For the first time, the Date Ideas series is going global. I’d been ploughing through various areas in London, scouting out the best bars, restaurants, and coffee shops in the city, so when I went to visit New York city, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to expand the series across the Atlantic Ocean and see what Manhattan had to offer.
The first thing to bear in mind is that this is by no means an exhaustive list. We were there for a rather short period of time, and had to cram in date venue testing along with everything else. There were a few bars and restaurants I was keen to try out as I thought they would have been great for this post, but they ended up being in a different part of town from the sightseeing we were doing and we kinda ran out of time. Having said that though, we did manage to visit some great places, so here’s my selection of Manhattan date ideas.
Like Italian food? You will absolutely LOVE Eataly. It can basically be described as a hub for all things Italian. From a marketplace where you can buy cooking ingredients and chocolate gifts, to events and cooking classes (these cost around $65-$200), to various restaurants and cafes. There are two Eataly’s in Manhattan- NYC Flatiron near midtown and NYC Downtown near the World Trade Center. The Flatiron branch includes pop-up greenhouse restaurant Serra D’Autumno on the roof (this is the one featured in the photos) that serves Italian countryside food (this consists of mostly tapas dishes). The other restaurants serve more traditional Italian food including pasta, pizza, meat and fish.
Looking for something more low-key? Bar Sardine could hit the spot. Based in Greenwich Village, Bar Sardine offers a selection of food, light snacks, drinks and cocktails so you could go for a meal if you fancy it, or just do drinks. The cocktail menu is really varied and has some interesting stuff, and the food menu is quite seafood-heavy but they do a veggie burger too. The atmosphere is casual enough for a chilled vibe but not so casual that it becomes not-a-date, making it perfect for first dates.
Museum Of Sex
Perhaps not one for a first date, but the Museum of Sex could make a great day out for a more established thing. Based in Korea Town, it does what it says on the tin- it’s basically a museum of all things sex-related. Artwork, memorabilia, plus there’s an interesting feature on the sex lives of animals and a giant boob bouncy castle. There’s also a gift shop selling what you would probably expect, so could be fun to pick up a few souvenirs too!
Hands-down the best pizza I tasted in my trip to New York. Based in the Meatpacking District, The Woodstock is a 1960s-inspired pizza and cocktail bar channeling that old-school American vibe. The pizza comes with that gorgeous thin crust and a spicy tang in the tomato sauce, plus they’re all named after famous people. The cocktails taste good and a really handy feature is that the menu shows what glass your cocktail will come in so you don’t end up feeling short-changed. A couple come in cool “alternative” glasses- for example mine was shaped like a lightbulb!
For a fancy venue that’s bound to impress, try Temple Court. Part of the Beekman Hotel, which is close to Brooklyn Bridge, Temple Court is an upscale bar where the waiters escort you to a table and take your order. Like everywhere in Manhattan it’s expensive, not going to lie, but get this- the drinks weren’t any more pricey than the other places we went. So you can add a bit of sparkle to the standard drinks date without having to break the bank. The venue also offers food, including a Sunday brunch.
An oasis of greenery in the heart of the city, Bryant Park is a lesser-known gem. Located near Times Square, the park contains an Instagram-worthy fountain and 9.603 acres of lush greenery. Perfect for a romantic stroll if you’re running low on cash, but the park also has two restaurant/ bars that offer seasonal dining plus a handful of food kiosks if you fancy getting a bite to eat or something to drink and getting to know each other more.
Rooftop Cinema Club
Remember those old American teen movies where people would go to those drive-in movies? The Rooftop Cinema Club is a bit like the modern equivalent of those. Situated on an outdoor terrace at the Hilton Hotel close to Times Square, the Rooftop Cinema Club shows a variety of classic films (we saw Mean Girls) and captures that romantic teen movie vibe with perfection. You can buy a ticket that includes unlimited popcorn and they also have a restaurant area that serves food so you can go for dinner before the show- but the meals they serve are quite light so if you’re looking for something heavier it may be a good idea to eat elsewhere beforehand.
Have you ever been to Manhattan? Which date venues would you recommend? Let me know in the comments!