You’ve done it–you’ve braved the ever treacherous world of dating apps and have a date with an actual human person. They’ve picked a time, and it’s up to you to pick a place. Since meeting up with a complete stranger in a crowded bar is its own kind of terrifying, we’ve highlighted some key date spots in your Bedly neighborhoods and beyond. The rest is up to you!
Note: These spots have been chosen to work within the millennial budget–but if they’re seeming a little out of your comfort zone, here are some tips from Bedly on how to budget for your nights out and some additional bars that are tailor made for the tightest of budgets.
Cascabel Taqueria (Upper East Side) : Cascabel is a dreamy Mexican spot located on the Upper East Side. With daily food specials and happy hour to 7pm, this restaurant is quick, convenient and delicious. Bonus: they have a $10 lunch special every day from 11am-3pm, in case you’re sneaking in a date during your lunch hours or you and your date are both living that freelance life.
Menu Highlights: Elote Asado; Baja Fish Burrito
Drink Highlights: Spicy Watermelon Margarita; White Sangria
DTUT (Upper East Side): Coffee shop by day and full bar by night, DTUT’s chill and lively atmosphere makes it the perfect spot for a first date. They have TV’s turned to popular sports channels and the option to make-your-own s’mores (at your table). You’ll have plenty to talk about–and plenty to distract you–in case that first date goes awry. Bonus: their food menu is full of fresh products that change often–so it’ll be different every time you go in, making it a perfect spot to bring multiple dates (or one date multiple times 😉 )
Menu highlights: S’mores platter; Cheese Fondue Platter
Drink highlights: Organic Espresso Amber Ale; Alfin White Wine
Five Mile Stone (Upper East Side): located just a few blocks down from DTUT on 85th and 2nd, Five Mile Stone is a great spot to take your date to the next level. They are equipped with a full kitchen menu of classic American dishes. With live music on weeknights and a full-blown dance party after 11pm on weekend nights, Five Mile Stone is a great way to get to know your date in a fun easygoing setting.
Menu Highlights:$1 Oysters (all day, every day); Five Mile Burger
Drink Highlights: Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro; Magners Irish Cider
BLVD Bistro (Harlem): While it might be unusual to do go on a brunch for a 1:1 date, BLVD Bistro CANNOT be missed. Voted the number one soul food restaurant by the food network, this spot will have you and your date high on food of the soul.
Food Highlights: Catfish Po’boy, BBQ pork Sandwich
Drink Highlights: BLVD Mary, BLVD Spiked Tea
La Diagonal (Harlem): This cute Mexican spot is a hole in the wall that you’d miss if you weren’t looking for it! Nestled in Harlem, this spot has margaritas that will make your mouth water. With a fun and intimate atmosphere and incredibly delicious food, you’ll find that the time flies by in this oasis.
Food Highlights: Bistec Tacos (w/ homemade corn tortillas); Tuna Tostadas
Drink Highlights: Any Margarita on the Menu (literally)
Oscar Wilde (Flatiron District): If you’re looking for a bar that’s trendy yet quirky, Oscar Wilde is the spot for you. With delicious food, decadent decor and delectable drinks, this spot is a dream. From the Victorian inspired decorations to the quippy names of the various cocktails, you will have plenty to discuss about the bar in itself. The energy of this bar is infectious–so even if your date turns out to be a dud, we can guarantee you’ll leave with a story for the ages.
Food of Choice: Buffalo Cauliflower, Calamari, Chocolate Ganache Dessert.
Drinks of choice: Ice Cold Dirty Martini; My Bookie’s Wife’s Cocktail
Belgian Beer Cafe (NoMad): This spot is every beer lover’s dream. With over dozens of artisan beers on tap and a beautiful view of the Empire State Building, you will definitely impress your date with some (dare we say it) stylish beer options. This spot gets busy quickly–so if you’re going after work hours be prepared to fight for space at the bar.
Food of choice: Warm Pretzel, Lobster BLT;
Drinks of choice: Duchesse de Bourgogne Flemish Sour, Lucifer Blonde Ale
The Wayland (East Village): This bar is the essence of the East Village–small, lively, with slightly expensive prices but a singular atmosphere. Start your Saturday night at this bar and watch as it gets crowded with plenty of colorful characters to people-watch. While the night will start out quietly, you will have your voice raised by the end of the evening, so make sure your cocktail ratio is adjusted accordingly.
Food of Choice: Oyster Shooters, Pernil Romero Sandwich
Drinks of Choice: The Elmore, Cumin my Cocktail
The Grey Dog (West Village): If you’re looking for a more laid back atmosphere for a varied budget, the Grey Dog is for you. WIth drinks ranging from $5/glass to $20/glass, While this bar is fairly low key, it is close to other, more lively bars in the village so if you and your date are feeling more adventurous you can head out and explore the area. It’s the best of all worlds: you won’t have to shout to hear each other, and you have an easy escape to more lively bars nearby if you need to run for cover.
Food of Choice: Sharp Cheddar Mac & Cheese; Seared Tuna Steak Salad
Drinks of Choice: Spiced Mulled Wine; Any beer on Tap
Apotheke (Chinatown): If you’re looking for a more adventurous spot, Apotheke is the place for you. Start your night out at a famous restaurant in Chinatown and head to Apotheke. With seasonal artisan cocktails, this speakeasy-themed bar requires you to know a “password” before entering. (They’re updated weekly on their social media pages) They also have burlesque dancers on specific weeknights, so that’ll definitely give your date an exciting and adventurous edge.
Drinks of choice: The Dragonfly; A Daisy If You Do
So there you have it! We know that you’ll have an amazing night out–and even if you don’t, the great news is that you can head home to your fully furnished Bedly apartment, your amazing new roommates, and commiserate on the struggles of being single in New York City.
(PS – don’t worry, our top Bedly Brooklyn bar recommendations are coming soon!)
Photo credits in order of appearance: Architectural Digest (cover image)