Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center
You know the drill: You did something wrong, and now your partner deserves a good meal. Make things right at this intimate Carroll Gardens gem, which boasts low lighting and an expertly curated playlists (softer Stones, early Van Morrison). No matter; what your partner will remember is the food and drink—and, hopefully, how awesome you were for suggesting this place. We love the juicy, pickle-brined Amish chicken ($22), as well as Sixpoint’s refreshing Prime Meats pilsner ($8) and the house-made punches ($5).
Romantic evenings at one of NYC’s retro-style jazz haunts typically come with hefty price tags. Not at Rue B. The tiny Alphabet City lounge has tons of old-school charm and—best of all—no cover charge. Show up early to nab half-price signature cocktails (normally $12) between 4 and 8pm. Jams kick off nightly at 9pm around the Steinway, where noted pianists like Herbie Hancock and Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen have dropped in for impromptu sets. And don’t worry: The noise level won’t interrupt your conversation—so you can clearly and discernibly apologize for being an asshole.
Get classy at Lincoln Center
Remind your mate of just how darn cultured you are (but please—abstain from uttering the phrase darn cultured) by taking them to Lincoln Center. Get dolled up for performances at either the Metropolitan Opera House (Lincoln Center Plaza at 65th St; 212-362-6000, metoperafamily.org; $20–$440) or the New York City Ballet (David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza at 63rd St; 212-721-6500, lincolncenter.org; $29–$155). The dance troupes, singers and stagings are consistently top-notch—and the venues’ intoxicatingly grand settings alone are worth the admission.
Catch an old-timey flick, then booze in an old-timey bar
Taking your squeeze to a multiplex doesn’t exactly spell out I’m sorry. Instead, head to Film Forum (209 W Houston St between Sixth Ave and Varick St; 212-727-8110, filmforum.org), which boasts the city’s best bookings of classic black-and-white movies. Afterward, discuss the nuances of the flick (and how bad you feel for whatever it was that you did) over a proper 20-ounce pint of Guinness ($6.50) at the Ear Inn (326 Spring St between Greenwich and Washington Sts; 212-226-9060, earinn.com). The bar, which dates back to 1830, has a lived-in, throwback quality that will fit in nicely with your nostalgic evening.