Romance is thriving in NYC. Well, maybe it’s not thriving, but it’s still standing, refusing to go down like a dazed boxer waiting to be saved by the bell. And if you’re one of the people who has found or who’s currently looking for it despite everything going on right now, then we’re not about to let some winter weather discourage your efforts. That’s why we’ve put together this guide, which includes 42 places with heated outdoor patios that you should use for first, second, and 100th dates.
If you’re getting dinner with someone who’s intrigued by the fact that Crown Shy is one of the best restaurants in NYC, then the food alone at this Fidi American spot will be enough to ensure an enjoyable date. If they need more convincing, then you might consider taking someone else, or you could mention how nice their festively-decorated private yurts are on Pine Street.
We’ve become space heater experts over the last year, so we understand that just because a spot has them, you might not know how effective they are until you get a sense for things like proximity, size, and oscillation. Or, as is the case at this Greenwich Village wine bar, until you sit directly under one and shed layers like a Midwesterner getting off a flight in Miami. Make a reservation if you plan to have dinner, or walk-in if you’re just looking for snacks and French wine.
Is this a friend-date or a date-date? It’s a question neanderthals probably pondered on cave walls, and it’s one we’ll still be asking ourselves in our flourishing colony on Mars. The frustrating answer will always be the same: you’ll find out once you’re there. As such, you should prepare for all circumstances by suggesting The Smith. All four locations around Manhattan have a bunch of outdoor seating, and work for everything from a meetup when you’re not sure if it’s a coffee or wine kind of hang, to a “catch-up” dinner with an ex.
The only potential downside to scheduling a couple’s day at Bathhouse is it’s so luxurious, that it could seem like you’re trying to make up for something. Assuming that’s not a concern, then book a spa day full of massages and hammam scrubs before heading upstairs for foie gras and Champagne in the enclosed, plant-filled outdoor patio.
If the Sirens had shown Odysseus this Italian spot’s cavatelli with hot sausage rather than sing a song, we’re confident he would’ve broken free from his bindings in order to eat it. It’s one of our favorite plates of pasta in NYC, and having it on your table in the back garden at this Carroll Gardens institution guarantees an enjoyable night out.
Having to order food with drinks at bars right now can make it difficult to keep dates quick and casual. After all, it’s tough to leave after a drink when the coq au vin won’t be ready for another 30 minutes. Enter Anfora, a great West Village wine bar that’s only serving a few light snacks, like charcuterie and ricotta crostinis, that come out about as quickly as the wine.
Will eating grilled octopus, whole branzino, and lemon roasted potatoes outside make Bayside feel like the white cliffs of Milos? No, no it will not. But at least this Greek spot’s space heaters will help keep you warm.
Four Horsemen offers more than 500 natural wines, so the fact that they put just as much focus on food as they do on wine is like if Goop were just as good as Shakespeare In Love. Take advantage of both on their outdoor patio Wednesday through Sunday.
A romantic getaway to some alpine destination where you can say “chalet” unironically probably isn’t in the cards right now, but The Greens is a pretty strong substitute. Reserve a private cabin on the rooftop of Pier 17 at the Seaport during lunch or dinner, and share fondue and hot toddies while checking out your own virtual fireplace or the floor-to-ceiling views of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Also on Pier 17 at the Seaport, The Fulton has the same fantastic views as The Greens, but instead of charcuterie and truffle grilled cheese, this spot from Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves some of the best seafood in NYC.
To elicit a look of love and appreciation like you see when someone opens a gift in a jewelry commercial, you could find out where the nearest Jared is. A better plan, though, is to order the biryani at Adda in Long Island City, and watch the look on your date’s face as they breathe in the saffron-scented steam after cutting into the dome of fresh-baked dough on top.
We can tell you that a date at Bolero will include some of the best Vietnamese food in NYC, but beyond that, the ball’s in your court. You could opt for tea while sitting between bamboo trees in the backyard, or dinner could involve a shot and beer combo that comes with a boiled fertilized duck egg at a sidewalk table on Bedford.
Sitting in a yurt definitely gives you privacy, but so would having dinner in your apartment. For your own space, and the feeling that you’re at least somewhat in public, head to Lafayette. Reserve a glass-enclosed cabin on its outdoor patio, and you’ll have a prime seat for Noho people watching while you have dishes like escargots lyonnaise and beef short rib bourguignon as part of the $125 per person prix-fixe.
Does your dog really need a space heater? We’re not sure, just as we’re not sure if he really needs a place card at your Thanksgiving table. Either way, he deserves all of it. So on your next human-canine double date, go to Barking Dog on the UES. Sunnie and Rio can grab a drink at the in-ground watering hole while you and your date drink something a bit stronger at the table.
Corto has a BYOB policy, great housemade pastas, and roast chicken that’ll make you reconsider, well, roast chicken. In other words, it’s the neighborhood spot everyone should want nearby. It also has a tent-enclosed, stringlit backyard that looks primed for the happy couple to enter to a standing ovation. In other words, it’s romantic. Put those two things together, and you have your go-to date spot in Jersey City.
Bar Boulud is more casual than its UES sibling, Daniel, but that’s similar to having less ornate aesthetic sense than Louis XIV. The burger is still topped with confit pork belly, the steak-frites is made with NY strip and bordelaise, and about half the dishes on the menu include black truffle. Choose an appetizer, entree, and dessert as part of the $60 prix-fixe on this UWS spot’s heated patio.
Did you know that a movie prequel to The Sopranos is coming out in March? Now you have a good ice breaker, and if you happen to discover a mutual affinity for the silver screen, you have a logical segue for suggesting a first date at Syndicated. This Bushwick bar and restaurant, which usually shows movies in a theater in the back, is currently offering free showings on their sidewalk every day.
Do you think Rihanna’s reggae album will finally drop this year? There’s another ice breaker, and a jumping off point that could lead to a date at Public Records. Sit in the big, covered outdoor garden, and discuss the shows you’ve seen or want to see at this Gowanus music venue while snacking on kimchi fried rice and other share plates from the vegan food menu.
It starts with “let’s meet for drinks.” Then comes “should we get a little food?” And barring any comments about telepathy or pro wrestling, someone will suggest, “let’s order some dinner.” Ernesto’s, a Basque spot in Two Bridges, is an ideal spot for any or all of those phases. Start with a couple glasses of Spanish pinot noir, share some small plates like bacalao fritters, and assuming you’re still enjoying each other’s company, order the duck with quince sauce and sliced potatoes.
With trees wrapped in string lights in-between its two fully covered outdoor patio areas - which have space for reservations and walk-ins - Extra Virgin has one of the nicest outdoor dining setups in the West Village. Make use of it while enjoying fusilli in black truffle parmesan broth and mushroom-crusted chicken over sweet pea risotto.
Go on a date at Zero Otto Nove on Arthur Avenue, and in the unfortunate event that your date isn’t going well, at least you’ll be eating the best pizza in The Bronx. And if you find yourself in the far more likely situation that you’re hitting it off, the wood-fired Neapolitan pies here will only make things better.
Outdoor seats at Hotel Delmano are typically as valuable a Williamsburg commodity as roof access and a spot at the front of the L queue. But now that they’ve set up big, covered seating areas on Berry and on N 9th, you can enjoy the same people watching and phenomenal cocktails without the waits.
Some fully-enclosed outdoor patios make you question why they’re outside at all. And if you’re not comfortable with them, you’ll appreciate how Clay leaves the wall facing the sidewalk completely open. Even if three versus four-sided patio enclosures aren’t at the top of your mind, you should head to this Harlem American-Italian spot for perfectly al dente garganelli and confit duck that you’ll want to pick up like a turkey leg at Medieval Times.
The semi-secret, string-light-covered backyard at this Cobble Hill natural wine bar is a great place to share whipped ricotta and chicken liver pate with a date. It’s an especially good option if you’re with someone who’s open to a bottle of high-acid riesling from Michigan, or a chilled red blend from the Czech Republic.
You (presumably) want to focus on the person sitting across the table from you rather than checking your phone for waitlist updates or analyzing an excessively long menu. Remove some variables by going to Bar Primi, where you’re going to sit under the streetside canopy at the time of your reservation, and eat a whole lot of delicious pasta.
Not counting that time we ate a bagel next to Tony Danza on a bench in the park, the back garden at Uva is just about our favorite outdoor dining situation on the Upper East Side. Sit in what looks like a Tuscan courtyard, and eat what tastes like delicious housemade ricotta gnocchi doused in creamy black truffle sauce.
Outdoor seating two minutes from Times Square might not sound like an ideal spot for a romantic night out. But while Sushi Lab is about a block from three overly excited Buzz Lightyears, it’s also about a block up in the air. It’s on the roof of the Sanctuary Hotel, and the tables as well as seats at the chef’s counter are surrounded by hanging greenery and basket lights. They have expensive Japanese whiskeys and 15-course omakase sets, while also offering a full a la carte menu and $10 carafes of house sake.
A long natural wine list, heavy pours of the 30 options available by the glass, and daily $1 oyster Happy Hour always make The Ten Bells one of the best casual date spots in Manhattan. And its relatively secret, quiet, string-lit backyard in the busiest part of the LES makes it a particularly ideal option right now.
Whether you enjoy trying drinks made with ingredients like Arabian jasmine, absinthe foam, and bergamot bitters, or you just want an expertly-made martini, head to Sugar Monk. This Harlem cocktail bar has a tent-covered outdoor patio with heaters and blankets that’s open Thursday through Saturday.
In the hierarchy of reasons to visit Meatpacking, The High Line and backgrounds for new profile pictures are only topped by Pastis. From complimentary bread to trout amandine, this French spot serves the best food in the neighborhood.
Whether your night at Terre includes a bunch of housemade pastas, or a couple choices from the long list of cheeses and cured meats, two things should be for certain. You should sit in the greenery-filled back garden, and you should ask the friendly servers for recommendations from the 100+ natural wines available by the glass.
The plant-filled back patio at this Middle Eastern spot in Fort Greene is surrounded by brick walls and murals of people drinking wine. It’s a truly wonderful place to have dinner with someone who you like, or who you want to like you. If there are no reservations available in the back, though, know that everything from the sweet whipped ricotta to the creamy hummus with lamb shawarma is so good that you’ll be very happy on their covered patio out front as well.
The Spaniard serves fantastic cocktails and more than 100 types of whiskey. But to try them, you typically need to show up early, and push through a crowd three-deep at the bar whenever you want another round. Now, though, you can share bourbon-spiked hot apple cider and high-end bar food by making a reservation for an awning-covered outdoor table any day of the week.
From root vegetable and farro soup, to oxtail ravioli with bone marrow and brown butter, most of the dishes at this Italian spot in Clinton Hill act as another layer of defense against the cold. Others include a heated and covered patio, hot cocktails, and a bunch of different types of grappa.
Chez Nick is an American bistro in Yorkville where you can get a glass of wine and ricotta toast with someone who thinks your “two truths and a lie” are clever, or cucumber martinis and lemongrass pork steak over garlic fried rice with the only person who knows your social security number.
Don’t get us wrong, we really love chicken wings. But they’re not the first food that comes to mind when we think date night. That is, unless we’re talking about the spicy miso wings at Bar Goto on the LES. Then they sound like ideal date night food, in part because the wings at this Japanese cocktail bar are some of the best in NYC, and also because they’re served alongside phenomenal cocktails, including four warm ones on the menu right now.
Dante works for everything from weekday lunch to cocktails and cannolis after losing track of time listening to a pianist in Washington Square Park. But this Italian cafe in Greenwich Village is tailor-made for casual dates, when you should share a few small plates and the best negronis in NYC.
Aurora’s covered patio is decorated with lots of hanging ivy and more lights than a fairly large Christmas tree, as well as high walls and a roof that make it feel far removed from the corner of Wythe and Grand. Make a reservation, and share housemade pastas and Italian wine any day of the week.
The Immigrant is a casual wine bar in the East Village with heaters that’ll make you glad you decided not to wear long johns on a date. If all of the tables in the heated, wood-walled sidewalk patio are taken, then you have another warm, casual date spot less than a block away at Sake Bar Decibel.
Certain things are non-negotiable. It might be the side of the bed you sleep on, or the side of the family you spend holidays with. Or most importantly, it could be the incontrovertible fact that you and your dog are a package deal. Mermaid Inn understands that. They let your dog (or your date) be a third-wheel anytime, including during their daily oyster Happy Hour from 4:30-6:30pm.
Thursday through Sunday in the heated and fully covered garden patio at this Staten Island American spot, you can cover your table in things like fried burrata crostini, double cheeseburgers with brandy aioli, and spicy ginger margaritas.