In a city filled with things to do for date night, it’s a shame we revert back to that “go-to” sushi place in the East Village, convincing yourself once again that your date’s red and puffy face is just her way of “being funny” and not actually a severe allergic reaction. Show your date you actually have balls and half a brain by mixing it up with a speakeasy. Taking her to a speakeasy will create the illusion that you have class, a creative side, and solid decision-making skills, even if that’s not the case.
Speakeasies were awesome in the ‘20’s, and, once again, they’re awesome now. Especially in NYC, these unique establishments are quickly gaining traction and rising in popularity as the new “fun thing to do” for date night. It doesn’t take much to see why they’re becoming wildly popular, either. If you go to a proper speakeasy (don’t worry we’ll tell you which ones they are), just getting inside can seem like an experience within itself. Whether its dialing in a number on a phone booth or walking in through a boarded up facade, rest assured that simply opening a door and handing the bouncer your ID won’t be a scenario you should expect to encounter. Although each speakeasy on our list has its own personality and flair, they all share one common theme- they’re a beacon to a refreshingly creative, and awesome time for your next date. With that being said, let’s get this started.
1. Death+Company 433 E. 6th Street, New York, NY, 10009
There are some speakeasies in the City, where walking right in without a reservation is perfectly acceptable. Death + Company, better known as Death Plus Co , is not one of those cases. If you make the mistake of not making a reservation, expect a 35-40 minute wait. Though a long wait may indicate a room full of people (and there are), the setup of this speakeasy makes it feel as though it’s just you and your date in the room. I can’t say exactly why this establishment went with deciding to include “Death” in their name, but my guess is that it has something to do with the name of one of the best drinks this place has to offer, “Devil Inside.” It’s a mix of bourbon, absinthe, and a few other unique ingredients. Get enough of these bad boys in you, and hey, you probably will die. Go for the Lobster brioche rolls for some delicious grub, and you my friend, will have an awesome date on your hands. This place is best suited for a romantic or intimate date.
Tip: If you haven’t made a reservation for this place, you’ll be asked to put your name down and the hostess will probably tell you there’s an hour wait. Instead of walking to another bar until they call you like other novices, just wait there, and they’ll call you within 10-15 minutes.
2. Please Don’t Tell 113 St. Marks Pl, New York, NY, 10009
Please Don’t Tell, better known as PDT to the regulars, is probably your most quintessential speakeasy on this list. This is the one place where not making a reservation will be almost impossible to get around (unless you come between 5pm-6pm during the week). So make a reservation! To enter, dial the number one on their payphone. Though a clever way to enter, it’s still pretty obvious that the payphone serves as the entrance to PDT. This place will offer you one of the best cocktail experiences of your life. As your bartender gets to know you, he may suggest something to you off the menu. By combining two of my favorite things into one of the greatest drinks that is the Bacon-infused Bourbon cocktail ( yea, exactly), PDT now has me on an eternal leash. If you’re hungry while on your date, go for their hot dogs. Yup, hot dogs. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty….awesome.
3. Milk and Honey 134 Eldridge St, New York, NY, 10002
If you’ve never been to a speakeasy before, then we suggest Milk and Honey as the one to take your speakeasy virginity. This will give you the real deal and you’ll get what being at a speakeasy is all about. Sadly, they closed the location listed above just before New Years. But not to worry, because there’s a new location coming soon to the Flatiron area. There used to be a secret email that wasn’t publically listed that you would need in order to secure a reservation, but we’re sure the same abstract rules will apply to their new location. What makes M+H stand out among the rest in this list, is that it’s dark. For real. It’s pretty dark in here. Though that might put you off a bit, keep in mind that you’re here for an experience that neither you nor your date will soon forget. If you’re lucky enough to get inside, a future with more dates with this girl awaits. What also stands out is the the fact that there’s no menu. A server will just come up to your table and ask you what you’d like. Sure, you can say “I’ll have a martini,” but it’s better in this case to just be vague. Tell them some of the top ingredients you’d like in your drink, and let them take care of the rest. In the end, you’ll end up enjoying something you didn’t even realize could ever taste so delicious.
Tip: Bring enough cash, as they don’t accept credit cards
UPDATE: As of 1/24/12, the new location of Milk and Honey is now officially open and is located at 30 E 23d St, New York, NY, 10010. You can book a reservation through their new email, email@example.com or MilkandHoneyreservations@gmail.com
4. Fig 19 131 ½ Chrystie St, New York, NY, 10002
Located right next to Home Sweet Home, this place is still under the radar as far as speakeasies go, so we suggest coming here while it still retains that vibe. It’s still a relatively easy place to get into, so your experience with your date will be that much better. Keep in mind, this place could be very hard to miss, with no clear indication of where it is. Just a single, plain black door. Once inside, you’ll see that this place is all about class, class, class. Though also dimly lit, Fig 19 is one of the better, tastefully decorated speakeasies as far as the ambiance goes. Not to mention, one sweet hanging chandelier. Though fairly new, this is absolutely a true speakeasy in every sense of the word. In fact it’s such an awesome place, that we kind of even debated revealing it in this post (so let’s keep it between us, OK?). Don’t order your typical drink from one of the bartenders, or mixologists, as they preferred to be called (and rightfully so). These people are mad scientists and absolute nut jobs. Let them do what they do best, and prepare to be amazed. Keep in mind that they don’t serve food, so come here after a romantic dinner (may we suggest Freemans for this occasion). Your date will look at you in a whole new way.
5. Angel’s Share Stuyvesant St, New York, NY, 10003
Just like back in the ‘20’s, this place doesn’t have a website. Clearly, that didn’t stop Angel’s Share from making it to our top and favorite speakeasy on this list. Located in the same restaurant as Village Yokocho, enter through the same entrance, go up the stairs and to the left, enter through a wooden door, and you’ve just entered what is quite possibly the best speakeasy Manhattan has to offer. This place is only good for dates, and romantic ones at that. So don’t bring a best friend, unless you want people to get the wrong idea. For the best romantic experience with your date, try to get a reservation in the backroom, which will offer you and your date an entirely unique experience on its own. Very quiet, cozy, and romantic. Choose from a long list of painstakingly crafted cocktails. Going with the Japanese whiskey is always a great choice, but never leave without trying “Evidence,” a tasty gin cocktail infused with lemon. A Japanese speakeasy, which we didn’t even realize existed, just goes to show you that electronics and sake bombs aren’t the only things those guys are known for.
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