Picking the right place for date-night can be tricky. From cozy places to the hottest new openings, the East Village is known for its wide variety. These four spots on our list can help you impress that foodie you have your eye on, and perhaps get that second date. 

Top photo via Elizabeth Ingram Studio. Left photo by Paulina Kajankova, right photo by Tom Maltbie.


For a fun night that includes a fresh take on Scottish food, plus fascinating mod interiors (as seen in the photo at the top of this post), take them to HiLot. This bar and lounge was opened by the team behind Joyface, which is a lively disco bar right next door. In a sea of new openings that debut 90s minimalism, HiLot is the wild child that embraces the 60s and 70s. This spring the new-ish East Village bar expanded their menu with a ten week pop-up by chef Oscar Gogan. You might know him from the Michelin star restaurant Tuome. The menu features unpretentious Scottish and British food like Chicken Liver Pate, Scotch Eggs and Beet Salad with goat cheese served in red wine vinegar. 

Photography by Paulina Kajankova.

On the phone chef Gogan told us that he wanted to highlight his heritage, but is not trying to reinvent the wheel. The mouth-watering dishes happen to fit well into HiLot’s theme and atmosphere. He pointed out that the interior, designed by Elizabeth Ingram, features Scottish plaid patterns and colors. A date here will guarantee you an interesting conversation discussing the groovy interiors, sparkly cocktails, and of course, the delicious menu. For extra pizazz try a cocktail infused with a smoky flavor. 

HiLot, 102 Loisaida Ave (betw 6th/7th St) 


If you and your date feel playful, mix it up at Nudibranch. This intimate but airy restaurant offers a pleasant atmosphere and fascinating menu. Eating here will be an amusing experience. A gastronome will notice and appreciate items like frog legs and mushrooms with shaoxing and egg yolk. Choose from a 3 course pre-fixe menu or share a few items by going a la carte. The clean Scandinavian interior style will allow for no distractions, just an excellent flow of conversation. 

Photography by Ellen Swandiak.

Nudibranch is the perfect place to discuss the countries you visited. The owners are all seasoned veterans of the industry who tested the place with a pop-up first. The menu might be described as Korean and Spanish, but it is always a surprise and a mix of various cuisines. When it comes to deciding on the menu there are no rules here, it is all an adventure. The staff is extremely knowledgeable; they make it easy by recommending just the right drink to pair with your meal. 

Nudibranch, 125 1st Ave (betw 8th St/St Marks Pl)

Photography by Mario Becker. To the left is Sother Teague, Otherthrow Hospitality’s beverage director.


The vegan hospitality group, Overthrow Hospitality, already offers an excellent East Village selection of places for date night, but now they added &Beer. Do not let the word beer deter you, this is anything but a dive. The “and” in the name indicates that you can expect this to be a rotating pop-up of various specialties. For the next three months &Beer serves mushroom dishes only. In fact, this is mushroom lovers heaven. The chef at the helm, Juan Parajito, makes mushrooms look elegant and ensures no dish tastes alike. 

Photography by Mario Becker.

The cozy laid-back interior provides bar seating only. This provides you with the perfect backdrop for a no pressure conversation. The focus here is on the food and careful selection of both wine and beer. Order a few dishes to share. We recommend crimini in tomato cream sauce, hen of the woods, and the oyster served with ponzu hot sauce. Beer lovers will be happy to find that this place has a rare, new and usual selection curated by next door’s trendy bar Proletariat. 

&Beer, 21 E 7th St (betw 2nd/3rd), West Entrance

Photography via ruffiannyc.com.


When it comes to dating, picking a wine bar is a no brainer, but Ruffian elevates the experience with an inspired menu. The intimate East Village space continues to receive accolades from industry experts. This culinary destination focuses on natural wines and veggie dishes. First, make sure your date loves both of these things, and then start reserving. Ruffian gets booked up well in advance. 

For a small place Ruffian’s menu offers a wide selection of wines and both à la carte and tasting menus. We even found a wine here from Slovakia. For food, try the spinach dumplings, smoked carrot tartare or sunflower seed risotto. You really cannot go wrong, the plating is beautiful and the food is anything but bland. Pick a spot by the window or in their outdoor dining area. A date at Ruffian might get you compliments on your good taste in bars, and the menu is something you will be talking about for many more dates to come. 

Ruffian, 125 E 7th St (betw 1st Ave/Ave A)