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Food + Drink

The Most Romantic Bars in NYC

As resident New Yorkers, we like to think we’re savvy to our city’s bar scene. Whether you’re in search of something covert and seductive or low-key and light, these are the 9 most romantic bars to imbibe at now.

A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.

See recent posts by Chelsea Stuart

Dear Irving, Gramercy Park

At Dear Irving, couples take their pick of atmosphere and historical era. There’s the Marie Antoinette Parlor with chandeliers, luxe red settees, and gilded mirrors; the JFK room with funky 60’s-style furnishings; the Gatsby Room which shelter’s leather booths behind hanging crystal drapes; and the Abraham Lincoln Room which pairs velvet couches with a dark wooden bar. Of course you’ll find a menu of beer, wine, spirits, and ‘Tried and True’ favorites, but the really fun stuff falls under ‘House Creations’. Craving something a little out of the ordinary? Go for the Deacon Blues, a smoky take on the classic Old Fashioned crafted with bourbon, mezcal and black pepper syrup.

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Lantern’s Keep, Midtown West

Turn onto Midtown’s Club Row – aka 44th Street between 5th and 6th Ave (what was once the hub of Manhattan’s elite social club scene) – and you’ll stumble upon one of the most romantic bars in NYC, the [Lantern’s Keep](Lantern’s Keep) at the Iroquois Hotel. Reminiscent of a Temperance-era European saloon, the spot specializes in turn-of-the-century-touches working Impressionist-style paintings, rattan chairs with blue velvet cushions, and cavernous dark wood fireplaces. Catching our attention on the menu is the Hop Toad (found under “Shaken Up”) expertly crafted with Jamaican rum, apricot liqueur, and lime.

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Macao Trading Company, TriBeCa

Inventive Chinese-Portuguese fusion dishes mingle with a more-than-generous list of welcome drinks, seasonal selections, cocktails, wines, and spirits at Macao Trading Co. But what the bi-level bar really offers in excess is an exotic atmosphere not far removed from the gambling dens and brothels of 1940’s Macao. Take to the curvy candle-lit bar to try out tantalizing combinations like the sweet and smoky Gypsy Carney-Val, a mix of rum, fresh lime juice, homemade pineapple honey syrup, and scotch.

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Lelabar, West Village

Whether your preference leans toward red or white, you’ll find dozens upon dozens of options at the West Village’s intimate Lelabar. Peep the chalkboard on your way in to catch the list of daily specials and featured wine flights. The elegant, candle-lit space is dominated by a wraparound wrought iron and wood bar, set beneath a pressed-tin ceiling. Chat up the bartenders as you’ll likely need some borrowed insight in order to narrow down which of the 350 varieties – all available by the glass (they’ll open any bottle if you commit to two glasses) – to go for; with a side of artisanal cheese and a charcuterie plate to split, of course.

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Jadis Wine Bar, Lower East Side

Whether you’re headed out on a promising second date or grabbing dinner and a drink with your longtime love, Jadis’ homey lounge is worth consideration. The exposed brick hangout is a delightful portrayal of old New York with worn leather couches, well-loved wooden tables, and simple barstools. The wine list is well-traveled featuring pours from Spanish, French, and Chilean regions, paying special attention to budding international producers. Whatever your glass of choice, pair with French-inspired small plates of escargot and oven roasted tomato bruschetta or a homemade quiche.

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Death & Company, East Village

By name alone, Death & Co. may not read like an ultra-amorous spot, but get a load of the low-lit, moody design (see: suede booth seating, flickering kerosene lamps, and sleek marble-topped bar), and we think you’ll see why it caught our eye. With a slew of celebrated bartenders at the helm, the den’s cocktail list is generally updated twice annually; our current faves include the Lost Cause – cider, sparkling wine, pear brandy, and vanilla – and the Flashpoint – white rum, grapefruit, lemon, passion fruit, cinnamon, grenadine, and lime.

Wallflower, West Village

If you find you’re more often in the mood for sweet and simple than super sultry, it’s good to have Wallflower in your back pocket. The petite French bistro and bar – tucked away in the West Village, just off of Greenwich Ave – features pint-sized marble tables which serve a mean dinner (think: steak tartare with pâté à choux, roasted garlic, and soft herbs) before giving way to exotic aperitifs. Depending on your cocktail of choice, you could be sipping from a Mason jar or milk bottle, or if you’re hitting the town on a double-date, consider a pitcher of Pisco Punch – a mix of Machu Pisco, pineapple, cinnamon, Cocchi Rosa Vermouth, clove tincture, and Peychaud’s.

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Apotheke, Chinatown

Drawing its inspiration from Paris’ 19th-century absinthe dens, Apotheke melds novel craft cocktails with highly dramatic decor. The dimly-lit speakeasy houses a marble and pressed-tin bar, a gold-leaf ceiling, a lively house jazz band, and bartenders done up in crisp apothecary uniforms. Before finding a quiet corner with your boo, take your pick of more than 250 specialty drinks on a “prescription list” split in categories like “Health & Beauty,” “Pain Killers,” and “Euphoric Enhancers.”

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Bar Cyrk, TriBeCa

If you like your bars themed, but are sick of the wave of speakeasies that hit the city hard in recent years, try glamorous Bar Cyrk on for size. It serves up a vintage circus aesthetic that’s reliant on a mirror-backed bar outlined in stage lights, silver tables accompanied by leather banquette seating, shelves of retro fairground items, and crystal chandeliers which hang from a gilded ceiling. Classic cocktails are transformed with funky infusions, and word to the wise – the spot also makes mean specialty pizzas that does more than just soak up the booze.

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