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Posted: Jul 09, 2019
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By: Sarah Saxty

Midtown West: Top 10 Date Night Picks

That dirty little word, Midtown—an area that really has an undeserved bad wrap. Sure, Times Square isn’t exactly top of mind when considering your next date night, but Midtown West is made up of many more other, smaller, less blinding, tourist-filled neighborhoods, all with their own character and appeal. Some great restaurants line 9th and 10th Avenues in the once-seedy, now gentrified (in the very best way) Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. Across town, there are icons like Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center as well as Bryant Park, with its free ice-skating rink in the winter and free classic-film screenings in the summer. Don’t hate them, join them—it’s time for a Staycation! Here are our favorite spots to get down in Midtown.

01

The Polynesian

400 West 42nd Street, Manhattan

01

A touch of Tiki in NYC at The Polynesian. Midtown might not be the area to traditionally conjure up vacation vibes, but after you step into the Polynesian, housed inside the Pod Hotel, with a wraparound rooftop terrace, you’ll change your mind. Tasteful island-glam, turquoise tones, toucans, palm trees, and most importantly incredibly delicious cocktails served in OTT cups with flames and all the juicy flavors you expect from tiki. A great spot to stop for a pre-drink, or many drinks, and bites. Vida Vacation.


02

Boqueria

260 West 40th Street, Manhattan

Boqueria

Viva Barcelona! There’s something about tapas on date night, it just feels so much more fun when you can order a bunch of things that fill the table, and sip on sangria or vino verdhe and listen to the lively buzz of Spain, uh hum, Midtown. Boqueria, an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant serves up all the expected tasty delights like it’s other Manhattan locations, but, with its own six-spit rotisserie for chicken and whole suckling pig—exclusive to the 40th St location. This space was designed by Architect Alireza Razavi and he nailed it—pale wooden frames create a striking perspective from every angle. Marble counters, sleek wooden furniture, and cushy banquettes add to the sumptuousness. There is an outdoor patio and 24-seats that run the length of the open kitchen, our favorite seat in the house.

03

Sam Won Garden

37 West 32nd Street, Manhattan

Sam Won Garden

37 West 32nd Street, Manhattan

One of the oldest, and largest (luxury) BBQ restaurants in Korea, Sam Won Garden is a win in Midtown. It’s big, it’s fancy and it’s a sleek operation. The ground floor is the one you’ll be interested in (the other 2 are for private parties and large groups), Executive chef Kwak Young Ho stays true to the authentic KBBQ experience with various meats on offer, some dry-aged, all originating from an Arizona cattle farm, and especially for the US, has added items like bacon mung bean pancakes, kimchi cheese fries, and tuna poke. The drinks list leans heavily on New World wine and beer on tap. It’s essentially, modern millennial Korean BBQ. And we like it, a lot.

04

Pepper Lunch

243 West 54th Street, Manhattan

04

This is a great option if you’ve booked a show, and are craving some steak. Pepper Lunch is a fast-casual, Japanese style steak restaurant. Cook your selected meats to your preferred temperature on a personal-sized iron platter heated to a balmy 500 degrees. The menu includes steaks like an Angus sirloin, plus the restaurant’s signature “pepper rice,” a vegetable and rice dish mixed with beef, eel, or salmon. The feel is casual too, exposed brick kind of pub vibes. A solid start to what will surely be a solid night.


05

Top of the Rock

30 Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan

Top of the Rock

For those that have lived in the city for a while, you might roll your eyes at this one—considering it an experience reserved for “tourists” but—we dare you to revisit it—during sunset. The view from the Top of the Rock still hails as our Number 1 rooftop and when you hit that 50th floor, at the moment the golden sky turns that bright shade of fluorescent pink on a hot summer’s night, and begins to cool 15 or so degrees, you could really think of nothing quite as magical. Tourist phobia? We get it—Grab a couple of happy hour drinks nearby to ease the nerves. Right?

06

Radio City Music Hall

260 6th Avenue, Manhattan

Radio City Music Hall

260 6th Avenue, Manhattan

When it comes to seeing a show, it doesn’t get much better than Radio City Music Hall, a spectacular venue of unmatched history and character. Hosting musical and comedy acts from around the globe, you’ll find modern and iconic artists ranging from Lionel Ritchie to Lenny Kravitz, plus, perhaps one of the most popular acts during the Holiday season, The Rockettes. Be sure to make dinner plans before or after—the concession stands only offer light snacks, but never fear—there is a full bar so you won’t go thirsty.

07

Birdland

315 West 44th Street, Manhattan

07

Easily one of our favorite places to catch some jazz in NYC, the original Birdland opened in 1949 with Charlie Parker as its headline and continues to play host to some of the best jazz on the planet, including memorable sets by musicians like Diana Krall and Kurt Elling. The venue is also home to popular musical events like the Umbria Jazz Festival and the Annual Django Reinhardt NY Festival. The club has established itself as an essential part of New York jazz history. It’s everything you imagine a jazz bar to be, moody lighting, romantic tables facing a slightly elevated stage and friendly mixologists behind the bar, mixing up a mean (and strong) martini.

08

Bowlmor Lanes

222 West 44th Street, Manhattan

Bowlmor Lanes

For those seeking a bit of an activity date—let’s go bowling! Bowlmor is a fancy, newer style complex, boasting six alleys spread across two floors, each designed in a New York theme: Central Park, Coney Island, Chinatown, Times Square, Art Deco, Prohibition, and, curiously, Pop Art. It also features two bars, an arcade, billiards and classic lane-side snacks like nachos, French fries, and chicken wings. Once you knock the I’m in Times Square chip off your shoulder, this is a place where you’ll have the best time bowling in Manhattan.


09

Ardesia

510 West 52nd Street, Manhattan

Ardesia

510 West 52nd Street, Manhattan

Ardesia is the type of place you go “for a drink” but the wine is so good, you inevitably end up a couple of bottles deep and end up sticking around for a bite too. Lucky, the food options to soak up the wine, are good, think cod cakes and housemade pretzels. A gorgeously modern space, with somewhat of a Scandinavian feel, and floor to ceiling glass-encased wine vault, Ardesia also has out outside patio for the warmer months. During Happy Hour, 4 - 7 PM Mon - Fri, get $2 off all by the glass wines and keep an eye out for their wine events where you’ll get to sample a variety of wines, usually focussed on a specific region, paired with complementing foods.

10

Bar Centrale

324 West 46th Street, Manhattan

10

If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be someone that lives in a Brownstone and be sipping on a martini in your said Brownstone living room - Bar Centrale is your opportunity find out. This bar occupies one of the brownstones on the streets of the West 40s, the entry is an unmarked flight of stairs between two restaurants, the speakeasy vibe adds to the romanticism. You’re not getting a craft cocktail shaken by a hipster mixologist, but you are getting an intimate, before-and-after theater spot - Bar Centrale is a classic for cocktails and likely sightings of Broadway actors.


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