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Best date spots: Upper East Side

Fun, original and cheap date spots—including bars, restaurants and activities—on the Upper East Side, NYC.

1/5
Photograph: Courtesy Bemelman's

Bemelmans Bar (at the Carlyle Hotel)

2/5
Photograph: Argenis Apolinario

French Institute Alliance Française

3/5
Photograph: Michael Bodycomb

The Frick Collection

4/5
Photograph: Wendy Connett

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

5/5
Photograph: Ilenia Martini

2nd Ave Deli

Bemelmans Bar (at the Carlyle Hotel)

Weave through the Central Park footpaths on your way uptown to reach this dimly lit hotel bar, named for illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans, whose sketches cover the walls. Luxe touches make the setting particularly romantic: The ceiling is coated in gold leaf, the booths are supple brown leather, and live performers croon seven nights a week.

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Lenox Hill

French Institute Alliance Française

To capture a bit of Parisian romance, hit up this cultural center, which offers wine and food tastings, concerts, talks and art exhibits. Each Tuesday, the institute screens new and classic French flicks. If you and your sweetie parlez français, schedule your tryst for the first Tuesday of the month to practice your skills while sampling French wine.

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Upper East Side

The Frick Collection

Pretend you’re New York royalty inside this gorgeous mansion, which was built in 1914 and inspired by 18th-century British and French architecture. Must-sees include exquisite period furniture and masterpieces by painters like Rembrandt, Vermeer and Gainsborough. The serene interior Garden Court, surrounded by benches and lush greenery, is a nice spot for getting cozy. On Sundays between 11am and 1pm, take advantage the Frick’s pay-what-you-wish admission—but fork over enough dough so you don’t look stingy.

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Lenox Hill

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Discover your date’s aesthetic opinions by perusing the Met’s massive collection. (If you can, stop by on a weekday afternoon to avoid the armies of tourists.) During the warmer months, escort your honey up to the Cantor Roof Garden Café to sip specialty cocktails and take in sweeping views of Central Park.

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Central Park

2nd Ave Deli

The onetime East Village institution brings its chopped liver, brisket and pastrami to the Upper East Side. Brothers Josh and Jeremy Lebewohl, the founder’s nephews, stay true to the original with the same menu of Jewish standards: delicious pickles, piled-high corned-beef sandwiches and the like. It’s definitely a good choice for comfort food—or if you want to do your own version of Alvy and Annie’s first date in Annie Hall.

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Kips Bay

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