It’s coming up on cuffing season, and we don’t know about you, but we’re ready to find that special someone!
However, as exciting as first dates can be, we’re aware they come with a ton of questions to answer: what am I going to wear; will we get along; where should we go? And though we can’t help you choose your outfit or ensure a compatible personality, we can definitely let you in on the best spots in NYC to go on a first date.
From cute places to dive into personal traumas over drinks to outdoor activities for nature lovers (or a quick escape if you’re not into it), see all of the best first date spots in NYC below.👇
First Date Bars & Restaurants
Sometimes you just need a little liquid courage to shake the nerves of a first date. Not to mention, restaurants and bars provide a perfect atmosphere to engage in conversation and always have a bathroom you can escape to when you need to update the group chat on how it’s going. So we’ve compiled the best bar and restaurants in NYC for date night.
You’ve heard of blind dates, but what about blind folded dates? Dining in the Dark will awaken every one of your senses but sight as you try dishes from a mystery menu inspired by the flavors of Southern Italy or Japan. It’s definitely a fun and unique way to get to know a stranger. Plus, you don’t have worry about how you look eating in front of them on the first date! Make a reservation here
Where: Leuca Restaurant, New York or Sushi By Bou at Hotel 32|32, New York
2. Tiki Chick
If you’re looking for a laid back, go with the flow vibe, we definitely recommend meeting your date for a drink (or two) at Tiki Chick on the Upper West Side. Sip on their fun and unique tropical-inspired cocktails that come in funky glasses, and don’t pass up their $5 chicken sandwiches!
Where: 517 Amsterdam Ave
3. Sake Bar Decibel
If you’re looking to impress your date with an under-the-radar spot, we suggest you meet them at Sake Bar Decibel. The unassuming, underground (literally and figuratively) bar located in the East Village is marked by an “On Air” sign. Once you head down the stairs and enter into the dimly-lit space (perfect for a romantic vibe or obscured visibility if they end up not looking like their picture), you can choose from an array of incredible sakes and order some lite bites to share. Plus, if you go from 6-7pm, you can take advantage of their happy hour deals.
Where: 240 E 9th St
4. Twins Lounge
This bi-level joint in Greenpoint has everything you need for a perfect first date, from a pool table (to get a little competition going) to cozy booths that are great for conversation. If all goes well you can even memorialize the night by ending it in the photo booth to take home adorable pics of the two of you. But remember, it’s cash only!
Where: 732 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn
One of NYC’s most renowned bars, both Dante locations are effectively elegant without being pretentious. The bar’s great lighting will give you and your date the opportunity to stare into each other’s eyes while you sip on some of the best cocktails in the city. Too much for a first date? Get another cocktail then!
Where: 79-81 MacDougal St or 551 Hudson St
6. Mister Paradise
This casual but elevated bar off 1st Avenue is cool enough to make the Instagram feed but not an overwhelming choice for a first date location. It’s funky bench seating provides ample opportunity to focus on your date, or eavesdrop on your neighbors if you get bored. But in all seriousness, you can never go wrong with a visit to Mister Paradise.
Where: 105 1st Ave, New York
7. Ye’s Apothecary
Another spot set to dazzle your date, Ye’s Apothecary can be found off of Orchard Street. Travel underground to the beautifully decorated space that gives off a moody, yet romantic feel. Do not skip out on the food here! Though the drinks are delicious and they specialize in gin-based cocktails, the dishes are a definite must.
Where: 119 Orchard St, New York
When you’re not in the mood to stress about spilling on yourself or getting food stuck in your teeth during a meal, taking your date to an experience is a great alternative. Plus, dating experts always say that trying new things together is a great way to grow your bond with someone. See the top activity date ideas in NYC below.
8. Happy Medium
Done with getting to know people over dinner and drinks? Try something a little more creative like an art experience at Happy Medium. This art café offers a menu of art experiences from clay to collaging, watercolor to pastels. Not to mention, you have a little memento to take home afterwards.
Where: 49 Market St, New York
9. The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
Another alternative to conversations over cocktails is a good old fashioned game of shuffleboard. Head to the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club to put your skills to the test. And if you end up missing the cocktails, don’t worry, they serve a selection of tropical boozy drinks to choose from.
Where: 514 Union St, Brooklyn
If you’re of the competitive sort, it might be fun to challenge your date to a few rounds of table tennis at SPiN. This is also a great idea if you’re trying to plan a double date because table reservations are open to anywhere from 2-10 guests.
Where: 48 E 23rd St
Throw on some skates and get to gliding on one of the most romantic NYC movie spots to exist. Plus, if the date’s going well, you can always say you need a little help balancing as an excuse to grab their hand. Beware though, this could unlock an ick you never knew existed. So before you plan a roller skating date, it’s best you figure out what you can handle—hey, at least it’s not jumping on trampolines.
Where: 600 5th Ave., New York
If first dates feel confining to you, and you’re more concerned about how to make an exit if need be, there’s nothing more comforting than being in the great outdoors. From breezy strolls to picnics in the park, having your first date in nature also creates great talking points with so much going on around you. Here’s our recommendations for dates in NYC when you want to be surrounded by nature.
We’ll set the scene: you and your date are getting along great, having a laugh as you stroll through blossoming flowers. The sweet smell of orchids add to the vibrant atmosphere as you both gush over the surrounding beauty (we’re talking about you, not the flowers!). But in all honesty, NYBG makes a memorable first date and a cheap one too if you go on Wednesdays from 10am-11am (regardless of residency) when Grounds Admission is free.
Where: 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx
13. Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Live closer to Brooklyn? Then check out Brooklyn Botanic Garden instead. We recommend you stop by the Rose Garden and Native Flora Garden for stunning sights.
Where: 150 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
Who doesn’t love eating…or people watching…or soaking up the sun? To be honest, picnicking is the ideal first date situation, and lucky for us, NYC is home to a plethora of parks to enjoy. Whether you want waterfront views or a castle in the background, find some of the best spots to picnic in NYC here.
Where: Various Locations
15. The High Line
If first dates make you antsy, suggesting a walk on the High Line might be the perfect solution. This way you guys can get to know each other without the pressures of sitting at a table, all the while getting a little exercise in. If the walking becomes too much, you’ll be able to take a seat on one of the many public benches located on the elevated park. And if all goes well, you can end your route at Chelsea Market and grab a bite to eat!
Where: Gansevoort Street and Washington Street, New York
Brooklyn Bridge Park’s free kayaking has returned for the summer and what better way to test if someone is compatible by seeing them in various environments? All kayaks and equipment are provided, with everyone from amateurs to professionals welcome. You’ll both enjoy incredible city views from an entirely new perspective, and no one has to fight over who’s paying.
Where: 10 Montague St, Brooklyn