Despite being known as a minefield of career-obsessed, commitment-fearing singles, New York is, in fact, a town for lovers. Whether you’re happily cuffed or still looking for that special someone, there’s something universally magical about sidling up to a candlelit bar for a drink with someone you fancy. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s our guide to the most romantic bars in New York City.
If fancy is your game, look no further than the in-house bar at the Baccarat Hotel. The French crystal house is the epitome of elegance, and the hospitality at their hotel is likewise nothing short of luxurious. The crimson-hued, Versailles-inspired space sets the stage for fantastic house concoctions—like the standout Dame de Coeur, which stirs Dalmore 12-year, Cappelletti, and sweet vermouth—poured in glasses made from that signature Baccarat crystal. 28 W. 53rd St., Floor 2, 212-790-8867
This West Village hideaway is known for classic, Prohibition-style cocktails as well as live jazz fitting of that bygone era. Sidle into a booth and see what you can learn about your date based on their drink order. Refreshing or spirits-forward? Tequila or whiskey? If you’re uptown, Little Branch’s sister bar, Middle Branch, serves similar cocktails (and vibes) up in Murray Hill (disclaimer: the writer has tended bar here). 22 7th Ave. S., 212-929-4360
Travel through time with your S.O. at this chic watering hole where each of the three rooms is decked out in a different decade-inspired trimmings. Inspired by Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, the bar starts in the mid-century, art-deco-fitted JFK room before heading to the Gatsby-esque F. Scott Fitzgerald room adorned with crystal-bead drapes and mirrored tables. Last, and possibly best, is the opulent, rococo-style Marie Antoinette lounge. Depending on where you’re celebrating the night, Dear Irving’s sister bars—Raines Law Room in Flatiron and The Bennett in TriBeCa—are also excellent date-ready spots. 55 Irving Pl.
Cozy vintage-fitted rooms, old-school cocktails, and a beautiful marble bar make this the perfect spot for a refined Valentine’s Day date. The speakeasy-inspired Williamsburg joint also offers an excellent selection of pair-ready bites—oysters, ceviche, cured meats—in case the date goes so well you decide to skip dinner. 82 Berry St., 718-387-1945
Pair fresh oysters—they’re an aphrodisiac, after all—with absinthe and pastis cocktails at this lauded New Orleans-inspired bar helmed by barman Will Elliott. The food and drink are superb and the French-accented decor—something like a Parisian hotel café plopped down in NOLA’s French Quarter—will transport your Valentine’s date to another world. 298 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, 347-335-0446
Treat your special somebody to upscale decor and drinks at the cocktailing annex of chef Michael White’s temple of French and Italian Riviera cuisines, Ai Fiori. Climb the winding marble stairs from the lobby of the Langham Hotel to reach the second-floor bar, which offers drinks—like the vodka-and-sparkling wine royal blush—along with bar bites, the restaurant’s signature burger, and a late-night wine lover's special. 400 5th Ave. #2, 212-613-8660