New York might not be dubbed the city of love, but we think Gotham is pretty darn romantic (okay, we’re biased). No, really. Apart from cramped and dodgy hookup bars and fancy, overpriced restaurants, the city is chock-full of fun and romantic things to do in NYC—especially for totally unromantic people. From great first-date ideas to thematically appropriate cocktail bars, you’ll be crooning and whistling love songs before the date is through.
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Romantic things to do in NYC
Pull a Marvin Gaye and prepare to get it on (or, at least, think about it) at the MoSex, which showcases tastefully erotic and downright outlandish work in a jaw-dropping (but totally cultural) context. “Jump for Joy” inside a tantalizing bounce house and enter an immersive wonderland of vivid sights, sounds and sensations inside the “Splendor in The Grass” exhibit to shake (or bounce off) those date-night jitters. Before you go, make a pit stop at the spacious gift shop that’s stocked with books, sex toys and aphrodisiac elixirs to create your own romantic evening at home.
The only way to win the heart of another is through a glass (or multiple pours) of wine, right? It’s worth a shot—or, er, a flight. Most wine bars in New York are bursting with local charm, but this urban, dimly-lit tasting room in Williamsburg is fiercely local. Translation: The vino is made from New York-grown grapes in Long Island and features the work of a different Brooklyn artists on every label. Treat your date to two-for-one BOE wines until 7pm on weekdays and definitely turn up for $1 oysters every Friday—they’re an aphrodisiac, duh!
Fancy dinner and a movie? Yeah, it’s the most over-used date-night routine in the book. But at Syndicated—Bushwick’s premiere dine-in movie theatre—you can grab cocktails, a delicious meal and catch a flick without ever leaving the premises. This is monumental for any couple that has ever argued over missing the first 15 minutes of a film due to train delays (or getting a little too carried away at the bar). And with mouthwatering dishes like Hurricane Popcorn Tuna, Slow-cooked Lamb Ribs, gourmet flavored popcorn and $3 movie tickets, how could you resist such a gloriously cheap date? Answer: You can’t.
You’ll be reminded of all the summer lovin’ you experienced as a frisky teen at summer camp inside this Boerum Hill bar that looks like a romantic cabin in the woods. Inside the Smith Street watering hole, with its walls made of logs and tree trunk stoles, you and your date can relive the glory days by cozying up to the fireplace with some s’mores and playing classic board games like Jenga and Connect 4 while sipping s’more martinis.
Repairing your semi-rocky relationship may be the only thing that concerns you right now, which means it’s time to bring out the big guns! That’s right, keep your relationship goals strong by treating your S.O. to a kick-ass (slightly pricey) yacht party on the Hudson ($125 per person). The delicious three-course meal, stunning skyline views and busting your sick moves on the dance floor will surely impress.
Pioneers of the cocktail world, Joseph Schwartz & Vito Dieterle have teamed up with luxury boutique hotel The Roxy to provide couples with expertly-crafted cocktails, delectable small plates, and live jazz in a sexy and evocative space. Enjoy a night of mischief, mystery and libations four nights a week (Wed–Sat) at this speakeasy in the heart of Tribeca.
End your date on a good note with a nightcap at, er, Nitecap? Oh, yes—the candle-lit drinking den is perfectly dark and romantic with a cavalcade of cocktail killers at its helm. (This is a must-stop make out spot. Y’know, if PDA is your thing). Slip into one of the leather booths and order a “Making Love at Midnight” (a fruity rum cocktail) and be prepared to adhere to its Cupid-esque power.
If you and your beau are into roleplay (not just the kinky kind), travel back in time to roarin’ dance party at this old-fashioned joint. Here’s a brief history lesson: Opened in 1908 as the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors Home, the 14-story landmark was a residential hotel when hoteliers Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson, of the Bowery and the Maritime, took it over. If entering the hotel feels like stepping on to a film set, there’s good reason: Inspiration came from various celluloid sources, including Barton Fink’s Hotel Earle for the lobby. The "ballroom," decorated with mismatched chairs, oriental rugs and a fireplace topped with a stuffed ram, evokes an eccentric mansion and is perfect for a night of dancing.