Date Bar
September 20, 2010 11:04 AM   Subscribe

First-date bar in the East Village or LES? Nothing fancy.

So I'm going on my first internet date ever on Wednesday. We are two late-twenty-somethings in NYC with your average indie leanings (music, style, etc, etc). He lives in Harlem, I live in Bushwick (in Brooklyn) so we both are falling short on suggestions in those neighborhoods. I would prefer something not Manhattan-y (ie black lacquered everything, red walls, bad dance music, etc), somewhere chill and intimate but too romantic-y or too rowdy or divey, with good music and reasonably priced drinks. A place with a patio would be a super-duper-awesome plus.

Places in Brooklyn that I go that I like: Black Rabbit in Greenpoint, Pencil Factory in Greenpoint, the Narrows in Bushwick, Soft Spot in Williamsburg, Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg (a little on the pricey side though), the Richardson in Williamsburg, Union Pool in Williamsburg (though I don't think it would make a good first-date place), etc, etc-- just to give you an idea of my tastes.

posted by greta simone to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I like Marshall Stack on Rivington.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:25 AM on September 20, 2010

I really like Revival on East 15th and Third Ave. It's more Grammercy Park than East Village, but it's a pretty chill place, with a garden/terrace/whatever, a proper bar and tables but also couches, and reasonable prices. It also almost always has great music that is never turned up too loud. Here's the Yelp page.
posted by shamash at 11:25 AM on September 20, 2010

Angel's Share. It's a great space and classy bar. What's cool is you have to walk through a Japanese restaurant to get in, which makes you feel a little bit like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.
posted by j1950 at 11:27 AM on September 20, 2010

Also, have you been to the Life Cafe on Flushing Ave in Bushwick? It's right around the corner from the Morgan stop on the L. I used to go there all the time; the drinks can be kind of pricey, but they're big and strong and good. The food is decent, too, and depending on which bartender is on duty, the music ranges from not awful to great.
posted by shamash at 11:27 AM on September 20, 2010

Revival, near union square, is fine and so is Botanica (a very nice back room) or milanos which are next to each other on Houston.
posted by history is a weapon at 12:22 PM on September 20, 2010

Angel's Share is great, but there is often a wait to get in and sit down. Be prepared for that.
posted by hermitosis at 12:47 PM on September 20, 2010

I highly recommend WCOU Radio (Tile Bar), on the corner of 1st Ave and 7th Street. An unassuming little divey thing. It's where me and the missus had our very first date, and that was 4 years ago.
posted by monospace at 1:06 PM on September 20, 2010

Lolita in LES. Don't be put off by the name or pink neon -- the decor is tasteful and interesting and not overly sexual or romantic (or romantic-y). The photos at the link don't do it justice either. Happy hour from 5 to 8 pm every day. Sometimes it gets way too loud and crowded, but probably not on a Wednesday.

Anyway Cafe is a cool little bar/restaurant that seems relatively undiscovered for the East Village. It has an old-world Eastern European vibe (they'll tell you about Russian beers you've never heard of) and a "hey we just stumbled upon this random cozy little place to escape the hubbub of Manhattan" feel. When I went there were a couple decent singers very casually playing songs, and they both interacted with the (sparse) audience as if everyone knew each other. The flavored vodkas are clearly a hit based on Yelp. There's a small amount of outdoor seating.

You seem like you might like Zucco Le French Diner in the LES, but I've never been there. It seems very hip but also pretty cramped and possibly too loud. Just an idea.

If you're hungry but don't want it to feel like a "dinner date," Barrio Chino in the LES is supposed to have amazing guacamole that's definitely worth the price. I can't comment on the vibe firsthand since I haven't been there, but I can't imagine it'd be too upscale. (Note: there's no clear sign on the place that I've been able to see, so look for solid bright orange where you'd expect the sign to be
posted by John Cohen at 1:20 PM on September 20, 2010

posted by John Cohen at 1:20 PM on September 20, 2010

Peels just opened on the LES and is lovely. And has food. And is not far from the Bleecker St. station on the Lex IRT. I ended up there accidentally the other day and found it charming. It's barely opened so it hasn't had time to get overrun.

Marshall Stack is also nice, I would second that. Lolita is actually not bad but kind of out of the way for both of you. It's not far from the Rivington subway stop but I think you can stay central and have better post date options than Lolita.

Life Cafe would be six kinds of difficult for someone in Harlem. I think the OP is trying to find a place that is convenient to both of them. I also don't find it particularly attractive, unless you live at Morgantown and don't have a lot of other options within walking distance.
posted by micawber at 1:25 PM on September 20, 2010

I've always been a big fan of Big Bar (which is of course tiny): it is nicely priced and good for talking. Sixth Ward is chill and had a patio but it is not super L-adjacent.
posted by dame at 2:26 PM on September 20, 2010

Seconding Marshall Stack. Been there once, it was pretty laid back and a reasonable place to talk. Good beer on tap too.
posted by rocketman at 2:48 PM on September 20, 2010

Lolita is actually not bad but kind of out of the way for both of you.

I assumed anything in the LES or East Village would be fine, since those are the areas she specified. Anyway, Lolita is at Allen and Broome, right by the B/D and M. (I'm not in the city now, so I'm going off of maps -- I might have the lines wrong.) OP could take the M from Bushwick. Depending where in Harlem the guy is, he could take the B/D. If he's in East Harlem, he could take the 6 down to Spring St., a few short blocks away from Lolita. I don't see the problem.
posted by John Cohen at 3:30 PM on September 20, 2010

What about Roberta's in Bushwick? Perfectly date-y but not too romantic, nice patio, good alcohol & they operate a ham radio station out back. So, uh, quirky conversation starter!
posted by Juicy Avenger at 12:05 AM on September 21, 2010

Oops I missed the very first line in your question. Ignore me, but have a great time! :)
posted by Juicy Avenger at 12:09 AM on September 21, 2010

I think you'd like Botanica on Houston St. I live in Williamsburg and generally like the same bars you do, and I really like Botanica. I've gone on dates at Botanica. I read in New York magazine or somewhere that it's a great divey date bar. The music's good. During happy hour, well drinks, Yuengling, and Brooklyn Lager are $3. After that, the drinks are still reasonably priced. I've seen it get crowded, but it's not generally bad. There isn't outdoor space, but it's underground and a bit dark. It's not dark in the way that tries to have the ambiance of a netherlounge. It just lacks windows.

Afterward, walk to Chinatown and get dinner together.
posted by oreofuchi at 10:19 AM on September 21, 2010

Angel Share is always packed. I was once really desperate to go for my birthday (one-on-one, not a big group), and I remember it being really underwhelming because it took forever to get served, was really noisy, etc. I believe it was a weeknight, too.

What about Drop Off Service? Right off the L at Ave A between 13th and 14th.

Crocodile Lounge is a little NYU bro-ish, but who can argue with free pizza? Also right by the L on 14th between 1st and 2nd.

If you're both more into beer than cocktails, Burp Castle is great - though there's a "quiet" policy, so if you're very boisterous people you might get shusshed. Then again, what a great first date bonding moment!

I've been on more than one date at Lorelei, though it's not quite as convenient to the trains.
posted by Sara C. at 4:45 PM on September 21, 2010

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