Let’s face it: Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays you love or you loathe. It’s either a chance to celebrate your epic, undying love for one another — complete with roses, candles, and Jacques Torres chocolates, of course — or it’s like having a severe case of déjà vu as you encounter slobbery, sappy, stupid couples everywhere.
But whether you’re with someone, think you’re with someone, or just plain don’t care, February 14 is a great excuse to let New York City’s bars work their magic. Take it from us, the NYC Cocktail Bar Yentes: we’re damn good matchmakers when it comes to hooking you up with a bar you’ll love.
So open your minds, your hearts, and your wallets, folks. Here are five romantic NYC bars that are perfect for Valentine’s Day.
1. Raines Law Room
There’s a reason that Raines Law Room is our favorite cocktail bar for date night in New York City, and not just because it’s named after an 1896 law meant to curb New Yorkers’ liquor consumption. Yes, we had our first ever craft cocktails at this New York City speakeasy, but everything about this place oozes sultry vibes. Come for the dim lighting and floor-to-ceiling curtains providing much needed privacy; stay for the divine cocktails and surprisingly seductive bathroom wallpaper (trust us on this).
Want to double your pleasure and double your fun? Raines Law Room has a second location at the William on East 39th Street, where they’ll be hosting a 4-course tasting menu and burlesque show for Valentine’s Day this year. Tickets can be purchased here. Get ’em while they’re hot hot hot!
Savvy cocktail connoisseurs may know Mace as the site of the annual NYC holiday pop up bar “Miracle on Ninth Street.” But did you know that Mace is just as awesome for the other 11 months of the year too?
Mace has some serious craft cocktail cred: it’s ranked in the top 50 bars in the world. Each of their cocktails is named after a different spice (think “Nutmeg” or “Fennel Pollen”). The “Pink Peppercorn” drink, for example — featuring bacon fat-washed bourbon, dark chocolate, Cynar, spicy vermouth, pink peppercorn, and pink Himalayan salt — reads like a perfect storm of aphrodisiac ingredients. Don’t say we didn’t warn you if you feel like Casanova after leaving here!
3. Barely Disfigured
If there ever were a bar that was pretty much perfectly engineered for a holiday about romance and sex, Barely Disfigured is it. Though it’s only been open since November 2017, Barely Disfigured has quickly entrenched itself as a mainstay in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighborhood.
257 Smith Street used to be a legit house of ill repute — in fact, the New York Post exposed it as a likely brothel back in December 2016. (Pause for a second: YES, really!!) In its current iteration as a sexy cocktail bar, Barely Disfigured pays tribute to the space’s sordid past with touches like a canopied bed in the lounge area and mood-setting red lights. If you ask really nicely, they just might tell you the naughty words that have been blacked out on their craft cocktail menu too.
4. Clover Club
Clover Club, a classic Brooklyn cocktail institution, opened its doors in 2008. Founded by Julie Reiner (who opened Flatiron Lounge and Pegu Club in Manhattan), this spot is perfect for first dates, 100th dates, and friend dates alike.
In addition to their killer cocktails, Clover Club has a scrumptious food menu to sop up all the drinks you’ll have consumed. Huddle close in one of their cozy tables while noshing on pulled pork mini sliders or the lamb burger with goat cheese. As for drinks, definitely try the Port of Call, which features gin, ruby port, lemon, cinnamon, aromatic bitters, and cranberry preserves. With its brightness and balance, we can’t imagine a better Valentine’s Day cocktail.
5. Le Boudoir
Inhale the smell of foie gras and escargot as you make your way through Chez Moi, the French restaurant located above Le Boudoir, a Marie Antoinette-themed speakeasy in Brooklyn Heights. Enter through the “secret” bookcase and descend into Marie Antoinette’s subterranean alcohol-fueled bedchamber.
Drink like a queen (or king) here with cocktails like the Dauphin, which consists of absinthe, chile liqueur, almond milk, coconut, and cacao nibs. Le Boudoir is even offering a $69 five-course tasting menu this Valentine’s Day (that’s a steal!).
In keeping with the theme of 18th century French opulence, the decor has a lavish feel to it, with ornate gilded mirrors and comfy red velvet seating. Rumor has it that somewhere in the joint, you can find an original engraved doorknob from Marie Antoinette’s bedroom if you look hard enough. Oh, (wo)man — now that’s a keyhole I’m not looking through!
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