Alexis Wolfe’s Instagram, @nycdatenite, is an impressive photographic encyclopedia of the city’s culinary offerings, offering details on her favorite dishes at her favored spots, from a mouth-watering chocolate cake at Blue Smoke to tacos overflowing with goodness at Rosie’s.
With almost 40,000 followers, Wolfe has become a light in the darkness that can be the New York City dating scene, so we asked her for some advice for those in the dating weeds this Valentine’s Day.
"If your relationship is relatively new, I wouldn’t do something over the top romantic," said the Chelsea resident. "I would look for a restaurant that is candlelit but also lively and doesn’t force you into a set ‘Valentines menu.’ I would also try to find a place with an intimate bar/speakeasy close by for pre- or post-dinner drinks."
Wolfe says she goes out almost every night either on dates or with friends, so she’s come across some fun places, including these great watering holes: Death and Company (433 E. Sixth St.), Mulberry Project (149 Mulberry St.), The Bar at the Clocktower in the Edition Hotel (5 Madison Ave.), The Standard East (25 Cooper Sq.) and Dante (79-81 Macdougal St.).
"New York City has seemingly never-ending choices of culturally diverse restaurants, places to explore and new people to meet," she said. "The same things that make it the best place to date are, ironically, what can make it the worst. With endless choices, it can feel as though there are endless opportunities – making it almost impossible to appreciate anyone or anything."
For those going on a first date, her advice is to keep it simple.
"A good first date should be a mix of casual and nice — not a dive bar but also not a fancy restaurant," she said. "My ideal place has good drinks, dim lighting, comfortable seating and background music soft enough where you have a normal conversation. I also appreciate a spot with some small plates, just in case the date is going well and you want to order some food."
Fitting that bill, she recommends Bar Primi (325 Bowery), Empellon Taqueria (230 W. Fourth St., multiple locations), Bond Street (6 Bond St.), Uva (1486 Second Ave.) and Boqueria (53 W. 19th St., multiple locations).
If you’re looking for something to do outside of dinner or drinks, she suggests heading to SPiN to get competitive over ping-pong and drinks, hitting up a concert and/or go bowling at the Brooklyn Bowl, taking a walk or having a picnic in Central Park (if the weather is nice), walking along the Highline or trying a free comedy show in Greenwich Village.
Wherever you go, don’t take your date too seriously, Wolfe says.
"Instead of going on each date with the pressure of finding ‘the one,’ think of it as an opportunity to meet a new person, try a new place, and hopefully form a new connection — romantic or otherwise," she said.
For more dating advice and NYC picks, visit her Instagram page.