The Ear Inn
Named for the renowned open-air market in Barcelona, chef Marc Vidal’s Spanish spot serves authentic tapas and sangria—both perfect for sharing. Cap your meal with a classic Spanish dessert, like churros served with thick hot chocolate. A word to the wise: Though the nibbles are delicious, they may not leave your breath very kissable, so bring mints.
When it opened in 1830, the historic Ear Inn (the oldest working bar in the city) was popular with colorful characters ambling in from the docks of the Hudson. The basic decor—dark-wood bar, wobbly tables and chairs, lots of retro ephemera—hasn’t changed much since, but locals continue to pack the place thanks to its relaxed vibe and historical charm. Grab a pint of Guinness and a sirloin burger, and use one of the provided crayons to challenge your date to a game of hangman (or a doodle-off) on one of the paper-lined tables.
Suds-loving couples can grab a seat at the glass-topped bar to trade notes on the brewpub’s roster of beers, all made in stills in the basement. The rotating list offers everything from citrusy IPAs to Belgian strong ales. Keep things quick and casual by sitting at the front bar, or settle in for the evening at one of the leather banquettes toward the back.
The titular sounds of Brazil (S.O.B.—get it?) are just some of the many global genres that keep this spot hopping. Hip-hop, soul, reggae and Latin beats all figure in the mix, with Seu Jorge, Zap Mama and Wyclef Jean each appearing of late. The drinks are expensive, but the sharp-looking clientele doesn't seem to mind.
Woo your potential sweetheart with decadent truffles at this cocoa-centric spot. After sampling classics like gianduia (milk chocolate with crunchy hazelnut and praline bits), try more daring flavors, such as Black Pearl (dark chocolate with ginger, wasabi and black sesame seeds) or Naga (sweet Indian curry powder, coconut, milk chocolate), and see who has the most adventurous palate.