Summer dates in New York: Great first date spots in NYC

Avoid an awkward encounter at these noncheesy settings for a first summer date in NYC. Plus, we found ace venues where you can keep a good date going into the night.

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  • Central Park Boat Ride

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Corkbuzz Wine Studio

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Nitehawk Cinema

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Maison Premiere

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Bushwick Country Club

Central Park Boat Ride


Planning the perfect first date in New York can be a terrifying endeavor. But fear no more: We’ve gathered some of the best first-date spots in NYC, including low-key bars, quirky comedy shows, and a spot to get dinner and a movie in Brooklyn. If you take your crush to these first-date spots, we’re sure you’ll be on a second date in no time.

Burp Castle
You’ll actually be able to hear your conversation at this candlelit pub, where placards on the walls instruct patrons to keep their voices low. Get to know each other over drafts from the Belgian-heavy beer list ($6–$10). 41 E 7th St between Second and Third Aves (212-982-4576)
If it’s going well… Share a few of the small plates, such as crispy beer sausage ($7) and shishito peppers ($9), at subterranean gastropub Jimmy’s No. 43. 43 E 7th St between Second and Third Aves (212-982-3006, jimmysno43.com)

The Jukebox
Instead of disclosing your own embarrassing stories, giggle over the misadventures of others during this comedy-karaoke hybrid. Funny folks, storytellers and other performers pick a song in line with each month’s theme—June’s is “Guilty Pleasures”—tell a related tale (or other form of ), then do their best balls-to-the-wall karaoke interpretation. Union Hall, 702 Union St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn (thejukeboxshow.com). Second Monday of every month 7:30pm; $5.
If it’s going well… Snag one of the outdoor tables at Mission Dolores, an auto garage turned beer bar, and discuss your own guilty pleasures over brews from the 20-strong tap list. 249 Fourth Ave between Carroll and President Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn (347-457-5606, missiondoloresbar.com)

Central Park Boat Ride
Sure, it’s a little goofy, but look at it this way: You’ll both be too busy checking out the pretty scenery—and making sure the rowboat doesn’t tip—to feel any first-date jitters. E 72nd St and Park Drive North (212-517-2233, centralparknyc.org). First hour $12, each additional 15 minutes $2.50, plus $20 deposit.
If it’s going well… A quick trip on the 6 train will deposit you near ABV, the wine-focused cousin of UES hot spot Earl’s Beer and Cheese. Choose a glass from the accessible list, and pair it with nibbles like wasabi rock shrimp ($7). 1504 Lexington Ave at 97th St (212-722-8959, abvny.com)

Thursday Night Out
Frugal daters, take note: A $7 ticket to the Magnet Theater’s Thursday-night improv bonanza gives you access to five hours of hilarious off-the-cuff skits by students and seasoned vets. That means you can be chivalrous and spring for your companion’s can of PBR ($2). 254 W 29th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-244-8824, magnettheater.com). Thu 7pm–midnight; $7.
If it’s going well… Split one of chef Jim Lahey’s Roman-style thin-crust pizzas—we like the Popeye, topped with spinach, mozzarella and Gruyère ($17)—at Co. 230 Ninth Ave at 24th St (212-243-1105, co-pane.com)

Corkbuzz Wine Studio
This chic wine bar offers blind tasting sessions on Mondays and Fridays (5–6pm): Order a flight of three wines ($15) and see if you can tell the difference between the Côtes du Rhône and the sangiovese. Once you’ve bonded over your vino knowledge (or lack thereof), kick back with a glass in the wingback chairs at the front. 13 E 13th St between Fifth Ave and University Pl (646-873-6071, corkbuzz.com)
If it’s going well… Take advantage of summer’s later sunsets and head south on Fifth Avenue to Washington Square Park, where you can continue your conversation and indulge in a little people-watching. W 4th St to Waverly Pl between MacDougal St and University Pl (nyc.gov/parks)

Nitehawk Cinema
Each theater here features paired seats and tables, where twosomes can nosh on nouveau concession fare while enjoying first-run indies and retro flicks. Split an order of the signature popcorn ($7) or a bowl of the Nitehawk Queso ($10), a gooey blend of melted cheese, black beans, spicy chorizo and cooling guac, served with crispy tortilla chips. 136 Metropolitan Ave between Berry St and Wythe Ave,Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-3980, nitehawkcinema.com)
If it’s going well… Exchange playful banter about the flick you just saw over cocktails—including a summery selection of four different juleps ($12–$15)—at Maison Premiere. 298 Bedford Ave between Grand and South 1st Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-335-0446, maisonpremiere.com)

Bushwick Country Club
There’s plenty to do besides tossing a few back at this Billyburg bar, which features a six-hole minigolf course in the backyard. Just be sure to limit yourself to one sweet-tea-and-vodka slushie ($6), lest you drunkenly shoehorn your date into the photo booth to make awkward faces. 618 Grand St at Leonard St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-388-2114)
If it’s going well… Just down the block, Huckleberry Bar offers both well-crafted drinks—if you’re looking to class the date up—and a selection of sandwiches (like one with ham and beer-soaked cheddar; $10) to sop up the booze. 588 Grand St at Lorimer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-218-8555, huckleberrybar.com)


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