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SoHo: idk tonight’s Top 10 Date Night Picks

By: Rachel Clayton

SoHo is an always changing neighborhood that, not unlike the city itself, has gone through many shifts through the years and holds on to each piece of it’s past to create a vibrant, unique area. Whether you’re checking out the innovative cast-iron architecture, schmoozing in art galleries, or exploring the many trendy boutiques and cafes, you and your date won’t get bored when you’re south of Houston.

idk tonight's 10 Picks—SoHo

Cupping Room Café
359 West Broadway, Manhattan

Open since 1977, the Cupping Room has resisted the relentless SoHo turnover with its charming decor, strong coffee, and stellar brunch. Though the exterior may not seem too impressive, inside the hundred-year-old landmarked building is a series of quaint old-fashioned touches—pressed tin ceilings, pot belly stoves, wooden hutches filled with vintage glassware—brightened up with plenty of window light, cheery yellow walls, and colorful art. The best time to come is brunch, but if their five varieties of Bloody Marys and stuffed French Toast really wow you, there’s always dinner and cocktails to be had.

cupping room cafe nyc
Credit: New York City Travel Tips
The Drawing Center
35 Wooster Street, Manhattan

Get your Picasso on by checking out The Drawing Center, a museum that also has classes and a wide range of public programs. The space has the classic gallery-chic all white walls and blonde oak floors, but unlike most galleries focuses exclusively on drawings. The gallery is bigger than it looks, so be prepared to take in plenty of art along with detailed information from plaques and the friendly staff. Stop by Thursday evening for free admission and check their site for workshops so you can learn to draw each other like one of those French girls.

the drawing center nyc
Credit: The Drawing Center
Altesi Downtown
200 Spring Street, Manhattan

Nothing beats a breezy Tuscan meal on a sun-soaked sidewalk after a busy day of shopping on Spring Street. Everything about Altesi is inviting, from the bustling tables outside to the delightfully neutral dining room done in shades of beige and pink—though the wall lined with their impressive wine selection certainly adds to the draw. For very affordable prices, you can share fresh Focaccia bread, spicy grilled octopus, and creamy fettuccine. Wash it all down with a shared tiramisu and Campari soda and you’ll feel like you’re both living Under The Tuscan Sun, even in New York’s coldest months.  

altesi downtown nyc
Credit: Altesi
Bistrot Leo
60 Thompson Street, Manhattan

For a special occasion and a craving for French food, Bistrot Leo is the perfect spot. The classy interior avoids becoming stuffy with art deco touches like the checkered floor, botanical wallpaper, and black and white art. A complimentary amuse bouche and the helpful sommeliers will get you started off right, then it’s up you to choose between bistro classics like steak frites or duck confit. You’ll be opening up your wallet along with your heart at this romantic spot, so if you really want to go for it, the CÔTE DE BOEUF is aged for 28 days, serves two, and inspires a real carnivorous passion.

bistrot leo nyc
Credit: Bistrot Leo
LUMAS
474 West Broadway, Manhattan

Feed your desire to endlessly scroll through Instagram with the more highbrow option of checking out LUMAS. Part of an international group of galleries, LUMAS can seem more formal with the elaborate columns and dark wood counters that accent the space, but it’s one of the few galleries where you can take home some of the art without worrying about making rent next month. With a great selection of limited-run photographs from a range of artists, this spot could lead you to your next great living room piece—or at least give you ideas for your next couples shot.

lumas nyc
Credit: LUMAS

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Emmett's
50 Macdougal Street, Manhattan

This is the place to go for a taste of the Windy City without risking exposure to those Illinois winds. This spot is pretty small but the old school marble counters and burnished wood bar lend coziness and class. Though they serve up a variety of food, the star of the menu is their authentic Chicago pie, a saucy behemoth several inches deep, topped with cheese, and well worth the wait. Their beer and wine list makes it all the easier to forget you’re rubbing elbows with the next table over while praising the pizza gods.

emmetts nyc
Credit: Emmett's
The Red Lion
151 Bleecker Street, Manhattan

The Red Lion more than earns its place with the fun, good-spirited nights it inspires. The decor is your typical sports bar, albeit with a well-stocked and well-presented mirrored bar, except for the velour-paneled back wall of the stage. And on that stage? Some of the best undiscovered blues and rock bands playing live almost every night, inspiring a dance party more often than not. In another unexpected twist, the food rises above the usual quality of pub grub whether you’re ordering pizza, chicken curry, or Tuesday’s 10 cent wings—a perfect opportunity for a friendly wing eating competition with your date.

the red lion nyc
Credit: Upper 90
Baby Grand
161 Lafayette Street, Manhattan

You don’t have to choose between gallery-hopping or bar-hopping at Baby Grand, a karaoke bar that has both drinks and art with plenty of glitz. The dazzling lights in the logo above, the walls, and in the bar itself shine up and outward to make every part of the bar feel like a stage. The illusion is well needed—the bar is pretty small, but it’s a nice way to have the energy of public karaoke with the limited audience and intimacy of a private karaoke room. Come here to dance, sing, or play harmonica—all of which happens here nightly.

baby grand nyc
Credit: Baby Grand
Jimmy
The James Hotel, 15 Thompson Street, Manhattan

Make your Jimmy (or whatever you call them) very happy by heading to this chic cocktail lounge on the 18th floor of the James Hotel. Inside are plush couches in deep blue, teak bar tables holding flickering candles, bronze art, and a cozy fireplace, all worth enjoying if it’s raining outside. If it’s not, the outdoor view of both the pool and the city on the rooftop deck totally justify the price of your drinks. Speaking of drinks, if the Walnut Sazerac or Chicken Hot Toddy isn’t your speed, they keep demi bottles of champagne at the ready.

jimmy rooftop nyc
Credit: The James Hotels
Pi Bakerie
512 Broome Street, Manhattan

Any date in any neighborhood isn’t complete without dessert, and luckily that’s where Pi Bakerie comes in. With plenty of light and a high ceiling emphasized by minimalist shelving, the cafe, and bakery, has an airy, modern feel that compliments its high-quality dishes. Though they serve salads, savory pies, and other Greek dishes, the real standouts are the baked goods. Those sticking to the theme will love the baklava and galaktoboureko, but their flakey chocolate croissants and chewy cookies will satisfy the sweet tooth of your sweetie all the same.

pi bakerie nyc
Credit: Pi Bakerie

See Our Curated Date Ideas This Week