13 Spots For A Laid Back Date
Produced by The Infatuation with
There’s an art to the perfect date. Pick a place too ritzy and you come on quite strong, not to mention you’ve set a very dangerous precedent; take a risk on a hole-in-the-wall and your odds of a second date could be down the toilet. When it comes to date spots, we look for something casually cool: good drinks, a fun atmosphere, and delicious food. Together with Monkey Shoulder, we’re helping you Stick It To Stuck Up on your next date, with these easygoing NYC spots for a non-stuffy date. Order something to eat, some Monkey Shoulder whisky to go with it, and get to know your date.
This upscale, multi-level rooftop and cocktail parlor takes cocktails seriously. Everything from the drink categories (are you more of a Spice Rack or a Spring Bloom?) to the hand-carved ice to the endless cozy nooks screams casual excellence. Food is meant to be shared and is almost always held by hand, which means you can avoid the formality of fine-dining altogether.
Off-the-menu orders are Attaboy’s specialty, where bartenders whip up one-of-a-kind cocktails based on guests’ suggestions and preferences. And the drinks speak for themselves. The spacious, inviting cocktail bar insists that pretensions are left at the door (no name-dropping is perhaps the most important of the many house rules).
Between the Cajun bar bites and sprawling drink menu, Porchlight is as great for a date night as it is a Saturday out with friends, thanks to a game room in the back. Grab a bite, down a few drinks, and enjoy one of New York’s most underrated bars.
Known for pioneering the NYC-wide obsession with old craft cocktails, Employees Only has been a New York staple since 2004. And if you’re in the West Village looking for a fun date spot, this is one of your best options. It’s busy, it’s open until 2am, and they still serve the bacon-wrapped lamb chops.
This Szechuan and Hunan restaurant on 56th St, has great Chinese food plus a full apothecary-style bar and 1920’s inspired decor. The velvet banquette, frilly chandelier-filled indoor space seems made for a date where you can grab a cocktail - like The Opium, featuring Monkey Shoulder - and some very good mapo tofu.
This bar and restaurant in Astoria serves up food and in-house infused liquor in a fun space with a bar made of old shipping crates and a charming patio perfect for a casual drinks date.
Oh The Happiest Hour, home to our favorite strong drinks and a surprisingly good burger. It’s the perfect spot for a no-fuss drink and dinner. With a rock and soul soundtrack, visits are truly the happiest of hours.
Park South Hotel Rooftop is all about laid back fun, with creative drinks like “Don’t Be Salty” (think a spicy margarita) and “Hey Mister” (their take on an old fashioned). The bar menu is eclectic and delicious, with everything from meatballs to sushi so you and your date are sure to find something you both like. Plus, the sweeping views of the Chrysler Building aren’t too bad.
Forrest Point has an industrial-meets-cozy vibe to it that makes you want to sit and hang a while. The indoor/outdoor set up allows you to move around, which is especially ideal for a longer date night, plus we hear they’re dog-friendly. The cocktails are solid and the menu is big and random (tuna tartare tacos, burgers, quinoa salad) in a way we’re not mad about.
Jeffrey’s Grocery is the type of place you’ll return to again and again, thanks to an epic raw bar and excellent cocktails. And, if your date goes especially well, consider coming back the following morning - the only thing better than a Jeffrey’s Grocery dinner might just be a Jeffrey’s Grocery brunch.
The Bonnie is home to some great, inventive cocktails - think dirty pickle martinis, booze-filled frozen Arnold Palmers, and thyme-infused tequila. With a late night food menu open seven days a week, it’s the perfect spot for an end-of-the-date nightcap.
Down a flight of stairs beneath The Ragtrader sits the ridiculously fun piano bar, Bo Peep. Along with 1920’s style decor, there’s a lengthy cocktail menu and nightly live music, with the occasional employee stepping up to the mic for a song. It’s equal parts private and unpretentious, perfect for a romantic rendezvous.
On the Upper West Side, Moonrise Izakaya stands out as one of the area’s best spots for a date. They serve tapas-style Japanese fare in a cozy but welcoming environment that’s lively (but not too loud). Order a Monkey Shoulder cocktail, and be sure to check out the ode to Sailor Moon hiding in the bathroom.