Every city in the world offers up a little something different in the realm of dating. From the food to the culture to the nightlife to the people, there is no limit to how and where romance plays out all across the map.
So, welcome to our newest series A Date in the City and join me on a journey, one date at a time, to a different city of the world every week. I’ll be highlighting a few of the best eateries, entertainment options, and hidden gems in each city.
And where better to begin than the city that never sleeps, the city where anything can happen, my most favorite city in the entire world: New York, New York.
To start off the day, there is no better brunch spot in Manhattan than the iconic Sarabeth’s. Indulge your inner Gossip Girl and make a reservation at any of the five locations scattered around the city. I will say, having tried almost all of them, the Upper East Side location is definitely the best at retaining the original Sarabeth’s charm.
What to order: The lemon and ricotta pancakes are to absolutely die for, and is it even brunch without a mimosa (or three)?
If you’re looking for something more laid back, maybe a coffee date followed by a walk through Washington Square Park is better for you and your date. Hit up my favorite coffee spot in the city, the hole-in-the-wall Third Rail Coffee on Sullivan Street—home to NYU students and hipsters alike. Remember, this coffee shop only accepts cash, so come prepared! The shop is also notoriously tiny, so plan on stretching your legs while you sip on your iced latte. Luckily, Washington Square Park is only a block away. Walk around, pet some dogs, or enjoy some street performers with your crush’s hand in yours and your caffeine fix in the other.
For lunch or dinner, head to Little Italy. While Mulberry Street is lined with options for authentic Italian food, Caffe Napoli takes first prize. With indoor and outdoor seating and a positively charming staff, you feel as though you’re sitting en la Piazza Navona in Rome. The only thing that could possibly make this spot better is their $5 sangria or house wine during happy hour paired with their unbelievable selection of pizza, pasta, and seafood. Caffe Napoli is one of Manhattan’s best kept secrets, and now that you’re in on it, it’s not one to miss!
What to order: I am undeniably a pasta fanatic, so I will continuously, forever and always rave about the Bucatini all’ Amatriciana, but for all you seafood lovers, the Branzino al Cartoccio and the Gamberi Francese are the dishes straight out of your dreams.
In terms of entertainment, there is no end to what you can do in NYC. While seeing a Broadway show is the classic New York experience, tickets can often run a hole through your wallet. If you have your heart set on getting the full Broadway experience, check out apps like TKTS and TodayTix for real time information on discounted Broadway tickets each day. These discounted tickets can be purchased at three different booths around the city and are an excellent way to save money and see a show. I once got a ticket to a matinee of Les Miserables for just $50—so there is hope for my fellow musical theatre geeks!
If you’re on a budget, or if theatre just isn’t for you, there are tons of concerts and stand-up comedy shows going on in Manhattan (and the boroughs) every night. Check out TimeOut.com to see what events are happening each night in the city that never sleeps. Be sure to look up different local music festivals in the city as well, especially in the summer. One year I happened upon the Emerging Music Festival in Bryant Park, and as it happened, one of my favorite bands was the headliner. So do your research, boys and girls!
New York City is known for its nightlife and there is a little something for everyone, if you know where to look. For my party people who live for a throbbing bass and bright lights, Chelsea is the place to be. Check out Ph-D Rooftop Lounge, Marquee, or 1 Oak. Do keep in mind that the cover charge for these clubs is usually pretty high. But for those who are searching for the truly high-end New York party scene, the price tag may just be worth it.
Personally, I’m a sucker for a cozy, semi-dingy dive bar with oodles of character and history. Which is why my ultimate favorite spot for a night cap in the city is one of Manhattan’s two oldest speakeasies, in operation since the Prohibition era: The Back Room. To find this old-world gem you have to look for the Lower East Side Toy Company, take a few back alleys, and procure the password—it’s only a Google search away, don’t worry! The drinks are strong, the lighting its dim, and the experience is a true New York exclusive.
Of course, New York City is overflowing with fun date ideas and eateries, but only so much can be done on one Date in the City. Let me know if I missed any of your favorite spots, or if you try any of mine, in the comments section!
Until next time, daters.