Dating is always tough, but it’s tougher in New York – especially Brooklyn. Now for us single ladies, it’s always a different story. Before I give you my list of “first date spots,” these are the prerequisites:
a. Incognito status: places where friends / exes do not troll aka I-won’t-bump-into-anyone-I-know. I want to save myself and my um, date, the embarrassment of saying “Uh, yeah. I’m on a date.”
b. Big open spaces: Well, I’ll be ok as long as it has a number of easy exits – especially on a first date. Big windows count.
c. Save the “fancy” for later: it has to be affordable. I personally hate relying on someone to pick up my tab, especially if I have to play “who’s-faster-in-pulling-their-wallet-out?”
d. Neutral territory: a different but close neighborhood for either easy, quick exit or easy, quick walk of shame. Same neighborhood is fine as well as long as there are sufficient blocks between homes (e.g. nassau stop vs. greenpoint stop).
e. Fun: it’s just a date, after all! Might as well enjoy yourself, with or without that “date” (just in case they don’t show up).
Yana’s Picks: Best First Date Spots for Singles in Greenpoint
1. Manhattan Inn – The quintessential-numero-uno-classy date spot in Greenpoint. I mean, live music all week, not to mention a gorgeous white grand piano with a skylight, starting at 5 pm daily. Food is amazing, even if you’re just getting the burger. Bonus: Happy Hour: $1 oysters and $3 well and drafts. Oh, and if your date goes well and you end up staying late, their dark corners make for a great make-out location.
2. Transmitter Park – waterfront with a pier. Definitely perfect for a picnic or late-night rendezvous. Imagine a bottle of cold rosé, the sunset and your date. Ok, stop. Let’s not ruin it. Bonus: Be on the lookout for aggressive mocking birds. It could easily turn from a romcom to a hitchcock in 0.9 seconds.
3. No Name & Beloved – Tied, just because their set-up is amazingly mirrored. It’s uncanny. Difference is: No Name has that awesome semi-secret Korean restaurant downstairs in case you’re a nervous eater. But yes, both have a great bar atmosphere and expansive backyards. Bonus: Beloved has amazing cocktails where No Name has great mini-booths for people watching.
4. T.B.D. – This place definitely fills the big open space requirement. Even the bar inside is massive: lounge areas, a ping pong table and ample dance floor real-estate. Bonus: due to its expansiveness, it’s easy to not get spotted. Plus, you can do a quick exit via the backyard if need be.
5. The Exley – Little gem on the Greenpoint/Williamsburg border. Easily missed because there are no signs out front, but great mixed crowd. You’ll get major points if you’re a literary nerd. Great for conversations because it’s very cozy, and I mean, cozy. Bonus: Happy Hour is til 8 (whaaat?!). Oh, and they do BYOBBQ and sidewalk cornhole competitions.
6. Milk and Roses – Another classy joint in North Greenpoint, featuring bomb-ass Italian food and a banging backyard. Little intimate tables as well as ambient lighting provide for a nice quiet date spot. Bonus: Tuesdays are Ladies’ night (meaning, wine is half off). There’s nothing classier than getting drunk on wine on the first date.
7. Broken Land – the new kid on the Franklin block, this bar offers the best (and affordable) Old Fashioned. If you’re a down with bitters, their cocktail menu revolves around them. It’s a very chill atmosphere – the kind where you can comfortably strike up a conversation with your bartender and not really feel like you’re on a date. Bonus: their backyard is totally revamped with ample seating.
8. Kinfolk Studios – It’s a bike shop. No, it’s a cafe. No, it’s a restaurant. No, it’s a bar. It’s everything rolled in one. A gem, I must say. Low key, great music, great cocktails and an interesting pop-up residency (Aska). Super high ceilings and a giant garage door lend a very open feeling to the space. Bonus: Dance parties always abound. Check their facebook for events. Also, awesome japanese beer on draft.
9. Wythe Hotel (The Ides)– I know, I said save the fancy, but hear me out. It’s just this one thing: the view. Even if your date is not the most interesting thing, be comforted at the fact you’ve got the rest of New York to amuse you. Bonus: It’s mostly a “manhattan-ish” crowd. Hence, the incognito factor is definitely strong.
10. Troost – this slim sliver of a coffee/bar opens up to a beautiful backyard oasis. It’s kind of a mixed crowd, depending on the night, but trust that you won’t need to shout at your date just to have a conversation. Bonus: come on Tuesdays for backgammon. Win and you get a free drink 😉
2. St. Mazie
5. River Styx