New York

The Best Secret Date Spots in NYC

Courtesy of TENTRR
Courtesy of TENTRR
Courtesy of TENTRR

You’ve already been to the least-secret date spots in the city. Skating at Rockefeller Center, dinner at a Shake Shack or four, some sort of $300 Knicks-related outing that you’d rather forget. While it’s comforting to gravitate toward the familiar, ask yourself whether the first impression you want to make on your Tinder match is to propose a cutting-edge jaunt to jam-packed Chelsea Market. Great spot, yes. But why not hew a little more… mysterious?

We’re going to let you in on this secret: There’s something sexy about being in on a secret. When you’re looking to really impress a person and make some memories, check out one of these under-the-radar date spots in New York City that offer much more than a prix fixe menu and wine-paired buzz.

Courtesy of Le Boudoir
Courtesy of Le Boudoir
Courtesy of Le Boudoir

Le Boudoir

135 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
Push open the bookcase-obscured hidden door at French bistro Chez Moi and descend the stairs into a sexy underground cocktail bar with Versailles-style allure. The cavernous Le Boudoir, designed in the vein of Marie Antoinette’s chambers, is located below the restaurant and remains one of Brooklyn Heights’ sultry semi-secrets. Cozy up with your date in a red velvet booth and sip goblets of craft cocktails, like the French 75, Intruder, or Duchesse (all created by Dead Rabbit alum Franky Marshall). Live music ups the ambiance on Mondays.

Courtesy of Tentrr
Courtesy of Tentrr
Courtesy of Tentrr

TENTRR at Arlo SoHo

231 Hudson Street
Ready for something in tents? The boutique hotel has pitched five large camps — three in the courtyard, two on the roof — that are mini woodland wonderlands open all winter for (funny) business. Each one is decorated and equipped with picnic tables, fake fireplaces, and shot skis. Avoid the tent with the queen-size bed unless your date messaged you first on Tinder with “u up?” The hot toddies and good conversation in Adirondack chairs are sure to please.

Flickr/NYS DEC
Flickr/NYS DEC
Flickr/NYS DEC

Mount Loretto Unique Area

20 Kenny Road, Staten Island
If your date into long walks on the beach, head to Staten Island for exactly that, minus the Coney Island throngs. This secluded nature preserve boasts three hiking trails, each of which lead you to a mile of coastline, lush grasslands, and freshwater wetlands — all within city limits. It’s also a great spot for bird watching, if you both dig that sort of thing (in which case, congrats on finding each other!) Just don’t forget to check each other for ticks later (wink, wink).

Mulberry Project
Mulberry Project
Mulberry Project

Mulberry Project

149 Mulberry Street
Follow a red light downstairs for an urban-cool date at this gastropub/speakeasy that’s all about taking chances, where a mixologist will concoct one-of-a-kind libations suited to your tastes. During warmer months, head out to the mural-lined patio to sip and chat about your (hopefully) mutual interests. If it turns out you have opposing political views, at least the truffle fries and house-made donuts are reasonably priced (and damn delicious).

Flickr/Brian Godfrey
Flickr/Brian Godfrey
Flickr/Brian Godfrey

High Bridge

In Manhattan: West 172 Street and Amsterdam Avenue
In the Bronx: University Avenue and 170th Street

The High Line? Been there, done that, seen the tourists. The deeper-cut urban walk is the scenic stroll from the Bronx to Washington Heights across NYC’s oldest standing bridge. The historic High Bridge was originally built as part of the Croton Aqueduct in 1848; it closed for 40 years and re-opened in 2015 as a picturesque pedestrian walkway offering a unique viewpoint of the city from 140 feet above the Harlem River. Find the entrance nestled in Highbridge Park and look for the High Bridge Tower straight up ahead.

Felix Lipov/Shutterstock.com
Felix Lipov/Shutterstock.com
Felix Lipov/Shutterstock.com

Old City Hall subway station

The downtown 6 train from Brooklyn Bridge
While the word “subway” evokes such romantic images as pizza rats and mystery puddles, the 6 train offers a beautifully nostalgic ride through history. The abandoned City Hall subway station hasn’t been in service since 1945, yet it’s remained an unspoiled treasure throughout the years with its grandiose skylights, vaulted tiled ceilings, and brass chandeliers. The New York Transit Museum offers tours of the station, but you both must be members ($75 for a yearly dual membership) and pay an additional $50 for the tour; plan ahead because tickets sell out quickly. If you’re a couple who live life on the edge, hop the downtown 6 and discreetly remain on the train at the Brooklyn Bridge final stop; the train loops back uptown via the secret station.

21 Club
21 Club
21 Club

Wine Cellar

21 West 52nd Street
If you’re really looking to woo (and have some cash to burn), treat your date to an unsurpassably intimate dining experience in 21 Club’s Wine Cellar. This expertly restored speakeasy turned upscale dining room takes “secret” to a whole new level, as its brick-wall door was designed to be invisible (that’s how it survived numerous raids in the Prohibition era). Indulge in delectable American cuisine paired with award-winning wines, then cap the night off with a lead tour of the actual cellar, where some of Richard Nixon’s wines are still aging.

Chemistry NYC

A changing location in the city
If you and your companion are feeling uninhibited, why not retreat to Brooklyn for some sexploration? Chemistry NYC is a sex party for the free-spirited (but still organized; singles and couples alike must apply online and answer a questionnaire in order to attend). Monthly events are held in tasteful spaces where you can meet new friends to “play with”… or not. If getting naked and frisky on the dance floor is all you’re after, then go for it — this is your date night, after all.

Flickr/Jan Mark Holzer
Flickr/Jan Mark Holzer
Flickr/Jan Mark Holzer

PDT (Please Don’t Tell)

113 St. Marks Place
Serving up Old Fashioneds alongside deep-fried franks, this covert cocktail lounge is the perfect balance of high- and lowbrow. PDT is hidden within the East Village hot dog joint Crif Dogs; enter through a vintage phone booth and emerge into a snug speakeasy with low lighting and taxidermied decor. While the bar maintains the pretense of exclusivity, many New Yorkers are now in-the-know; make a reservation so you can get a seat and eat your bacon-wrapped dogs at the bar.

Page Light Studios/Shutterstock.com
Page Light Studios/Shutterstock.com
Page Light Studios/Shutterstock.com

“Love notes” in Central Park

Throughout the park
Take a stroll around Central Park and look a little closer — you’ll both fall in love with New York City (and each other) all over again. Many don’t notice this, but 4,500 of the 9,000 benches in the park have been adopted and engraved with words of love — marriage proposals, anniversary milestones, amorous professions of adoration, the works. As we continue to live and date in the age of swiping (mostly) left, a self-guided romantic scavenger hunt could be your reminder that every New Yorker has a story, and that love still exists in this great city.Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.

Brooke Sager is a contributing writer for Thrillist who had her first date in Central Park and now kind of wants her own bench. Follow her adventures on Twitter @HIHEELZbrooke and on Instagram @insta_grammar.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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