You don’t need to spend nearly $4 on a single grilled oyster, $20 on dry, crumbly boudin, or go out of your way to have dinner at Canary Club, a multi-floor Cajun spot on the LES. But you should make a reservation for the live music lounge downstairs, which has performances Tuesday through Saturday from 9pm until 4am. The red fabric booths, large format cocktails, and live jazz make it feel like a speakeasy in New Orleans, and it’s a great place to hang out with a first date or significant other.
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32 great options when you want to listen to live music without buying a ticket.
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Blue Ribbon Kanpai Garden
Located on the roof patio at the Thompson Hotel on the Lower East Side, hit Blue Ribbon Kanpai Garden with a group for beer slushies and ping pong.
This Thai vendor in Essex Market specializes in Hainan chicken rice and crispy fried chicken bánh mì.
Heros & Villians
Essex Market is full of tremendous sandwiches, but find some of the best at Heros & Villians.
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If you need a big, normal bar in the Garment District where you can eat a burger or some salmon, try Juniper.
The Grill is the revamp of the legendary Four Seasons restaurant, run by the people behind Carbone. It’s very similar, very expensive, and worth it.
Everything at Kingside is overpriced and underwhelming. Spare yourself and only go if you feel like checking out the beehive of glammed-up female and single rich dude activity.
Suggested by our writers
Little Branch is an underground speakeasy in the West Village with occasional live music and good date-night vibes.
Bar Belly is a cocktail and oyster bar on the Lower East Side that’s an ideal first date spot.
If you absolutely want to go drink at a speakeasy, Attaboy (on the Lower East Side) is one of the best options.
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