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Union Square: idk tonight’s Top 10 Date Night Picks

By: Sarah Saxty

Some might say Union Square is the center of the city—it’s the divider between Downtown and Midtown—but definitely doesn’t suffer from the middle child syndrome. Union Square is an integral part of the eclectic and vibrant energy that draws people to Manhattan. Anchored by its namesake plaza and bustling park where you’ll find farmers’ markets and what seems like endless games of chess, fitness classes and live music performers. Take just a few steps in any direction, and you’ll find yourself in the neighboring hoods of Greenwich Village, Gramercy, Flatiron and Chelsea—it’s full of leafy streets, filled with an eclectic mix of old brownstones, modern highrise condo buildings, shops, restaurants, bars, and galleries. And this is just the guide to help you navigate it.

idk tonight's Top Ten Date Night Picks—Union Square

Made By We
902 Broadway, Manhattan

A new venture from the WeWork family, Made by We is a home for human connection and neighborhood culture—it’s a retail space, cafe, and workplace which can be used by anyone (including without a membership). The bright and airy space offers individual workstations that can be rented by the minute, including 100 “seats” and six meeting rooms for four to ten people. The friendly cafe is provided by Bluestone Lane, an Australian-influenced brand known for its premium coffee and healthy eats, and the retail store features hundreds of brands built by members, showcasing things you’ll want to buy—like candles, hats, speakers, headphones, plus We-branded shirts and hoodies.

made by we nyc
Credit: The We Company
Gotham Coffee Roasters
23 West 19th Street, Manhattan

A good coffee fix isn’t as easy to find in Union Square, which is one of the reasons Gotham Coffee Roasters is one you should keep on the radar. Industry veteran Chris Calkins is the man behind the beans, carrying a selection of roasts from Prodigy, roasted locally in Brooklyn plus other single-origin coffees. With just a few tables, the minimalist space is mostly in monochrome tones and serves baked treats by Ovenly.

gotham coffee roasters nyc
Credit: Gotham Coffee Roasters
Society Cafe
Walker Hotel, 52 West 13th Street, Manhattan

This brick-clad boutique hotel, in the heart of Greenwich Village, is a short and beautiful stroll from Union Square. It’s surrounded by the brownstones and the leafy streets of the Village. Tucked into the back of the hotel is Society Cafe, a market-to-table American restaurant focussed on elevated and fulfilling fare. The art deco-inspired design takes its cues from the past, featuring French-inspired ebony furnishings with leather highlights and old-school rotary phones in the rooms; plus, there’s an impressive overhead glass ceiling that brings in beautiful light. Love.

society cafe nyc
Credit: Society Cafe, Facbeook
Demisch Danant
30 West 12th Street, Manhattan

Galleries are a dime a dozen in neighboring Chelsea, but at Demisch Danant in Union Square, Suzanne Demisch and Stephane Danant shine a light on undersung French masters, featuring exhibitions concerning the intersection of architecture, design, and art. Best known for highlighting style makers who have gone off the radar, think artists like ’60s cult figure Maria Pergay (Suzanne Demisch tracked her down in Morocco in 2004, using the yellow pages). Demisch Danant’s airy location has a domestic vibe that makes it easier for collectors to appreciate, and for the rest, to dream.

demisch danant nyc
Credit: Demisch Danant
Daily Provisions
103 East 19th Street, Manhattan

Another Danny Meyer winner (others include Blue Smoke, Gramercy Tavern, Intersect By Lexus), Daily Provisions opens early in the morning with fresh baked goods and breakfast sandwiches. Throughout the afternoon and evening, the team offers made-to-order sandwiches, slow-roasted rotisserie chicken, seasonal sides and a selection of beer and wine to toast the day. The small and intimate space is an inviting shade of smoky blue, and the few high top tables are designed for sharing, but maybe you prefer to perch on the bar or in the window while you sip an espresso and bite into a freshly-baked croissant. It’s also the only place in New York that you can get West Coast fave, Salt and Straw ice cream…for now.

daily provisions nyc
Credit: Jenny G. Zhang for Eater NY

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Sundays Nail Studio
51 East 25th Street, Manhattan

Who doesn’t love a mani? Or a pedi, in fact. Sundays Nail Studio takes the treat one step further, using non-toxic, vegan polishes that they formulate in-house. Their flagship studio in Union Square, is a sanctuary of wellness and self-care, serving up vegan and nontoxic mani-pedis with a difference. Add in Scandinavian inspired design and meditation headphones—you’ve got yourself the perfect date: beautiful nails, without the health risk.

sundays nail studio nyc
Credit: sundays
Yoga Vida
99 University Place, East 12th Street, 6th floor, Manhattan

The area just outside of Union Square (nearby 5th Ave and Flatiron) has become somewhat of a fitness hub in recent years, but Yoga Vida was early in the game. Their Union Square location (1 of 4) opened more than 5 years ago. The main studio (yes there are 2) is big, bright and welcoming. They offer a range of classes for all levels, and the teacher community includes some of New York’s yoga leaders. You won’t find any pretentious attitudes here, or Instagram traps, just good, solid yoga and positive vibes. Their intro offer is pretty impressive too, $30 for 2 weeks unlimited practice.

yoga vida nyc
Credit: Yoga Vida
2 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan

A treat at any time of the day—from a weekend brunch to a special date night dinner—Maialino never disappoints. Housed inside the stunning Gramercy Hotel, with its red and white checkered curtains, to the terracotta tiled floor, the intimate restaurant evokes old world Italian charm and feels more like a trattoria than a 5-star dining establishment. But then, the food: truly some of the best Italian in the city, Danny Meyer’s Maialino is exactly where you need to be.

maialino nyc
Credit: Gramercy Park Hotel
54 East 13th Street, Manhattan

Eat. Drink. Sing. All of the above at Nemo, a karaoke bar that’s a little out of its K-Town home in Union Square. But that’s all the better for us. Nemo is everything we’ve come to love and expect from the Koreatown faves—reminiscent of the Y2K era, multi-color strip lighting, contemporary furniture, and colorful drinks add to the hype. The basement is open to all but for those that prefer to stay out of the limelight, private rooms are available too. Fuel the fire, and take advantage of the half-price happy hour, from open-8pm.

nemo nyc
Credit: Nemo
38 East 19th Street, Manhattan

Have a vegetable power packed lunch (or date) with elevated plant-based foods and restorative tonics. Jean Georges, quite literally one of the most loved chefs in NYC, created ABCV as the third restaurant inside the beautiful ABC homebuilding. As expected, the space itself is one you wish you lived in—big, white, light, clean, and filled with ABC treasures, it remains a mystery how they manage to make glitter so chic. Sip your blue lotus, skullcap, kava, sea buckthorn, lime, and agave tonic out of a delicate, soft pink glass and restore your body with a salad of fresh hearts of peach palm, passion fruit, avocado,  and basil served on handmade ceramics in pastel tones. It may all be vegetables, but it’s definitely not lacking in creativity or flavor. Power lunch your mind, and body.

abcv nyc
Credit: Jean Georges

See Our Curated Date Ideas This Week