and Woody Allen.
1 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023, Phone: 212-787-8767
13.The View Restaurant and Lounge
© The View Restaurant and Lounge
The View Restaurant and Lounge is the only 360-degree-revolving rooftop restaurant in New York City, housed on the 48th floor of Times Square's famed Marriott Marquis hotel. The restaurant, which was opened in 1985 and designed by architect John Portman, makes one complete revolution each hour, showcasing the most iconic sights of Midtown Manhattan's skyline. Though the scenery is the restaurant's biggest draw for obvious reasons, delicious brunch, buffet, prix-fixe, and tasting menus are also worth the trek to Times Square, highlighting continental fare crafted from locally-sourced ingredients. One of Manhattan's most extensive wine lists also makes the restaurant a great alternative sightseeing date option to walking or cycling city tours.
1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, Phone: 212-704-8900
© The Campbell
The Campbell is an iconic New York City cocktail lounge housed within Grand Central Terminal, originally opened in 1923 within the converted apartment space of Jazz Age financier John W. Campbell, a member of the board of directors for the New York Central Railroad. The historic property was restored to its original splendor in 2007 by the Gerber Group and design firm Ingrao, Inc., showcasing 13th-century Florentine-inspired design elements and original items owned by Campbell, including a steel safe and great stone fireplace. Diners can enjoy a selection of traditional cocktails and light bar far at the lounge's office-style bar, indoor Palm Court, or outdoor terrace veranda, which also offers a full bar facility.
15 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017, Phone: 212-297-1781
© e's BAR
e's BAR is a popular neighborhood bar chain in Manhattan, originally opened on the Upper West Side in 2015. Today, the bar offers a second location in Morningside Heights and has been named as one of Manhattan's best bars by Grub Street, serving up a menu of scrumptious bar food, including signature burgers, deluxe cheeseburgers, and falafel burgers. Bar snacks include buffalo chicken bites, fried green beans, nachos, and mac and cheese balls, while creative entrees include fish tacos, grilled chicken kebabs, and marinated spicy chicken sandwiches. An extensive beer selection includes major brews and craft choices on draft. A selection of more than 250 bar games is available for play, including favorites such as Pictionary and Jenga, while a jukebox highlights rock and roll classics.
511 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024, Phone: 212-877-0961
© Benjamin Steakhouse
Benjamin Steakhouse has been one of New York City's premiere steakhouses since its 2006 opening, located approximately one block from Manhattan's Grand Central Station. The delightful steakhouse is helmed by Benjamin Sinanaj and Benjamin Prelvukaj, two former chefs at acclaimed NYC steakhouse Peter Luger, and offers a club-like atmosphere complete with an inviting fireplace and high vaulted ceilings. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served up throughout the week, highlighting excellent dry-aged steak entrees such as filet mignon, rack of lamb, and New York-style sirloin. High-end seafood entrees are also offered, including Chilean sea bass, grilled Norwegian salmon, and whole Maine lobsters.
52 E 41st St, New York, NY 10017, Phone: 212-297-9177
© Society Cafe
Society Cafe is a delicious market-to-table restaurant housed within Greenwich Village's Walker Hotel, helmed by executive chef Manuel González. High-quality menus focus on simple, health-conscious American-style entrees crafted with seasonal ingredients sourced from local New York farmers. All produce is sourced from the nearby Union Square farmer's market. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner menus are served up throughout the week, highlighting elegant entree options such as Atlantic sea scallops with butternut squash caponata, roasted half-chicken with herb spaetzle, and 28-day dry-aged strip steak with bone marrow butter. Whole wheat crust pizzas are also served, along with casual options such as chicken and waffle sandwiches or brisket burgers.
52 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011, Phone: 212- 300-4525
© Temple Court
Temple Court is a gorgeous old-school-style restaurant and bar in Manhattan's Financial District, owned and operated since 2016 by popular restaurateur Tom Colicchio. The restaurant strives to pay homage to the rich cultural history of Lower Manhattan, serving up reimagined turn-of-the-century entrees crafted lovingly by executive chef Carlos Benedicto. French and Mediterranean cuisine influences infuse dishes at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including favorites such as beef Bouguignon, ricotta angolotti, oysters Rockefeller, and chicken fricassée. At lunch, lower-cost selections are offered for dates on a budget, including provençale seafood stew, duck confit, and hanger steak. An extensive wine menu is available by the bottle or by the glass, along with draft beers, craft cocktails, and fine liquors.
5 Beekman St, New York, NY 10038, Phone: 212-658-1848
© Zum Schneider
Zum Schneider is a delightfully lively Bavarian-style bierhaus in New York City's East Village, named in a fashion that means the German equivalent of "Schneider's," a nod to the restaurant's casual bar-like feel. The cash-only beer garden and restaurant was opened by German immigrant Sylvester Schneider in 2000 and serves up a rotating draft list of a dozen imported German beers, served in authentic German-style beer steins. Wheat beer, lager, ale, pilsner, and doppelbock selections are available, along with flights offering opportunities to sample a variety of styles and selections. Traditional German entree options include wiener schnitzel, currywurst, and grüne krapferlsuppe, with delicious desserts such as homestyle apple strudel and kaiserschmarrn also available. Kitschy decor lines the bar's walls, with live music performances and televised sporting events showcased regularly.
107 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009, Phone: 212-598-1098
20.Lillie's Victorian Establishment
© Lillie's Victorian Establishment
Lillie's Victorian Establishment is a nod to the Victorian-era gin palaces of the United Kingdom, named after turn-of-the-century British actress and socialite Lillie Langtry. The charming British-style watering hole offers two Manhattan locations near Broadway and Union Square, showcasing decor salvaged from the ballroom of a 19th-century Northern Ireland estate, including ornate wood carvings, stamped-tin ceilings, and loveseats covered in red velvet that are perfect for cozying up with a date and a drink. An eclectic menu of British and Irish fare includes pub favorites such as shepherd's pie, with specialties such as farro bowls, avocado BLTs, and smoked salmon Benedict served up at brunch. More than 50 domestic and imported beers are served, along with a selection of fine wines and liquors.
13 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003, Phone: 212-337-1970
Cagen is the latest offering from acclaimed Nobu executive chef Toshio Tomita, serving up exclusive chef's tasting menus at its trendy outpost below street level in Manhattan's East Village, which serves as one of the city's most unique and intimate date spots. The restaurant, which opened to the public in 2013, serves up high-end Japanese cuisine to guests at two 12-person seatings each night at 6:00pm and 8:30pm. For $180 per person, diners can enjoy traditional sushi Omakase, prepared with fish flown in daily from Tokyo. Delicious chef's-choice options alternate daily.
414 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009, Phone: 212-358-8800
© Mugi Studio
Mugi Studio is a fine pottery studio and gallery in Manhattan's Upper West Side, originally opened as a working studio space in 1983 by a group of avant-garde potters. Since 2012, the studio has been operated by Outi Putkonen, who has expanded the facility's operations to include group field trips to notable pottery studios along the American East Coast. Visitors can view beautiful one-of-a-kind pottery pieces at the studio's gallery space, including many pieces that are available for sale at affordable rates. Throughout the years, the gallery has established a reputation as one of the Upper West Side's most unique places to buy wedding and housewarming presents. Adult pottery classes are offered throughout the year for participants of all skill levels, from novices to advanced pottery masters. Children's classes also teach fundamental principles of handbuilding and pottery throwing techniques.
Amsterdam Ave &, W 109th St, New York, NY 10025, Phone: 212-866-6202
23.Big Apple Jazz Tours
Big Apple Jazz Tours showcase the top jazz and blues haunts throughout New York City, exploring hip underground sites and hidden gems throughout neighborhoods such as Harlem and Greenwich Village. The touring company, which was formed in 1997, structures all of its tours around small-group experiences to maximize enjoyment and jazz education. Tours include a Harlem Juke Joint Tour, which showcases the most talented jazz musicians and hippest clubs of the legendary neighborhood, and a Greenwich Village Jazz Crawl, which explores the district's bohemian haunts and hangouts. A premium Legends of Jazz Tour is also offered, along with a Family Harlem Jazz and Soul Food Tour exploring the neighborhood on foot and enjoying an authentic soul food group meal. Private tours are available for small groups, with customized itinerary options available. Phone: 917- 863-7854
© Bonsai Kakigori
Bonsai Kakigori is a delightful New York City pop-up restaurant bringing the unique Japanese cuisine tradition of kakigori to the Manhattan region. The restaurant, which was founded in 2017 by Gaston Becherano and Theo Friedman, focuses its menus on the traditional Japanese shaved ice delicacy, which traces its culinary roots back to the 11th-century Heian period. Excellent classic and seasonal flavors served up throughout the year include strawberries and cream, matcha, mango ginger, and espresso peanut. All delicacies are prepared with real fruit and natural ingredients, including syrups with no added sugar. Other Japanese fare served up includes authentic matchas, imported beers and sakes, and an Asian-inspired light bites menu featuring Japanese-inspired toasts and sandos.
265 Canal St, New York, NY 10013, Phone: 646-308-1244
25.Double Dutch Espresso
© Double Dutch Espresso
Double Dutch Espresso is a charming neighborhood coffee shop near Harlem's Morningside Park, opened in 2014 by owners Karen Paul and Aaron Baird. The cafe, which is a popular spot for Columbia students, freelancers, and dates alike, serves up delicious espresso-based beverages such as cafe au laits, Americanos, cortados, and macchiatos, along with a selection of iced and flavored lattes and mochas. Rishi teas are also served, along with pastries and light bites from local bakeries such as Colson Patisserie and Bread Alone. Charming vintage decor adorns its shotgun-style space, with ample two-seater tables available for sipping and chatting in intimate fashion. During the warmer months, an outdoor courtyard space is also shared with neighboring bar Mess Hall.
2194 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026, Phone: 646-429-8834
25 Unique First Date Ideas in NYC
- The Shops at Columbus Circle, Photo: demerzel21/stock.adobe.com
- VR World NYC, Photo: Fxquadro/stock.adobe.com
- Mayfield, Photo: Mayfield
- David Benrimon Fine Art, Photo: David Benrimon Fine Art
- QXT's Night Club, Photo: Jacob Lund/stock.adobe.com
- Amelie Wine Bar, Photo: Monet/stock.adobe.com
- Elsie Rooftop, Photo: Elsie Rooftop
- Industry Kitchen, Photo: Fenea Silviu/stock.adobe.com
- Mustang Harry's, Photo: Mustang Harry's
- Loi Estiatorio, Photo: Loi Estiatorio
- Les Enfants de Boheme, Photo: Les Enfants de Bohème
- The Leopard, Photo: The Leopard
- The View Restaurant and Lounge, Photo: The View Restaurant and Lounge
- The Campbell, Photo: The Campbell
- e's BAR, Photo: e's BAR
- Benjamin Steakhouse, Photo: Benjamin Steakhouse
- Society Cafe, Photo: Society Cafe
- Temple Court, Photo: Temple Court
- Zum Schneider, Photo: Zum Schneider
- Lillie's Victorian Establishment, Photo: Lillie's Victorian Establishment
- Cagen, Photo: Cagen
- Mugi Studio, Photo: Mugi Studio
- Big Apple Jazz Tours, Photo: GeoffGoldswain/stock.adobe.com
- Bonsai Kakigori, Photo: Bonsai Kakigori
- Double Dutch Espresso, Photo: Double Dutch Espresso
- Cover Photo: Rik/stock.adobe.com