Linda Vongkhamchanh / NBC
A view of Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Kinfolk Studios, left; Wythe Hotel, right).
People either love Williamsburg or they hate it. In this rapidly developing artistic and eclectic neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn where real estate continues to skyrocket as luxury lofts pop up, hipsters abound, and the original ethnic enclaves dwindle, it's easy to see why there are such contrasting viewpoints on the neighborhood that was once mostly inhabited by immigrants and Hasidic Jews. Now, having a glass-half-full outlook, with gentrification comes new sub-cultures and establishments that bring people (even Manhattanites) to an area rich in history, art, music and culture. And that, my friends, it turns out, is a pretty nice formula for a date! Take Wythe Avenue, for instance, it's got it all.
So, gentleman, hipsters or not, while Manhattan has a lot to offer (it can almost be overwhelming), I'm giving you this fail-proof guide to the perfect date… in a one-block radius.
Sunset Drinks on the Sixth floor of Wythe Hotel
The Wythe Hotel, located on 80 Wythe Avenue, is a cozy spot to grab pre-dinner drinks as the afternoon sun sets on a breathtaking view of Manhattan (The cliched description used is pretty accurate--here's proof). The new hotel opened this summer in a historic industrial building by the water in this non-hotel-scene 'hood. The view itself and some people watching will at least give you something to talk about at first--why not let Manhattan be your wingman.
Dinner Downstairs at Reynards or Down the Street at MyMoon
When it's time for dinner, saunter downstairs to Reynards, the restaurant in the lobby of the Wythe Hotel. Reynards is a the newest addition to Andrew Tarlow's culinary resume, as the owner of Williamsburg favorites Diner and Marlow & Sons. A slight diversion from the typical Williamsburg food scene, this brasserie's American Noveau menu lists dishes made of ingredients handpicked by the chef himself, fishes brought in by their fishmonger, meats cut by their in-house butcher, and desserts made with chocolates from the Mast Brothers, a couple well-known locals, which makes it very Williamsburg-y.
What the hell is "American Nouveau"? If you're thinking that, maybe MyMoon (184 N. 10th St.), a Mediterranean tapas spot around the corner, is more your speed with basic fare that you can share. The spacious dimly lit restaurant has a huge outdoor deck with both cabana-style booth seating and regular garden seating. Flowers in mason jars hanging from the garden lights set the mood. However, I must admit, the food alone should not be the reason to go--the romantic ambience makes up for it.
Post-Dinner Cocktails at Kinfolk Studios
If you've gotten this far, the night is going well, buddy! High five to you and treat yourself, and your date, to a cocktail at Kinfolk Studios (90 Wythe Ave.), a bar and restaurant, art and music venue, creative space, all in one. This hybrid destination is a cool hangout spot with extraordinary cocktails made by (quite good looking) mixology bartender types who are both attentive and friendly. Try the cucumber mint margarita.
Late-Night Music at Brooklyn Bowl
Still want to continue the night? Pop in (or uh, stumble over) to Brooklyn Bowl for some late-night music and/or bowling. Brooklyn Bowl posts their live music schedule weeks in advance, so if you're feeling pretty confident that the date will get to this point, buy your tickets in advance and plan your outing on the same night a rocking band is playing. Feeling peckish? Blue Ribbon bar snacks and Brooklyn Brewery brews are your options here. You really can't go wrong with that.
Finally, if you really don't want to leave that one amazing block, and you're ready for another date, but your wallet isn't... try a picnic at the East River State Park. Wine and cheese with Manhattan as your backdrop--she will love it. She won't even notice if you're broke. Win!