The warm weather means it’s the season for daytime activities or flirtatious nights around New York City. Whether you’re with a spring fling or the love of your life, take your date to one of these restaurants, bars or fun activities to enjoy the season together. By Sarah Shaker.
Classic Picnic For Two, Perfect Picnic
Head to one of the city’s parks with a blanket in tow and leave the rest to Perfect Picnic, an LES food shop and picnic delivery service offering European-style artisanal picnics brought directly to you. Each picnic includes locally made goodies, like cured meats from Salumeria Biellese, sea salt caramels from Liddabit Sweets and Maggie’s Round raw cow’s milk cheese by Cricket Creek Farm. Delivery is available anywhere in NYC (prices vary by location) or you can pick up your picnics directly from the retail shop. Design-your-own and even proposal picnics are available upon request for the most romantic – and delicious – picnic you could have only imagined packing yourself.
Free Paella, Barraca
For a deliciously affordable week night date this summer, head to Barraca through Labor Day to enjoy a plate of free paella with the purchase of each glass of wine, house infused sangria or one of their specialty cocktails from 5pm-7pm, Monday though Friday. Beverage director Gonzalo Marín has mixed up five cocktails, including the Penedes, a Spanish Bellini of sorts with cava, peaches and lavender. Executive Chef Jesús Núñez will be preparing a variety of paella styles throughout the summer ranging from the light Paella de Mariscos with shrimp, clams, mussels, swordfish and squid to the heavier Paella de Tierra, featuring an array of rabbit, pork belly and pork ribs, string beans and fava beans.
Summer Sparks Popup Learning Festival, CourseHorse
This summer CourseHorse is hosting Summer Sparks, the city’s first completely free outdoor, pop-up learning festival. Each week, unique classes will be offered for free at Pier 63 in Hudson River Park covering topics like iPhone-photography, kimchi-making and salsa dancing. This is a great way to spend some time outside while learning something new with your date. Tickets are free, but require registration as space is limited.
Bubbles And Bites, Four Seasons Hotel New York
What’s classier than sipping champagne and enjoying small bites with your date in a iconic New York City hotel? Spend your summer Fridays at Bubbles and Bites at Four Seasons Hotel New York in The Bar for an affordable way to cheers to the weekend. Every Friday from 5p.m. – 7 p.m. through Labor Day you can enjoy complimentary nibbles with every glass of Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Champagne for $20 a glass. Nibbles will include truffle popcorn and gourgeres and will change throughout the season.
Pasta Tasting Menu, Casa Nonna
Warm weather dates aren’t just about light bites and outdoor cocktails. On a rainy summer night, head to Casa Nonna for the comfort food you crave in the form of a pasta tasting menu. Diners can choose five pastas from eleven fresh handmade varieties by Chef Julio Genao for $48, like the tender Gnocchi filled with Berkshire pork ragu, topped with a crispy pig’s ear or Tre Formaggi Mezzaluna with fennel puree, toasted hazelnuts and a touch of apple butter. For a seasonal side, make sure to order the Spring Vegetable Ragu combining fava, kale, spring onion, fiddleheads, peas and fresh garbanzos for a lighter bite with your pasta feast.
Free Kayaking, Red Hook Boaters
This Brooklyn neighborhood is still recovering after superstorm Sandy, so make a day out of it to explore and help the economy. Enjoy brunch at one of the great local restaurants then head to Valentino Jr. Pier Park for a free double kayak ride with Red Hook Boaters, a volunteer organization. Paddle around the cove with your date to enjoy views of Lady Liberty before sipping on a drink at a nearby watering hole to continue your summer date cool down.
Timeout Tuesdays, DBar at Donatella
This one’s just for the girls: Make a date with your girlfriends to de-stress. Grab your gang this summer and head to DBar at Donatella in Chelsea for grown-up girls’ night with specialty cocktails, like the signature “Timeout Cocktail.” The event takes place every Tuesday from 6 p.m.- 9 p.m. and is hosted by the restaurant’s celeb chef, Donatella Arpaia.
Sarah Shaker is the founder of the blog Bright Lights, My City.