Date Night ChekRecs: Lower East Side

So you want to take a guy or girl out and you don’t want to look lame? Here’s a few ideas of some great date activities that are affordable, memorable and could possibly score you a second date even if you’ve accidentally left your charm at home. There are three tiers based on price and four ideas for each to be used in any order that you please.

ChekRecs #1 ($):

  • GRUB: The Meatball Shop (84 Stanton St.)- Sure it can be a long wait but it’s casual, comfortable and no one would ever be mad about eating here. So the girl won’t eat meat? Hey, they’ve got the best salad in town (Everything but the Kitchen Sink) and make her eat the chicken balls, too.
  • ENTERTAINMENT: Well, if you think you’re going to get a table right away, you’re wrong. Good thing is The Meatball Shop will text you when your table is ready. An even better thing is you can walk around the corner and snag a seat or stand at Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen St.) where they play live music every night for free. The bands/singers are always awesome and you’ll feel enlightened.
  • BAR: Blue Ribbon Beer Garden at Thompson LES (now called Sixty LES 190 Allen St.)- Need a drink, come up here and gaze off the balcony or invite your date to challenge you in a round of Ping Pong. Get the competitive nerves flowing. They close at 10 p.m. so maybe go here before dinner.
  • DESSERT: Yeah, those Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches at The Meatball Shop are bomb, but you gotta keep moving, bro. Take her (or him) to Sugar Sweet Sunshine (126 Rivington). Share a cupcake, or better yet dive into the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding…I can’t with this one.

The Meatball Shop

ChekRecs #2 ($$):

  • GRUB: Mission Cantina (172 Orchard)- Fun decor, easy access, delicious tacos and an incredible Rotisserie Chicken for 2 that you can share.
  • ENTERTAINMENT: Arlene’s Grocery (95 Stanton) is a hot spot to discover local music and there is a little fee at the door but hey, it’s date night. Or you can mix it up on Monday and go to free karaoke at 10 p.m.
  • BARMother’s Ruin (18 Spring Street)- Everything about this place feels good. Ask for the drink with the Cholula and tequila. It’s not on the menu, but trust me you’ll win.
  • DESSERTLittle Cupcake Bakeshop (30 Prince Street)- Stroll west into Nolita and grab a couple seats at this adorable cupcake shop. The checkered floor and nonstop visitors will make your date think you know what’s up. The slices of cake are massive. Split one of these or just grab a couple cookies and cheesecakes.

Mission Cantina

ChekRecs #3 ($$$):

  • GRUB: Pearl & Ash (220 Bowery) – Here is the classier and more expensive option. Dinner is a step up. It won’t break the bank, and it’s fun to share small plates and enjoy some of the best and most absurdly long wine list. Sitting at the bar would be rad, too.
  • ENTERTAINMENT: New Museum (235 Bowery)- Check out their exhibits as the change pretty seasonally, You’re lucky if the rooftop is open (Sat. and Sun only) maybe you can get a pre-dessert smooch up here. Museum closes at 6 p.m. and is open Weds.- Sun.
  • BAR: Ludlow Hotel Lobby Bar (180 Ludlow Street)- It’s new. You probably didn’t even know it’s open for business as they are in previews right now (July). However, this food and beverage spot is run by Major Food Group (Torrisi and Carbone guys) and their specialty cocktails are concocted by the head bartender from ZZ’s Clam Bar. Make moves here.
  • DESSERT: Morgenstern’s Ice Cream (2 Rivington)- You’ve got to be kidding here. Salted Caramel Pretzel Ice Cream Sundaes? I mean this will seal the deal if I’ve ever heard anything. ***Cash only. (photo above)