Madam Geneva

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If you like gin by the bathtub full, this is your place. They’ve got the best gin and tonic in town — but that’s playing it way too safe. Order the Hyde Park Swizzle, a mix of Beefeater, lime, mint, and a dash of Angostura. Or get really crazy and try the Corpse Survivor, a deadly combination of Bombay “east” and absinthe.

 

Temple Bar

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Romance in New York may be dead, but something about Temple Bar makes you nostalgic for a time when people had affairs to remember. Their cocktail list is classic, almost to a fault. Like, they have a cocktail called The Betty Draper (gin, elderflower, prosecco), that’s the level of classic we’re talking about. The atmosphere is dark and lush, the perfect place to whisper sweet nothings into someone’s ear before you realize how much you spent on four cocktails.

 

Tom & Jerry’s

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They filmed a scene of Girls here. So be prepared for the eye-roll-inducing antics of a certain breed of finance and tech bros. But this Elizabeth Street dive bar is the sort of place where everyone somehow gets along. It might be because the drinks are strong, reasonably priced, and dangerously well mixed — think watermelon margaritas and cucumber martinis. Yeah, that’s definitely why.

 

Acme

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Down below the restaurant, Acme has turned its basement into a cocktail lounge perfect for pre-dinner drinks or after-hours partying. Its entrance is somewhat hidden, walk down a flight of stairs and enter through an unmarked door. A house DJ takes over nightly at 11 PM, and you’ll likely find an intimate crowd of who’s who in the New York creative scene.

 

The Library at the Public

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If you didn’t eat anything before some experimental Shakespeare revival, The Library at The Public Theater is a worthy two-step stop for post-show supper. It’s definitely a spot where theater dilettantes would discuss Brechtian dramaturgy over a charcuterie plate and clever cocktails like Waiting for Godot (a vodka martini topped off with a watermelon ice cube). The menu (divvied up into acts, of course) gives you enough options between burgers, microgreen salads, and heavy pasta dishes.  

 

Noho Star

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On the corner of Bleecker and Lafayette since 1985, this upscale diner is a neighborhood landmark. The clientele is a mix of regulars who know the menu by heart or brunching groups who couldn’t get into their first-choice spot. The menu is a mix of Chinese and American food — one of the few places where you can order a tuna sandwich, steak frites, and mei fun noodles.

 

SRO

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Only in New York would there be such a thing as a pizza speakeasy. Access is through a hidden door from next-door restaurant Espoleta, and a “No Vacancy” sign hangs outside letting insiders know when the single-room occupancy is full. Since opening in January 2015, the pizza menu has extended beyond margherita and fried montanera pies, but know that those are the classics. Add a few appetizers like eggplant parm and burrata, plus plenty of wine, and you have the perfect date.

 

Vic’s

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Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer (of Odeon fame) offer up Mediterranean meals for low-key hipsters (or not so low-key hipsters, like Seth Meyers). Typical trendy treats like arctic char and porchetta are on the menu, but go for the cacio e pepe (pasta smothered in black pepper and cheese) or borsa, little purses stuffed with ricotta and hazelnuts.

 

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

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Spinoff of one of NYC’s most romantic restaurants ever. Like Euro market posing as resto, comfy country-home-design-magazine interior. Total scene for lunch and brunch – where else could you get bucantini cacio e pepe or a crispy cod panini with your bloody mary. Come in evening and build your own salumi, formaggi and vino nirvana.