Black Mountain Wine House
Open Climb at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers
RECOMMENDED: More great dates in NYC 2013
Sure, it would be nice if you could abscond to a secluded cottage with your longtime S.O. when your relationship needs some TLC. Alas, that’s not always an option, but there is an alternative: Black Mountain Wine House, a log-cabin-like refuge located, improbably, blocks from the Gowanus Canal. The snug, dimly lit bar has a roaring fireplace, adding to its romantic charm. If you can’t get a seat near the hearth, snag one of the tables by the front windows—you can cozy up to your beloved while sipping a beer ($6–$8) or one of the dozens of wines served by the glass ($7–$12).
We know it’s weird to talk about “spicing up your sex life” (ugh) with your partner. But let’s be honest: Sometimes you need a little help to, um, get things going again. That’s where Shag comes in. The Williamsburg shop hosts an array of friendly and judgment-free workshops and events targeting couples—gay, straight, dudes, ladies, whatever—and encouraging you to experiment with whatever feels good. Twosomes can check out a special Valentine’s Day event, “Aphrodisiacs and Amor: A Blindfolded Tasting Extravaganza” (Feb 14 7–10pm; $195/couple)—we can’t promise it will lead to a wild night, but we’re willing to bet that it will improve your chances.
Long walks in a secluded forest are romantic—and, luckily, not out of the realm of possibility in New York City. Head to the Bronx, where Wave Hill awaits: The complex, formerly a lush estate visited by Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt, has 28 acres of gardens and wooded areas where you’ll see flora like snowdrops, winter-flowering jasmine and witch hazel. Warm up in the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory—the adjacent Tropical House, heated to a practically balmy 70 degrees, showcases beautiful blooms such as orchids.
Nearly every advice column ever has suggested “trying new things” to keep the joy in your relationship. For a low-pressure way to do that, check out the indoor rock-climbing wall’s Open Climb at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers ($60/person). During each hour-long session, an instructor mans the ropes and gives participants advice on scaling the 46-foot-high wall; cheer your partner on and savor the adrenaline rush that inevitably comes from working up a sweat. chelseapiers.com/sc. Advance registration required.
Instead of going on yet another dinner date, mix things up by taking a class at the Astor Center. There are plenty of classes for the culinarily inclined, including wine tastings and pairings, and other cocktail workshops. Find out if you wasted money on oyster dinners in the name of romance at “Aphrodisiacs: Myth or Reality?” (Feb 8 at 6:30pm; $49), led by food historian Francine Segan. She’ll discuss the history of purported mood elevators like chocolate, champagne and those briny bivalves; the class also includes a tasting of chocolate truffles, cured meats and cheese, along with four sparkling and two red wines.