"Let's meet for drinks"
Hi hounds! Now that I'm permanently settled in NYC with a job that permits me a social life, I have jumped head first into the (so far not very awesome) world of online dating. I'm determined to stick with it and give it a fair shake though.
Anyway, it seems to me that the near universal suggestion for a first real life date is "meeting for drinks." Now I'm not much of a drinker -- I prefer to EAT my calories -- so I never know anywhere good to suggest. So I thought I'd turn to you folks.
Do you have any suggestions for restaurants and/or bars with good drinks, appropriate meeting-for-the-first-time atmosphere, and interesting, tasty noshes in case either (1) the date turns out to be a good one and we want to linger OR (2) it turns into a disaster and I need to console and/or distract myself with something delicious?
I really like both the bar nibbles and the cocktails at The Highlands. (Scottish egg!) The atmosphere is really great for a first date: casual with nice staff and patrons. But the place can become very crowded in the evening and a bit noisy depending on where you sit. Last winter, they had a good leg of lamb, but I haven't had a full blown dinner there in a while.
i tend to prefer to head downtown for these kinds of evenings since the idea of socializing within three blocks of my office with people who aren't my coworkers is traumatizing. "hi, handsome guy! let's meet for drinks & burgers at stout!" (OK, that's a decent sports bar a block from penn station with a fairly good beer selection but it's not what i'd consider "getting to know you" atmosphere)
i've had OK first dates meeting at places like sweet & vicious in nolita because it's walking distance to just about any neighborhood that will have a good "hey, let's go there next!" section. sometimes, i think li'l frankie's in the e. village is good idea because the appetizers and wine selection are great, but it can get packed and noisy after 8pm.
i recently went to burger & barrel and i think that might be a decent spot to try for a first date - it's relaxed, dimly light and has a great, comfort americana cuisine menu. fantastic selection of drinks too.
and because i have to give a nod to my punk rock, hardcore chick roots, there's always cherry tavern, the best dive bar in alphabet city with an A+ jukebox if you're into indie rock. if not, feel free to bypass this suggestion.
and only because i had the most wonderful first date ever at this place, i will suggest bar 13 in union square if only because there's a roofdeck where you can lounge in the warmer evenings, nursing a 10$ cocktail and smoking a cigarette. yeah, i know it's bad for my health but everything i like is.
my last suggestion is blue ribbon downing street, but it's TINY and seats barely 18 people tops. sit at the bar, have a drink and be sure to order the oysters and egg shooters (especially the smoked salmon version). it can be a bit boisterous BUT the food and (hopefully so) good company should have you enthralled and you won't notice.
What do you mean by drinks? Fine wine? Great cocktails? How about both? Plus good eats!
I have been to a nice spot several times in the past two weeks with great cocktails, nice wines, tasty food, and a nice homelike feel. Entwine at 765 Washington St at the corner of West 12th St. They have a small bar up front, a cozy back room, a small back yard, and a loungey wine bar downstairs.
Duane, the upstairs bartender is great. His cocktails have been written about in several articles including the Times, he has won awards, and he got flown down to New Orleans this summer for Tales of the Cocktail to make his signature cocktails at one of the VIP events I attended. Ivan, the bar manager and wine expert really knows his stuff. I think on Tuesdays and Thursdays they do wine tastings downstairs.
Last night I was there on a first date and we had bacon grilled cheese sandwiches, Chinese bao style pork belly buns (possibly better than Chang's or Huang's), and the baked mussels. The buns and mussels were great, the sandwiches were pretty good, fluffy, crispy grilled cheese bites. We sat at the front bar and spent at least three hours there and had wine and cocktails. I just put myself in Duane's hands and said it's up to him, and he started us off with cocktails, and then wine with the food. My date and I had a great time.
in all honesty, i don't think we're supposed to talk about bars here, but i'll offer one idea in hopes that you see it before the thread is deleted.
consider the bar at Bryant Park. it's romantic without being outright and it's very public, as i imagine safety is a concern. there's no fumbling with directions or being lost or tough commute. everyone knows where it is and nearly any train line will put you close enough.
I'm not sure why the thread would be deleted. I searched first and found lots asking for advice on where to get drinks. I also purposely asked for places that also serve food worth eating as, after all, I care way more about that than I do about cocktails. Thanks for the reply though! Bryant Park (do you mean the Grill there?) is a good idea.
If midtown around Grand Central is convenient, I have three ideas for you:
Pera. Menu of small plates served at tables and in the bar area, so you can order something to eat without making it a full dinner. Turkish/Meditteranean inspired.
La Fonda del Sol. Ditto, except Spanish tapas.
Both are modern, lively spaces, very suitable for a first date.
The third is the Campbell Apartment, which has a completely different feel. It's a gem dating from when Grand Central was built, and as many times as I've been there still feels like a secret treasure. As I recall, the food may be no more ambitious than a cheese plate, but it would be easy enough to go from there to one of the GCT restaurants.
303 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
La Fonda del Sol
200 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10020