By: Natalie Zhao
Right now, the weather forecast reads something like: save yourself the trouble and stay at home. But when you both have cabin fever, and your prerogative is not turning into a human icicle, date night counts as leaving the apartment and paying a bar tab. We’ve put together a few of our favorite neighborhood hangouts, so whether date night is a liquid dinner of negronis on repeat or some combination of candlelight, cocktails, and charcuterie, we’ve got you covered.
Easy Date Nights By Neighborhood
Lelabar, West Village
Elegant but informal, Lelabar has two of our favorite things for date night—namely, dim lighting and binders of wine. The candlelight and soft jazz screams, “wine bar!” and the binders of wine, well, they confirm that this is, in fact, a wine bar, and one in which you’ll be happy to post up for a long while. The sommeliers know their way around the list of over 200 wines, and they’ll even replenish the bread on your (excellently crafted) cheese board so your proportions are always perfect.
The Flower Shop, LES
Speakeasies abound in the Lower East Side, but on nights when you want a little less secrecy with your chill, head to The Flower Shop. The vibe ie less freestyling mixologist and more “let’s hang out in your parents’ basement,” and we mean that in a good way. Get comfortable amid the shag-carpeted kitsch in the downstairs lounge, where you can enjoy your drinks with a game of pool.
Hudson Clearwater, West Village
You wouldn’t know by looking at it, but Hudson Clearwater boasts one of the best patios for summertime brunch. Right now, you don’t care about this, because stepping outside feels like the cryotherapy session you neither asked nor paid for. Snag two seats indoors at the chef’s counter and split a bottle of red and a slice of the cheesecake. The perfect vintage helps both of you forget about your frozen fingers, and the pillowy creme fraiche cheesecake, cut with the tart sweetness of huckleberries, reminds you why you’ve chosen to enjoy each other’s company here.
The Hamilton, UWS
Boasting one of the more extensive whiskey collections on the Upper West Side, The Hamilton offers plenty of peaty options. Their first house rule decrees, “The best whisky is the one you love the most. Your job is to hunt this whisky down.” Winter seems as good a time as any to accept this challenge. Whether you choose to warm up neat, or with a flight or cocktail, you’re in good hands here, where the bartender Raul has forgotten more about fermented grains than you will ever know.
For blustery nights when you want to be warm and don’t want to try too hard—or at all—Uva is the cozy, going-out version of staying in. At Uva, your options are satisfying, and they are Italian: wine, cheese, cheese covered carbs, and cheese covering tomato sauce covering carbs. A bonus—in the winter, their back patio transforms into an indoor garden complete with sparkly lights, so really, you went outside to eat inside the outdoors. Track that?
The Library at the Nomad Hotel, Gramercy
Slip in before 4 p.m. to check out The Library at the NoMad Hotel. Order a cocktail (we like their cheeky reinterpretations of the classics), sit back, and let the setting and backlighting do your work for you. You can’t go wrong with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, lush oak paneling, and leather-backed chairs.
Black Mountain Wine House, Gowanus
We get it. Some combination of the remnants of the bomb cyclone, the complications of New York transit, and a lack of vacation days post-holidays means you can’t quite plan an escape to the Adirondacks with your S.O. Enter Black Mountain Wine House, the next best thing. With a roaring fireplace, hot mulled wine, and bluegrass coming through the speakers, BMWH is basically a mountain cabin that doubles as a restaurant. Come on a Tuesday for Swiss Fondue Tuesdays, but really, when the wind chill is this unbearable, you should come on any day that ends in -y.
Black Rabbit, Greenpoint
Nestled on a quiet street, Black Rabbit is so winter-proofed that you’ll want to claim squatter’s rights before the winter thaw arrives. First off, there is a fireplace. Then, there are the dark, wooden booths with swinging doors so perfect for private canoodling, you’ll need the button-activated light switch to get your waiter’s attention. Have we mentioned there is trivia on Tuesdays?