6 Great Date Night Bars in New York City

These select bars all over Manhattan make cozy nests for Valentine’s Day, or any night you are in the mood for love and cocktails.

In this month of lovers (Valentine's Day, Feb. 14), and in this city, long walks on the beach are not what you’re going to choose for a Hallmark moment. But cold winter nights are ideal for lingering over martinis in a cushy, atmospheric spot with your sweetheart. We picked a couple of places that will set the mood with seductive lighting, fancy cocktails and shareable treats. 

The Library Bar
Think a library can’t be sexy? Think again. The Library Bar at the Hudson New York lures couples with a parlorlike ambience and plenty of discreet nooks. Grab a drink (the bar’s namesake cocktail, made with Woodford Reserve, walnut liqueur and angostura bitters, is spectacular), then find a space that will set the tone for your date. Will it be intimate conversation near the fireplace? A friendly game of pool at the purple felt table? Or perusing Assouline art books on an English leather sofa? Or, heck, just find a spot anywhere and stare into each other’s eyes. 

The Smile
If your idea of romance is a night in a country cabin, get yourself to The Smile. The subterranean bar and restaurant, with brick walls, rustic decor and mini-bouquets of wildflowers on wooden tables, exudes just that comfy village vibe. If you can, sit at the cozy table tucked under the window in the front, or bar seats that flank the stairs leading to the private dining area, and dig into plates of marinated goat cheese and steamed mussels. The decidedly unfussy bar menu, with classic cocktails, popular beers and a thoughtful selection of reds and whites by the glass, makes drink decisions a breeze, allowing you to devote more attention to the one you’re with. 

Spyglass Rooftop Bar
Enamored of New York’s twinkling, towering skyscrapers? Take it all in at Spyglass Rooftop Bar, on the 22nd floor of the Archer Hotel. The Empire State Building dominates the view beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows, putting on a display of Art Deco splendor worthy of a city postcard. Add in creative cocktails (like Spice Me Twice: rum, cardamom, citrus and egg white) and glamorous marble bar (with royal purple stools), and you’ve got the makings of a date spot that would even impress Jay Gatsby.

Bemelmans Bar

Bemelmans Bar
Have a thirst for the glitzy world of Old New York? Nowhere can you get a better swig of it than at Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle. Uniformed waiters deliver strong cocktails, and nightly live jazz keeps the mood bright. The 24-karat gold leaf ceilings and supple leather banquettes stand in stark contrast to the main attraction: colorful, whimsical murals of animals and Central Park-inspired scenes by “Madeline” children’s book creator, Ludwig Bemelmans. 

Dante
This West Village bar and restaurant seems persistently lively, yet rarely overcrowded. It boasts Instragram-worthy design aesthetics, including vintage signage, checkered floors and whitewashed brick walls. And Dante’s really knows how to pour that romantic Italian drink, the Negroni. Bartenders mix nearly a dozen versions of the red-hued aperitif, and even offer it on tap. Savor a few of these, and you and your date might book a trip to Florence before you even leave the bar.

The Campbell Bar
It’s pretty hard not to feel smitten by a building as stunning as Grand Central Terminal. Try experiencing it from The Campbell, the transportation hub’s swanky lounge. Let your mood dictate where you sit: The main bar is glorious, with a vintage feel, while the Campbell Palm Court’s palm trees create an alluring ambience for couples. Then, sample the bar’s classic cocktails—three versions of Old Fashioneds, Mules and Negronis, among other favorites. They’ll make a walk under the train station’s starry ceiling even more romantic at the end of the night.