Culture dates

Learn something new while discovering each other on these highbrow outings.

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  • The garden court at the Frick

  • Fragonard room at the Frick

  • East Gallery at the Frick

The garden court at the Frick

Sexy photography and candlelit Italian
Meet at Dashwood Books (33 Bond St between Bowery and Lafayette Sts; 212-387-8520, dashwoodbooks.com), the city's only indie bookstore devoted solely to contemporary, used, rare and vintage photography tomes; then spend an hour or two giggling over the sexy photo books in stock, like Gary Lee Boas's New York Sex 1979--1985, which features local porn stars and street hustlers. If you're feeling frisky, head to Aroma Kitchen & Winebar (36 E 4th St between Bowery and Lafayette St; 212-375-0100, aromanyc.com) for a candlelit meal and a tipple. The Italian joint's new Social Sundays menu (5pm--midnight) includes a choice of ten small plates or appetizers—try the gratin of gnocchi with white truffle oil—for $10 each, a wine tasting for $15, or a three-course meal and wine flight for $40. If you run into married co-owners Alexandra Degiorgio and Vito Polosa, grill them on how they first met and ask to be seated in the back of the dining room, where the intimate booths and exposed brick might inspire snogging between bites.

Sultry art and steamy hot chocolate
The Frick Collection (1 E 70th St at Fifth Ave; 212-288-0700, frick.org; $5--$18), a hodgepodge of masterpieces and opulent textiles housed in the former mansion of steel magnate Henry Clay Frick, may be one of the few Upper East Side bastions inside which the cast of Gossip Girl hasn't boffed, canoodled or engaged in high-school hanky-panky. (Yet.) Amble through the amorous exhibit "Watteau to Degas: French Drawings from the Frits Lugt Collection," and you may even exchange a caress of your own. Afterward, get steamy over an Aztec hot chocolate ($6--$9) or a Some Like It Hot (hot chocolate with tequila, $10), and share the crpes au chocolat ($11) at the nearby MarieBelle Cacao Bar and Tea Salon (762 Madison Ave between 65th and 66th Sts; 212-249-4585, mariebelle.com).

High (brow) tea, arty cinema and martinis
Dare to book a daylong date, starting with the Roebling Tea Room (143 Roebling St at Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-963-0760), a formerly industrial space now outfitted with old-fashioned wallpaper, a wood bar and a verdant back garden. The extensive menu of loose-leaf teas is tempting, but you may want to order an afternoon cocktail like the Wild Whiskey ($6) to go with your big baked pancake ($10), beets and eggs with kale and potatoes ($10), and cinnamon toast ($1.50). Wake up from your food coma with a film at the retro arty Brooklyn Heights Cinema (70 Henry St at Orange St, Brooklyn Heights; 718-596-7070, brooklynheightscinema.com; $7.50--$10). Then gape at the nearby Brooklyn Bridge and take a stroll along the Promenade—should you choose to claim a bench for a frantic sunset make-out session, we won't judge (this time). Next, journey to Park Slope: Flatbush Farm (76--78 St. Marks Ave between Flatbush and Sixth Aves, Brooklyn; 718-622-3276, flatbushfarm.com) is known for its organic, seasonal fare, with ingredients sourced from local purveyors. Stake out two seats at the bar, order two grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato fennel soup ($8) and a few Brooklyn martinis, made with bourbon and cherries. Tie a stem with your tongue, smile winningly as you talk about how that Antlers album changed your life, and pray you get laid.

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Anonymous

Try a BYOB Painting Class at Painting Lounge (www.paintinglounge.com) in Brooklyn. Recreate a famous work of art in 2-3 hours while enjoying some wine or other beverage of choice. All supplies are included so no need to make a trip to the art supply store. It's stress free and a great way to make a memorable night, best of all you get a fantastic painting to take home and proudly display to friends and family.