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9 Go-To Date Spots in NYC if you Actually Want to Have Fun on a First Date

There are oh so many ways to screw up a first date. You can get caught up in a political debate that is less playful and more cutthroat. You can get too drunk, and forget the other person’s name one too many times. Maybe you’re late to show up, or try to be funny and it really just doesn’t play well. Soo many ways! But one thing you have a lot of control over is making sure the scene of your date is fun, creative, and just awesome. That will at least get you off on the right foot. I’m afraid it’ll be up to you from there. God speed.

Consider a Gaming Spot

There are two that come instantly to mind, and the bonus is that they both serve drinks. I’m not saying that a drink absolutely needs to be a part of a first date, but, hey, it does help lessen the anxiety. Ace Bar (531 East 5th street) and Fat Cat (75 Christopher Street) are both awesome choices for a first date. Ace Bar has two pool tables, two dart boards, skeeball, and a full bar. Fat Cat also has all of those things, but in addition it has live music and a good selection of board games. You can’t really go wrong with either.

Brooklyn Bowl

This place is wonderful. It has great drinks, seems to make a rule of only hiring really friendly staff, and plays some great live music, in a cozy and intimately lit space. Did I mention that there are 8 bowling lanes, and about five billion food choices that all rock? Well, now I did. Nothing like a little friendly competition to spice up a first date.

Lovers Bar

If the name doesn’t make you two anxious, this little spot in the east village serves up some mean cocktails, the lighting is dim and romantic, and the bartenders are always friendly. As a plus their happy hour goes until 8PM. You can’t beat that!


Another really awesome spot is Apotheke. It is a speakeasy (Shhh! Don’t tell the Prohees!) down in China Town. You’ll probably get some points for being unique considering that when you think of China Town you don’t usually think first-date heaven. The place has apothecary-inspired decorations, space for dancing, and amazing cocktails. And also, the joint is really cool to just gaze around at.


Am I channeling my 12 year old self here? I really don’t think so. At Parm you can get a slice of cake, some 80s music, and some beer or wine to top it off. And that’s just a pretty cool way to say “I’m interesting”, I think.  Also, if they don’t like cake and some MJ maybe they’re not worth it.

The Smith

Maybe you guys want to have a real meal. Consider the Smith at 55 3rd Avenue. It’s a real swanky looking place, but the prices are just moderate not swanky-prices. The cocktails are always strong, which is a plus. Yeah, the bartenders know their stuff. And the food. Oh God. It is brilliant. Try their mac and cheese together and chances are y’all will get married.

The High Line

Although not a bar or really a spot per se, it does make for a really nice walk. It’s crazy pretty, and there do happen to be a lot of little opportunities for food along the way, including ice cream sandwiches.

The Dram Shop

This spot in Park Slope is amazing. They have fantastic food (freakin’ mac and cheese balls! Hello!) lots of games like darts, ping-pong and many of the board variety, a cool outdoor space with a cool light show, and of course great beer (as befits a sport’s bar naturally).

Think Coffee

Don’t underestimate the value of simplicity either. Perhaps neither of you want to walk away from the date with an empty wallet spent on pricey meals and booze. So maybe just a coffee shop. But, like, a nice one. I choose Think Coffee because not only is their coffee fantastic, and they have alcoholic drinks (including wine) at most locations, but they have a pretty dope food selection. I’m lookin at you grilled cheese made fresh! Plus weirdly I don’t think I’ve ever heard bad music playing there. There are quite a few, so scope it out. You’ll be surprised.


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