Great gastro dates

Want to charm a chowhound this Valentine's Day? Embark on one of these foodie dates to seal the deal.

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  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

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    King Cole Bar at the St. Regis

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    Bemelmans at the Carlyle

Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

dateuptownbar01

King Cole Bar at the St. Regis

Ye olde hotel bar crawl


These historic taverns are perfect for blowing it out on Valentine's Day.

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Rendezvous at your southernmost stop, this grand watering hole in the St. Regis Hotel. Belly up at the bar, beneath a stunning mural of Old King Cole, and order a round of Bloody Marys—the $20 drink was supposedly born here (originally christened "the Red Snapper") in the 1930s. Once you're feeling the savory drink's effects, impress your date with a bit of bawdy history: According to century-old bartender lore, the mural is a parody of John Jacob Astor IV (King Cole is depicted post-flatulence, to the disgust of his fiddlers three). 2 E 55th St between Fifth and Madison Aves (212-339-6721)

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Bemelmans at the Carlyle Weave through the Central Park footpaths on your way uptown to reach this wonderfully dark hotel bar, named for illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans, whose sketches cover the walls. The ceiling is gold leaf, the banquettes are supple brown leather, and in the evenings, live performers croon from the baby grand (there's a $30 cover after 9pm). Master mixologist Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club) got her start here, and her excellent Gin Gin mule (made with ginger beer, muddled mint and lime) is still a menu staple. Free bar snacks—crispy potato chips presented on silver trays—help merit the drinks' $19 price tags. 35 E 76th St at Madison Ave (212-744-1600)

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