Summer dates in New York: Food-and-drink dates at NYC bars and restaurants

Charm a gourmand by getting dinner or drinks at NYC hot spots on these summer dates.



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  • Rockaway Taco



  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Brooklyn Kitchen



  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Booker and Dax at Ssäm

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben




  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Jones Wood Foundry



Rockaway Taco



If you’re going to woo a food-obsessed partner, go beyond the standard dinner and a movie this season. Check out five food-and-drink-focused summer dates at New York bars and restaurants.

Chow down at Rockaway Beach Club

  • Free

You’ll find all the makings of a seaside picnic within a stone’s throw of the water, thanks to this concession stand, which includes goods from returning vendors like Motorboat & the Big Banana and Santa Salsa. Keep an eye out for new-to-the-beach outposts of NYC eateries such as Steve’s Ice Cream, the Commodore and the Lobster Joint. And before hopping back on the A train, fill up on chorizo tacos ($3–$4) and watermelon juice ($2) at the ever-popular Rockaway Taco (95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd at Beach 96th St). Rockaway Beach Boardwalk between Beach 86th and 106th Sts, Rockaway, Queens (

  1. Boardwalk, (between Beach 9th and Beach 149th Sts)
More info

Take classes at the Brooklyn Kitchen

  • Price band: 2/4

Learn how to make a great meal together during sessions taught by the experts at this Williamsburg culinary haven. Roll out dough at a pizza-making class (Sun 27 at 2pm; $75) or cozy up during a special Couples Dinner (June 8 at 6:30pm; $165 per couple). Just remember to make notes—instead of  googly eyes at your partner—so you can put your newfound skills to use at a later date. (718-389-2982,

  1. 100 Frost St, (at Meeker Ave)
More info

Sip creative cocktails in the East Village

  • Critics choice

A dusky bar and strong spirits are tried-and-true allies on any date, and you’ll find both at the East Village’s new crop of drinkeries. Start at Booker and Dax at Ssäm (207 Second Ave at 13th St; 212-254-3500,—a sleek, bustling bar annex to the Momofuku eatery—with a Mustachi-ode (amaro, Becherovka, bourbon, egg white, pistachio; $14). Gadgets like an electric red-hot poker make drink preparations look like magic acts—albeit with a purpose. Afterward, head to the Wayland (700 E 9th St at Ave C; 212-777-7022,, a rustic, welcoming space serving cocktails such as the Bermuda Black ($12), a dark-and-stormy–esque quaff with the hoppy addition of black IPA. (The bar also features an upright piano, should the urge to serenade your sweetie arise.)

Taste sweet treats at Smorgasburg

Instead of settling for a Whitman’s Sampler, woo a potential lover with locally made, inexpensive (most items are under $10) goodies found at this waterfront bazaar. On a typical visit, you may be able to try sour-cherry shaved ice from People’s Pops, Danny Macaroons’ chewy coconut cookies, stroopwafel ice-cream sandwiches from the Good Batch and Whimsy & Spice’s cardamom marshmallows. Wash it all down with a refreshing rhubarb-anise quencher from Brooklyn Soda Works. (

  1. 27 North 6th St, (between Kent Ave and East River), 11211
More info

Cross the park on an uptown bar crawl

  • Critics choice

Begin a sampler of upscale pub grub at Jones Wood Foundry (401 E 76th St at First Ave; 212-249-2700,, where you can fuel up with a bottle of house signature beer London Pride ($8) while sharing a selection of toasts with toppings like pear and blue cheese ($7) or smoked mackerel ($9). Then, head to Earl’s Beer & Cheese (1259 Park Ave between 97th and 98th Sts; 212-289-1581, for a second course of pork belly and kimchi-stuffed grilled cheese ($8), and a can of Sly Fox Pikeland Pils ($5). Stroll through Central Park to work up an appetite before settling in at Jacob’s Pickles (509 Amsterdam Ave between 84th and 85th Sts; 212-470-5566,, and reward yourselves with an assortment of brined veggies (three for $10) and Southern-inflected fare.

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