2018 was one for the books for idk tonight—we continued to grow our audience to almost 30k couples, began development of the idk app, and our founder even got engaged! We thought a fun way to celebrate 2019 would be to reflect on the dates you loved most last year.
We can’t wait to see what 2019 brings, and we hope you and your love join us as we live, love and explore New York and the boundless opportunities we have here. Happy New Year lovers!
Our Most Popular Nights Out In New York
For just a few months, Chicago’s celebrated Macau-centric restaurant Fat Rice is setting up shop in SoHo (translation: you two have a new date night option with epic flavors and industrial-chic decor). Located inside the celebrated Chefs Club (p.s. the current pop-up is now La Conca del Sogno)—with matte grey Corinthian columns, a gutted industrial interior with exposed brick not only in the walls, but the ceiling, and splashes of blue tile in the open kitchen to break up the muted urban palette—you’ll absolutely love the combination of Chinese and Portuguese flavor notes. Also, its temporary status makes it feel that much more exclusive and appealing, no?
After dinner, you needn’t go far. The Ladies Room, Fat Rice’s “secret” cocktail bar, is just feet away in Chefs Club’s revamped private dining room. With speakeasy vibes and an atmosphere inspired by a 19th-century opium den from Macau’s red-light district, the cocktails are appropriately on brand and expertly dressed, with names nodding back to bygone eras. This is perfect for anyone under the nostalgia-induced impression of golden-age thinking, a la Midnight in Paris.
Hey, lovers. Real quick geography lesson: Taiwan is a tiny tropical island country in Asia. With Japan to its north, China to its west, and the Philippines to its south, Taiwan may be small but it stands proudly as a thriving democratic country in the region. This weekend, you can experience Taiwan right here in NYC. For all bubble tea lovers, this one is for you. Invented in Taiwan, bubble tea is a tea-based drink with chewy & sugar tapioca balls. Start off date night at Lab B, an immersive pop-up dedicated to the sweet stuff. Part funhouse, part exhibition, part tea shop, Lab B will include art, a testing room, and even a lab to create your own bubble tea concoction with your boo.
Afterward, take a short 10-minute walk to continue your Taiwan-inspired date night for dinner at Taiwan Bear House in Chinatown. They specialize in cute boxed/bento meals called Bian dang in Mandarin. While these Bian dangs may look simple, they sure do pack a punch with many delicious arrangements to choose from. Fun fact: In Taiwan, the most well-known Bian dangs are made and served by the Taiwan Railways Administration so passengers can enjoy food on their train rides. Can someone please let the MTA know about this?
When you and your person are in the mood to keep it casual and simply link up for drinks at the bar, there’s no need to stale your date and sacrifice on the quality of the food, especially when it’s all about sharing plates at the counter. New York, of course, offers just about a million combinations for you and your love to fill up and drink up, so we’ve rounded up the best spots to enjoy the best of both worlds—fine cuisine and excellent drink—and hang out at the countertop as a couple. Whether you’re feeling luxe, bold or in the mood for fun, this guide details 10 perfect spots for a great bar night out, with drinks that flow and food that satisfies all in one place.
Lavish meals in gold-gilded rooms, exquisite greenery tucked into urban streets, provocative works of world-renowned art, perfect cocktails under a piano’s spell—New York’s rich array of escapades means there’s always something special going on. Couple the sights, scenery, and grandeur with the pique pleasure of not only doing it all with your person but by being the one to arrange those little, sensational pieces of the city together into your next memorable date. Show your love some love with our guide to NYC’s most extravagant, stimulating, relaxing and of course, romantic of places to take your date out for a night on the town.
We’re all about the cocktails that required degrees in mixology and are worth the 20-minute wait and pretty penny. We love kitschy saloons, fancy hotel lounges and floating bars. We’re New Yorkers in relationships who want to take full advantage of the “only in New York” watering holes that make us feel like we’re doing the utmost job of exploring the city.
But sometimes, we need to not drink, ya know? And even more than that, sometimes it’s fun to play together like kids without any adult juice involved. The next time you’re both sitting on the couch on a Friday or Saturday night, wondering what you should do that won’t result in a 12-hour hangover the next day, turn to this list.
Almost all the featured spots in this round-up are reviewed comprehensively by our very own couples, so you’ll know everything you need to know before you step out the door.
New York’s famed and glittering nightlife is no secret to any of us, but upscale clubs and bars just aren’t for us all. Delve into the flipside of the city’s claim on nightlife with our guide to New York’s most exciting and enriching after-dark content to freshen up the fun with your love. From serenity sessions to star-gazing, we’ve rounded up a variety of activities and events that will make for an intimately invigorating night out (or in!) with your person.
Cocktail connoisseurs Masahiro Urushido of Saxon + Parole and Greg Boehm of Cocktail Kingdom join James Tune of Boilermaker to bring a new Japanese-American cocktail bar to the heart of the West Village: Katana Kitten. Drawing inspiration from both Tokyo’s famous quirky bars and New York’s classic neighborhood-y vibe, Katana Kitten offers delicious cocktails and Japanese street food bar bites. Start the night sipping on their signature Yuzu-Shio Daiquiri made with rum, yuzu, shio-koji, lime, and wasanbon sugar or enjoy another fan favorite, the Shiso Gin & Tonic Highball, made with gin, bergamot, quinine, lime, and shiso.
Once you’ve tasted a few Japanese-centric cocktails, head a few blocks over to The Warren, a local spot known for their delicious East and West coast oysters. Chat over oyster shooters made with citrus smokey tomato, Tito’s vodka, and micro greens and other menu favorites like truffle mac & cheese, garlic shrimp, arugula & goat cheese flatbread, burrata ravioli, and the Warren burger.
At this point, we’re pretty convinced that the McKittrick is the best grown-up playground we’ve ever been to. Tonight we’re back for The Lost Supper, the newest limited-run immersive dinner experience brought to you by the hosts of Sleep No More. Taking place in the previously locked Attic, you’ll enjoy a three-course meal from Pascal Le Seac’h, hypnotic and titillating performances, and magical diversions aplenty.
Continue the night’s festivities upstairs at Gallow Green, a lush secret garden hideaway that— coupled with expertly crafted cocktails—will have you luxuriating in a haze of summertime love.
Date night tonight is all about exploring Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. Adorned with traditional Lebanese decor, you’ll notice Tanoreen’s unique aroma before you even enter the restaurant. For braver guests, the Sayadiyya includes two whole sole fish sautéed with caramelized onion, toasted almonds, and various spices; but for anyone preferring to not look their dinner in the eye, their Kafta tahini or kibbie offer up just as much Lebanese authenticity to make this visit to Bay Ridge worth the trip.
After dinner, go from bold flavors to bold design at The Owl’s Head. This wine bar wears its artistry on its sleeves (or its front facade, to be specific), offering up one of Brooklyn’s best variety of wine and beer selections, while consistently playing an active role in Brooklyn’s artistic community. Every year, they commission a local artist to create a new storefront mural (including some artwork inside as well), so enjoy the view over some drinks, indulging in the bar’s diverse eye candy.
After 10 successful years in the Meatpacking District, Scarpetta has found a new flagship home at the James Hotel Nomad. The new (and much larger) Scarpetta features all of the signature classics we’ve come to love over the years including the Spaghetti Tomato & Basil, Yellowtail Crudo, Creamy Polenta, Short Rib Agnolotti and Roasted Branzino. With locations at The Fontainebleau in Miami, The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia, and Gurney’s Resort in both Montauk and Newport, RI – this dining experience will be one to remember.
From the same company behind Scarpetta comes The Seville cocktail lounge. Located right beneath the restaurant, this prohibition themed speakeasy is the latest creation from LDV Hospitality. This stylish hideaway offers the perfect romantic setting where you and your date can listen to live music while sipping on creative cocktails served tableside.
Dates should always be out-of-the-ordinary experiences, and this one is sure to satisfy that parameter. First up: dinner at tiny East Village gem, Le French Diner. With only three tables and 10 bar seats, this place is a best-kept secret for those who live in the neighborhood. We apologize in advance for letting it be known. Trust that whatever you order, the teeny kitchen in the back will churn out the best version you’ve ever had.
Close the night out with a hunt for a brand new East Village speakeasy called Blue Quarter (we can’t link to it because it doesn’t even have a legit website. This is what’s listed on their Google page). Pro-tip: it’s actually inside a totally unassuming restaurant, not just an unmarked door on the street. Once you arrive at the address, a man will likely come up to you and say “Blue Quarter?” and you’ll say “Yes!” Then he will nod gravely and say, “Follow me.” You’ll follow him inside the restaurant, through the tables and all the way to the back where a big blue door awaits. Once you step in, it’s like stepping into an ancient, candlelit tomb. Aladdin vibes abound. It’s tiny — probably fitting up to 10 couples or so. Once your squeeze in, make conversation with the friendly bartenders and ask them for a recommendation on their eclectic drinks menu. They’re all spectacular.
Today is all about staying coastal, starting with the Red Hook Winery. Tucked away in a refurbished warehouse on Pier 41, this industrial-style winery offers tastings and tours—with an in-depth look into their meticulous winemaking process (by appointment only). However, if you just prefer tasting your way through their collection, you’ll have plenty of options to keep you busy. Surrounded by wine barrels doubling as personal tasting tables, brick walls, and exposed wooden beams supporting its massive ceiling, the $18 tasting allows you four different wines with 2 oz pours. So, whether you’re craving their summery 2014 ‘Entre-Deux-Mers’ Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend or a sample of their 2013 Seneca Lake Cabernet Franc, just be sure to get there between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. (with the last tasting starting at 5:30 p.m.)
Next, forget trekking up to the Cape, because Brooklyn’s got you covered on coastal crab shacks. Nestled at the tip of Red Hook, Brooklyn Crab is all about the summer vibes—with views of the New York harbor, beachy accouterment hung from the ceilings (like wooden lobster traps, buoys, and life preservers), and natural pine wood running throughout the entire three-story-tall, indoor/outdoor seafood joint. And as far as food goes, we’ve got some pointers. Definitely go for the standout favorites, like their head-on peel n’ eat shrimp (cooked in a spicy Cajun boil), grilled octopus (with deconstructed romesco, garlic chips, and lemon salt), and snow crab roll (with chilled snow crab meat topped with Cholula-orange aioli and chives). Just be sure to grab a window seat by the water or out front on the deck to elevate the experience.
Indulge in all that is Italian on tonight’s date through the Flatiron District. Start with the most delicious thin crust pizza the city has to offer at Tappo Thin Crust. This neighborhood staple comes from the same team as New York area favorite pizza hotspots: Vezzo, Gruppo, Posto, Spunto, and Brado. Start the night on the earlier side to take advantage of their great happy hour (3:30pm – 6:30pm; Monday 3:30 to close) specials like a free large plain pizza with the purchase of a pitcher of beer or bottle of wine, and buy 1 get 1 free when it comes to draft beers and house wines. Don’t miss their house pie, the Giardino, with marinara sauce, cheese, broccoli, fresh tomatoes, sweet red onions, roasted garlic, and spinach. Once you’ve got the first taste of Italy of the night head down the street to Eataly’s new winter rooftop bar.
Eataly Flatiron’s seasonal restaurant on the roof, SERRA ALPINA by Birreria, is finally open for guests looking to escape the cold city streets and immerse themselves in a winter wonderland. This winter-themed pop up features a warm, Alp-like setting inspired by the Stella Alpina, a rare flower found in the Northern Italian Alps, and a ceiling full of glistening snowflakes. Menu highlights include over 35 types of Amaro in addition to Amaro-based specialty cocktails, beverages infused with mountain herbs, hearty dishes from Northern Italian regions designed to keep you warm, and an array of starters and sides made with fresh produce.
Before Diagon Alley, all wizards and witches start off at The Leaky Cauldron. So, before tonight’s festivities, the two of you will start off at the Stone Street Tavern. This dimly lit pub has a brick-and-walnut guise with crystal chandeliers, golden glows, and an overall moody presence (we mean that as a compliment). With options like their Jameson whiskey-based jalapeno and pesto chicken sandwich, beetroot salad, and lobster & truffle oil mac & cheese, your appetite is in good hands; and, though you won’t find any cauldron cakes or pumpkin pasties for dessert, it’s the perfect first course for this particularly otherworldly evening.
After dinner, stroll down cobblestone streets to the Cauldron Magical Cocktail Experience. Though not specifically Harry Potter-themed (blame the haters at Warner Bros), this slice of pop-up magic is like Potions class, only there’s no Snape, and you leave good and tipsy. When you enter, you and yours will get your very own wizard/witch robes and wands (which are interactive with the room, by the way), and then brew your very own bubbling, smoking, color-changing potions cocktails. Paired with the gothic setting and theme-appropriate tools and decor (black cauldrons, dusty bottles, and stone walls), your inner geeks won’t be able to contain themselves. Tickets are $44.99 for off-peak hours, $54.99 for peak hours, and the experience lasts for an hour and 45 minutes.
Head up to Washington Heights for a late afternoon work date with your favorite all-hours date. During the day, the Uptown Garrison serves as a cafe before transitioning to a bar after hours. Grab a table in one of the window nooks, order your choice caffeine, and crank out the last of your productivity during billable hours.
Reward yourself and your sweetie for a hard day’s work and head down to The Honeywell, a laid-back basement bar that deals in nostalgia and experimental cocktails. Here, the vibe is retro, the service is friendly, and the deviled eggs are $1 each during happy hour. Black-and-white televisions play reruns of old game shows, and specialty drinks are served in lava lamp glasses. The bar also hosts Drag Brunch and ‘70s-themed dance parties. If happy hour is more your speed, wine is $5 and cocktails are $9. So grab two seats at the bar and make this your new neighborhood cocktail bar, because whether you’re a local or not, the vibrancy and inclusivity of the Honeywell will quickly make a regular out of you both.
Tonight starts with Salt + Charcoal. This hip Japanese steakhouse is by no means traditional, with an exposed charcoal pit, urban sophistication (namely with its sleek, all-wood bar and dining room), and a modern marquee storefront sign contrasting traditional Japanese tapestry. That said, this restaurant is as much about the atmosphere as it is the menu, where flavor and plating are treated like a lost art. This is a Williamsburg must.
Next, head down the street to Kill Devil House of Dark Spirits (which, no, is not a Halloween funhouse). This Williamsburg bar (named after a nickname given to rum after it was banned in the mid-17th century) is a gothic love letter to the drink it’s named after, with sleek Pompeiian pillars at the entrance and a red and black motif inside that extends to a neon devil tail light, a wall of framed photos celebrating the dead, and cathedral-style windows. This bar isn’t afraid of shying away from the macabre, but don’t worry, the overt darkness won’t spoil tonight’s romance (in fact, it might even inspire your inner dark side to come out and play).
If you’re a fan of thin-crust pizza, let us introduce you to Lombardi’s, the king of thin crust. Enjoy a slice of history from the landmark restaurant that established itself as the first pizzeria in the United States. Still operating out of its original location, dine on signature pies like the Buddy’s Cake Boss Special made with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, prosciutto, arugula, romano, and basil. Once you’ve satisfied your appetite, continue your Soho adventure by heading a few blocks over to the Nomo Soho Hotel.
You won’t find much about Tiki Bar @ Nomo Soho online, but that’s what makes this late night spot so intriguing. What was once home to Mister H (remember that famous neon sign?) is now home to an intimate tropical lounge that will have you dancing the night away. We don’t want to reveal too much, but we will say spending the night swaying under their famous disco ball is a great way to close the weekend.
Sure, it’s all about showing your person love and appreciation on the daily, but birthdays are for taking all that affection, admiration, and gratitude to the full extent. With only one official day a year to celebrate the life of the one who gives meaning to your own, planning something incredibly special is of the essence and varies according to the unique individual that is your significant other. Whether its luxury and glamor, or good beer and excellent eats, that tickles your love’s fancy, we’ve rounded up a solid number of NYC spots all over the perfect-birthday spectrum for a variety of experiences to impress, astound and display all the love and admiration you feel for your love on their special day.
Prohibition ends at last! Party like it’s 1933 and commemorate the end of Prohibition at The Boogie Woogie Room where 25 cent cocktails, live music, burlesque, a champagne fountain, and bootleg booze awaits. Located down a back alley behind Mondrian Park Avenue, The Boogie Woogie Room has a hidden entrance tucked away on East 30th Street. Tickets are $19.33 and include access to the party from 7-10 p.m. and a complimentary welcome cocktail. But lucky for you, idk tonight readers get an extra 10% off with code IDK.
Once you’re ready to re-enter 2018 (kind of) head to Banc Cafe, a stylish lounge occupying a 1920s-era bank building. Terra Cotta textured walls, brass metal archways, dimly lit chandelier’s, copper table tops & curved leather banquette seating continue the intimate and old-school feeling of the night.
If you dig vintage aesthetics, you’re going to love Parker & Quinn. Nestled inside Midtown’s Refinery Hotel, this restaurant is throwback-chic done right, combining old-school styles with upscale accents. Between the vintage leather booths, crystal, disco-esque chandeliers, and ornate frames donning the walls, you’re going to fall in love with the overall timeless vibe. And with a menu that’s as eccentric as the restaurant is unique—with Portuguese Octopus, Squid Ink Spaghetti with Maine Lobster, and a twist on a classic with Frico Grilled Cheese—there is that much more reason to make this place a date night must.
After dinner, head right upstairs to the Refinery Rooftop, an industrial-style indoor/outdoor lounge with a mind-blowing view of the Empire State Building. Layered in brick walls, weathered tile floors, wood fixtures, and no ceiling, as well as an attached deck bordered in a gorgeous garden, the awe-factor has been turned up to 11. So sip back on one of their amazing craft cocktails—we particularly love the London Calling (with Remy Martin V.S.O.P, Cointreau, black tea, and fresh lemon juice) and the Smoke Show (with Montelobos Mezcal, Aperol, Bitter Truth Elderflower, lemon, grapefruit, and orange bitters)—and enjoy the most breathtaking opportunity for stargazing that NYC has to offer.
AcousticaElectronica is a 360-degree sensory experience that blends dance, circus, aerials, opera, acoustic and electronic music into one spectacular event — and it’s happening tonight at House of Yes. A mashup of opposites, throughout the night you’ll experience “the classical and the electronic, the light and the dark, a trip to the theatre and a night on the dance floor” — eclectic duos are everywhere, just like you and yours.
Before the show begins, we recommend grabbing dinner at Mesa Azteca, a buzzing Mexican eatery perfect to pre-game this night of wonder and exploration. Dig into your meals in their colorful dining room or hold hands over margaritas in their backyard garden. The food is authentic (and very fairly portioned) so you’ll know you’ll be walking into the party with full stomachs (and hearts).
Angelo Iezzi (known in Rome as the official Associazione Pizzerie Italiane president) has just opened up a brand new pizzeria in the Upper East Side—so, naturally, you need to try it out. PQR is a “pizza-by-the-slice” hole-in-the-wall establishment, but don’t let the casual vibe throw you off. Iezzi introduces a unique approach to his pizza: fermenting the dough for 96 hours, with 80 percent hydration, extra virgin olive oil, and square slices (since he doesn’t cut corners). And new as this place may be, the Amatriciana is already a must-try, with potatoes, porchetta stuffing, and a bacon-based sauce traditionally used for pasta. Pizza slices range between $4.50 and $10 (but they’re worth every penny).
After you eat (unless you choose to enjoy your slice on the way), head over to Brandy’s Piano Bar. This 35-year-running saloon has a vintage vibe with a lively atmosphere, where performers take the stage every night and patrons are known to sing along. Visually, this place is hardly reinventing the wheel when it comes to tavern layouts and design, but the real charm here is in the social ambience. So cozy up with your S.O., knock back a few drinks, and maybe even join in if you know the words.
In need of a mini-escape out of New York but don’t have $800 laying around to go to Europe? Say no more. Bisou Bisou is a beautifully underrated gem in the heart of Fort Greene that will transport you to the golden-hued, cobblestone streets of somewhere foreign. And though they serve American comfort food (because we may want to be in Paris, but we’re still craving that Americanized pasta), the romantic playlists, cozy nooks, and thoughtful cocktails will all have you forgetting you’re not actually on a lovers vacation.
Post-candlelit meal, head to Petit Paulette to close out the night with one more drink (and several more bisous). It’s a brand new wine bar that nails the cozy atmosphere we’re all craving. They focus on organic wines and perfectly-executed charcuterie. Kiss kiss!
Call us crazy, but we find that our favorite foods often taste better if we dine-in instead of ordering it off Seamless (something about the food coming to you hot, and not after a 45-minute delivery route). If you feel like testing our theory tonight, head to Tepache in Bed Stuy for Mexican, a delivery classic. With huge portions of beloved entrees like chimichangas and fajitas as well as unusual but still delicious offerings like kale burritos and taquitos with beef tongue, Tepache is worth a trip off the couch and out of the house.
Now that you’re all carbed-up, it’s time to get liquored-up at Pelican. From the team behind Hot Bird comes this speakeasy-style bar that just recently had its soft opening. With four seats at the bar, and snug nooks throughout, you’ll have no trouble pairing your cocktails with mood lighting and ambiance. We like their reinterpretation of a summer classic, the Masked Mule, which combines mezcal, lime, ginger, soda, and bitters.
Already over 30 years in the running, the modern Italian fare at Nino’s 46 has been around this long for a reason—a dash of French influence and dedication to extracting the best of Italian tradition creates contemporary red-sauce and cheese fares for heartwarming results. Start off with their perfectly crispy and gooey Truffled Mac & Cheese Bites, then dig into any of the faves your hearts desire: from personal pizzas with luxe toppings like lamb sausage, artichoke, and house-made mozzarella, to hearty shares of pasta like their creamy Spinach Gnudi, with goat cheese, spiced almonds, and prosciutto. Perfect for a cold city day, the deliciously loaded plates combine with an atmosphere of dimly lit tranquility for a soothing, satisfying dine.
Keep up the winter vibes and keep warm at Haven Rooftop’s transformed outdoor space, Haven Ski Chalet. Tented, heated and inspired by international ski destinations like Aspen and Courchevel, the winter decor here makes the midtown skyline even more charming, with hourly snow shows and soft, velvety couches to lounge around on while sipping on specialty drinks. Holiday cocktails span the likes of Rice Pudding Martinis to the warm Peppermint Cream, made with Baileys Irish Cream, Hot Chocolate, Crème de Cacao, Crème de Menthe, Whipped Crème and Candy Cane. Satisfy your holiday sweet tooth and swaddle up in some furs (provided) at this elegant winter wonderland.