Drinks, then dinner: Normally that’s a great date-night combo, but in Manhattan in high summer, it’s a sweaty schlep. We took the sweaty out and put the sexy back by pairing these bars with nearby restaurants — no multiple subway hops, no parking nightmares, no added cab hailing.
Arrive, drink and dine without hitting hot pavement. Center Bar opened in October on the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center and is still a hidden oasis for drinks and bar bites. Michael Lomonaco, executive chef at the Michelin-starred Porter House down the hall, oversees this sleek semi-circular bar, so nibbles are exquisite. Overlooking a leafy city skyline, the bar has a calm open-plan design that’s very relaxing. After a classic champagne cocktail or two, take the elevator down one floor to Landmarc, a modern Italian-inspired eatery. The most romantic table is the small pod, a capsule that separates from the bustle. Pastas are the thing here, but there’s grilled salmon with ratatouille, or, perfect for summer, a chopped salad of celery, cucumber, hearts of palm, tomatoes and beets. Cute desserts are bite-sized: The espresso-rich tiramisu is the perfect pick-me-up.
For a downtown vibe and a touch of romantic old Vienna, Edi & the Wolf, a tavern in the East Village from Michelin-starred chefs Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban, makes for a cozy destination. Start with drinks at its newish sister bar, The Third Man. It’s named for the 1949 Hitchcockian thriller, so forgive them for naming a lime-laced, prosecco-topped mescal cocktail after Orson Welles’ character Harry Lime.
If it’s a super-special night, book ahead at one of the newest names in the Michelin guide, Atera. Start with drinks at The Lounge at Atera, located directly beneath the restaurant (now we’re talking tip-toe distance!). The vibe at both is very now, echoing chef Matthew Lightner’s modernist ideals.
Deal for you
Meemo (735 10th Ave., 212581-0400), a Spanish-style tapas sports bar — who knew such a thing existed? — offers a 20 percent discount to customers dining before or after a Broadway show. Just present your tickets to your server.
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Why these spots?
Atera, The Lounge at Atera: This is the most quietly smoldering coupling since Bogart and Bacall. Put your lips together and blow. 77 Worth St., 212-226-1444
Center Bar: It’s all about conversation, and the only noise likely to bother is when a pianist plays — and that’s a bother how? 10 Columbus Circle, fourth floor, 212-823-9482
Edi & the Wolf: Inspired decor, including a leafy conservatory, and an old-world vibe bring out the vamp … or wolf. 102 Ave. C, 212-598-1040.
Landmarc: Sleek and sexy, yet not so financially stressful: The wine mark-up is often as low as retail. 10 Columbus Circle, third floor, 212-823-6123.
The Third Man: After a couple of Harry Limes, date night should be swinging! 116 Ave. C, 212-598-1040.