Here now: the very best date bars above 60th Street. Whether you’re looking for somewhere causal for first-date conversation or a spot with wow factor to seal the deal, these are the five best places to foster romance.
2. Manhattan Cricket Club
226 W. 79th St., nr. Broadway; 646-823-9252
Located above the Aussie bistro Burke & Wills, this speakeasy-style boîte is a decadent cricket-inspired cocktailery with drinks from Summit Bar’s Greg Seider and a setting akin to a 19th-century apartment. Skip the lounge for the candlelit two-tops, and order the caviar and oysters for a little more help in the aphrodisiac department.
339 E. 75th St., nr. First Ave.; 212-288-8033
While this woodsy and dim spot — co-owned by cocktail superstar Pam Wiznitzer — does things like create its own chai-infused vermouth, the atmosphere is far from intimidating. Medieval-style chandeliers flicker over two bars and a lounge with deep red banquettes and a restaurant, all offering varying levels of intimacy. The food ranges from light bites like oysters and fried cauliflower to a mutton burger.
4. The Penrose
1590 Second Ave., nr. 83rd St.; 212-203-2751
This gastropub by the Wilfie & Nell team bills itself as a “local,” but with three separate spaces utilizing reclaimed wood, floral wallpaper, and vintage accents, there’s ample opportunity here to carve out a space of one’s own if you come earlier in the night. An extensive craft-beer list and a custom-blend Pat LaFrieda burger keeps things casual, while spirit-forward cocktails and a whiskey menu kick affairs up a notch. If you’re thinking of taking the relationship to the next level, try sharing the kicky cardamom-infused bourbon milk punch for two, then see how you feel.
5. 67 Orange Street
2082 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nr. 113th St.; 212-662-2030
Purple velvet curtains bid welcome at this snug bi-level lounge that was once Almack’s Dance Hall, one of the first black-owned bars in the city, opened in the 1840s. Today it sports filament lightbulbs, low-slung tables, and an extensive cocktail menu featuring names like Manhattan After Dark, the Hedonist, and Forbidden Love (there’s also a nonalcoholic choice called First Base). At happy hour, there’s food specials like chicken and red velvet waffles, but later in the night the music and vibe turns up.