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Photograph: Time Out/ Ali Garber

The most romantic bars in NYC

New York’s most romantic bars strike the perfect mood with cocktails, wine, beer and even mocktails

By Bao Ong, Emma Orlow and Time Out contributors

You’ve just had an amazing date—perhaps at one of New York’s most romantic restaurants—and now you’re looking to grab just one more drink to prolong the night. Luckily, the options are seemingly endless among the city’s most romantic bars (some even made our best bars list). No matter what you choose to imbibe, there’s a spot for everyone, whether you’re looking for a cozy fireplace or a sleek wine bar for another round of drinks. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in NYC

Most romantic bars in NYC

Photograph: Ali Garber

1. June

Bars Wine bars Carroll Gardens

Back when it opened in 2015, June helped put natural wine on Brooklynites’ radar. Today, interesting bottles continue to add to the allure of the ’20s-era Midnight in Paris vibes. With its curved oxblood banquettes, globe light fixtures and stemmed glasses hanging over a marble bar top, June is endlessly romantic.

Diamond Lil
Photograph: Courtesy Diamond Lil Bar

2. Diamond Lil

Bars Cocktail bars Greenpoint

One of our favorite romantic bars in Brooklyn is this special, small spot in Greenpoint, near McGorlick Park. The dark lighting, moody green wall colors and artful stainglass details make it one of our go-tos. It helps that most tables are set up only for two. 

The Boulevardier at the Long Island Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Long Island Bar

3. The Long Island Bar

Bars Cocktail bars Cobble Hill

A revivalist spirit is at the core of this retrofitted wonder that reimagines the midcentury greasy spoon. But the cocktail team does more than simply dig up old bones: It gave this joint a makeover with expertly executed tipples, like a refreshing gimlet and a boozy Boulevardier. The result is a hip Brooklyn bar that welcomes everyone.

<p>Third Arm at Achilles Heel</p>
Photograph: Courtesy of Achilles Heel

4. Achilles Heel

Restaurants Seafood Greenpoint

With its timeworn wood floors and warm fireplace, Andrew Tarlow’s Greenpoint grogshop is loosely based on a dockhand dive. But instead of off-hours longshoremen, an art-house crowd streams in for the excellent cocktails and natural wine. The faux-weathered joint is a cool-kid Cheers descendant, a neighborhood tavern where even the staff sticks around for drinks after throwing in the towel for the day. It's definitely more lowkey, but still romantic.

Bemelmans Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Don Riddle

5. Bemelmans Bar

Bars Lounges Lenox Hill

From the iconic Madeline murals by Ludwig Bemelmans to the live music, Bemelmans is like no other experience. Somehow, the white-jacketed service doesn't feel stuffy but transportive to another era that isn't just another Prohibition-style bar knockoff. Maybe it's the fact that the classics are done just right (head bartender Luis Serrano has worked here for 31 years).

Photograph: Courtesy of Elsa

6. Elsa

Bars Cocktail bars Cobble Hill

Elsa serves up its original (but now closed) East Village locale’s same fancy feels in this decadent Cobble Hill reincarnation designed by Home Studios, the team behind many of the city’s most aesthetically pleasing interiors. The drinks highlight lesser-used ingredients, such as cucumber tea, Szechuan peppercorns, wildflower honey and grapefruit in the Golden Fang.

LOIS interior
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

7. Lois

Bars Wine bars East Village

Nora O'Malley (Alphabet City Wine Co.) and Phoebe Connell (ABC Beer Co.) exclusively pour vino via draft at this wine bar, outfitted with 16 taps and a small-plates menu featuring house-made pork rillettes, duck-confit corn cakes and sourdough slathered in Szechuan-peppercorn butter.

La Compagnie
Photograph: Ali Garber

8. La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

Bars Wine bars Little Italy

Look beyond the tongue-tying menu of grapes, and you’ll discover a bar that’s sophisticated enough for snobby oenophiles but still approachable for the rest of us. Drinking champagne during Tracksuit Tuesdays as we snack on the Cacio e Popcorn? Pour us another one.

Maison Premiere, Bar Awards
Photograph: Filip Wolak

9. Maison Premiere

Bars Cocktail bars Williamsburg

This gorgeous NOLA-inspired salon—the green walls are fogged with a faux patina that suggests decades of patrons smoking Gauloises—is devoted to the twin pleasures of oysters and absinthe. Sip one of the potent varieties of the infamous anise-flavored liqueur, best enjoyed in the lush backyard.

Photography: Liz Clayman

10. LaLou

Restaurants Contemporary European Prospect Heights

This Prospect Heights wine bar and restaurant highlights lesser-seen European natural wines and its still newish, so you can impress your date with being in the know. The space itself is all white, but elegant in the small details. There's even a cozy backyard, for alfresco drinks and bites. 

Peppi’s Cellar
Photograph: Gabi Porter

11. Peppi’s Cellar

Bars Nolita

Pass three spiral staircases inside the just-opened Italian restaurant Gran Tivoli to get to this semisecret cocktail lounge. Practically lifted from the set of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Peppi’s is all retro cool, with deep, intimate booths, antique lights and a tiny stage for lively jazz combos.

Photograph: Teddy Wolff

12. Ophelia

Bars Cocktail bars Midtown East

Once you reach the 26th floor of Beekman Tower, you’re instantly welcomed into a decadent barroom fashioned with soaring cathedral windows, jewel-tone blue walls and glass showcases filled with vintage oddities. This intoxicating music-box–like space has four doors that lead curiosity seekers to the main draw: a maze of enclosed terraces snaking around the perimeter, outfitted with red-velvet couches, checkered black-and-white floors and sweeping views of Midtown East.

Photograph: Jolie Ruben

13. Donna

Bars Cocktail bars Williamsburg

For those who crave not just great drinks, but also the culture of drinking well, there’s a certain thrill that comes with encountering a bar that you want to get to know beyond the first date. The gorgeous Donna, a breezy, rum-soaked drinkery secreted away near the Williamsburg waterfront, is long-term relationship material: mysterious and sexy enough to seduce on sight, yet substantive enough to keep you coming back to dig deeper. 

Little Branch
Photograph: Courtesy Krista Schleuter

14. Little Branch

Bars Lounges West Village

As befits cocktail progenitor Sasha Petraske’s liquid legacy, the drinks at this clubby, low-ceilinged Village rathskeller are nigh perfect. If you choose to deviate from the menu, just give the neatly attired, polite bartenders a base liquor and a hint of your mood, and they can tailor a drink on the fly. A call for rye got us a spot-on Italian twist on a Manhattan, featuring maraschino liqueur, Carpano Antica vermouth and amaro. Custom-made cocktails—no password or secret handshake required.

Angel's Share
Photograph: Courtesy of Angel's Share

15. Angel’s Share

Bars Lounges East Village

Walk through an unmarked side door at the front of Japanese restaurant Village Yokocho, and you’ll find yourself in perhaps the classiest joint in the East Village. Angel’s Share remains completely unknown to some of its neighbors; that duality is part of its charm. Standing around and groups of four or more are not allowed—but this is really a date place anyway, offering a stellar view of Stuyvesant Square, tuxedoed bartenders and excellent cocktails, including one of the city’s best grasshoppers.

The Ten Bells
Photograph: Courtesy of Ten Bells

16. The Ten Bells

Bars Wine bars Lower East Side

By today’s standards, natural wines are hardly innovative. But Ten Bells was one of the first to set the trend with a roster of global pours. This vino depot is, oddly, named for Jack the Ripper’s hunting grounds, but you should be safe in the hands of the spot’s knowledgeable bartenders. 

Rose Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Rose Bar

17. Rose Bar

Bars Lounges Gramercy

Tucked inside the Gramercy Park Hotel, Rose Bar offers a luxurious alternative to other crowded cocktail bars. Modern artworks from the likes of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst line the walls, and the solid walnut bar and hand-carved limestone fireplace lend a high-society feel to the surroundings. 

Slowly Shirley
Photograph: Courtesy Slowly Shirley

18. Slowly Shirley

Bars Cocktail bars West Village

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a minor character in a David Lynch film, then slink into a black dress, smack on a dark-red lip and hightail it to the Art Deco treasure trove that is Slowly Shirley, a sultry hideaway beneath Jon Neidich and Jim Kearns’s West Village bar, the Happiest Hour. Shirley takes her late-1940s aesthetic mighty seriously, with glossy oxblood banquettes and barbacks kitted out in newsboy caps and suspenders like dancers in a Broadway musical. 


19. Flora Bar

Restaurants Italian Lenox Hill

Chef Igancio Mattos’ restaurant in the Met Breuer impresses us with its seafood-focused menu and simple dishes that seem to mimic the museum’s Modernist aesthetics. But the bar in this airy dining room with soaring ceilings has us coming back as regulars because we just love hanging out here, especially after sundown when the gentle lighting makes everything look like art.

Photograph: Courtesy Minu Han

20. Reception

Bars Cocktail bars Lower East Side

The downtown bar offers Korean-inspired elixirs—non-alchoholic drinks, that you add alchohol to, if you please. If neither you or your date drinks  (or is in the mood to that night), you can take out the alcohol but leave in perfectly-mixed drinks and a funky spot for good conversation. 

Photograph: Courtesy Adrian Mesko

21. Primo's

Bars Cocktail bars Tribeca

At first glance, Primo’s is an oxymoron: an inexplicably sexy space modeled on… a 1950s diner? On one hand, glass-block partitions, chrome-edged tables and doo-wop music set the scene. But when you swap the black-and-white checkerboard floor for soft-gray terrazzo triangles, the soda-fountain counter for a liquor-stocked bar and the squeaky plastic booths for jewel-tone velvet banquettes, you have the most downright sensual “diner” we’ve ever seen.

Photograph: Courtesy Walter Wlodarczyk

22. San Pedro Inn

Bars Dive bars Red Hook

Yes, it's a dive. But it is also an excellent date spot. Started by Gabriel Florenz, Artistic Director of Pioneer Works (which is located just down the street) and Jason Grunwald (owner of the vintage furniture spot Otherwild) San Pedro Inn serves tacos, quesadillas and tostadas, with housemade fermented hot sauce, farm fresh vegetables and homemade tortillas, all made by Norberto Piattoni, formerly of Mettā. 

Photography: Melissa Hom

23. Lot 15

Herald Square isn’t exactly the most romantic spot in Manhattan but you’ll forget this fact when you enter the Rockwell Group-design interior. Oversized floral arrangments accent a handsome space decked out in black wood walls, velvet chairs and smoky mirrors.

Looking to grab bae flowers?


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