By now, you might be familiar with the One-Two Punch. It’s what we like to call any two-stop itinerary that has been expertly planned for maximum enjoyment. We’ve already given you our best one-two punch date nights, and now we’re back with another round.
What you’ll find here are two-step plans that are perfect for summer, whether you’re looking to just eat and drink or maybe get some activities going. Use these combinations for date nights, group hangs, entertaining out-of-town visitors - or for when you just need an excuse to get the hell off the couch and do something with your weekend. We believe in you.
the one-two punches
Brooklyn Barge feels like it was sent from the gods purely for your summer enjoyment. It’s a bar and restaurant on top of a barge floating on the East River, with incredible views of the Manhattan skyline, a full bar, and solid food. On an insanely hot day, the breeze off the water is better than any A/C, and so far the crowds have been surprisingly manageable. If you love the idea of the Frying Pan, but can’t actually stand the place in reality, try Brooklyn Barge instead.
Once you get hungry at the Barge, resist the urge to snack and put your name down at Paulie Gee’s. It’s only a few steps from the entrance of the Barge, and the wait will definitely be worth it. (We won’t tell anyone if you get yourself a hot dog or two at the Barge as an appetizer.)
If you haven’t watched a movie outside, what are you doing with your summer? Alright, we get it - not everyone loves the idea of sitting on asphalt and smuggling in alcohol and watching a movie in a giant crowd. But it’s actually great - and Summerscreen in McCarren park is probably the best place in the city to do it. So tell your friends to not be lame and plan on catching Harold and Kumar, 10 Things I Hate About You, or The Royal Tenenbaums before summer’s over.
Sure, maybe you packed good snacks, but you’re still going to need a good dinner afterwards. You’re just a couple of blocks from one of the best burgers around at Allswell. Already tried the burger? Get the fried chicken sandwich - it’s just as good.
Outdoor activities in the summer are great, but so is camping out in a place with blasting air conditioning. Get a crew together and head to Royal Palms for a few hours of good, clean shuffleboard fun (and also alcohol, obviously). The place feels like the coolest geriatric cruise you secretly always wished you could go on. Get there early if you don’t want to have to wait for a court.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of shoving a puck (or rather, a biscuit) around on the floor, walk a few blocks to Lavender Lake. This is one of our all-time favorite places for a summertime group hang, with plenty of space indoors and outside, lots of drinks, and great food.
Like the idea of an indoor activity, but want something a little more active than shuffleboard? How about climbing a wall... would that do it for you? Plan a not-boring night starting at Brooklyn Boulders. On belay.
After all that rock climbing, you’re going to be hungry. Head around the corner to Insa, a modern Korean BBQ spot that’s open for both lunch and dinner on the weekends. Keep the date momentum up with strong cocktails and grilling meats over fire. The seafood & scallion pancake is also killer.
When it’s too hot to think, it’s prime time to turn off your brain and go to a movie inside. Even better? Go to a movie where you can also drink and eat. Syndicated in Bushwick screens cult favorite movies daily, and tickets are super cheap. Drinking a cocktail in a movie theater just never gets old.
Don’t snack too hard at Syndicated, because there are excellent post-movie dinner options a few feet away. Sure, Roberta’s is directly across the street from Syndicated, but if you don’t want to deal with the wait, or you want to try something else, go to Momo Sushi Shack next door. The sushi is actually great, and it’s the kind of place where you might just make new friends with the people sitting next to you at your communal table.
Your friends from out of town like to descend on you all the time, but they especially like to descend in the summer. And you need things to do with them. Things that are “New York-y” but also not soul sucking. If they come on a day that’s not brutally hot, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is always a crowd pleaser.
If you don’t find yourself in Dumbo very often, take advantage. When you exit the bridge, make a bee line for Gran Electrica - home to an awesome ivy and umbrella-covered back patio and excellent margaritas. There is occasionally a DJ out there playing the kind of music you’d hear at a hotel pool, but just order an extra marg or two to drown that out and you’ll be good to go.
If you haven’t tried Lucali yet, we’re putting an end to that madness right now. Yes, the whole no reservations/put your name in and be prepared to wait three hours thing is really annoying. We hear you. But Lucali as close as it gets to perfection, and is more than worth it. Especially if you have something great to do while you wait for that fateful call.
So show up at Lucali early, put your name down, and then make the ten minute (ok, twelve - but you’re going to have lots of time to kill anyway) minute walk to June Wine Bar. This is one of our favorite summer date spots - the wines are great, and so are the cocktails, and so are the snacks, and so is the string light-covered back patio. One important note: part of the beauty of Lucali is that it’s BYOB - stop in somewhere on your walk from Lucali to June Wine Bar so that you’ll have your bottle(s) ready when your table is up.
Our appreciation for excellent casual Italian restaurants is well-documented. But Malatesta is a particularly good one to hit in the summer, when they open up all the windows, so the inside gets a nice breeze - and there’s plenty of sidewalk seating as well. Great for everything from dates to dinner with friends, Malatesta is a place that’ll always make you go, “Oh yeah, that’s a good idea.”
After Malatesta, walk off your pasta coma along the Hudson and make your way to Hotel Hugo. Resist the urge to book a room for a nap and go straight to the rooftop, which will defy all your preconceived notions about lame hotel roofs. This one is actually awesome.
Haven’t been to Bed-Stuy recently? There are tons of new things happening in this neighborhood, and it’s about time you did some exploring. Start off at Chilo’s, a mezcal bar with a truck in the back serving the kind of tacos that you rarely come by in NYC. If you get excited about tacos, you should be excited about Chilo’s.
After tacos and frozen margaritas, make your way over to C’mon Everybody, a bar/live music venue/art space that, on any given night, is where you’ll find an awesome dance party. Add in the really fun crowd, and C’mon Everybody has everything you need for a great night out, all under one roof.
If you don’t have your own boat, your next best option is to pretend like you do. And the best place in the city to do just that is Grand Banks. We like to hit it in the early evening, when it’s still light out. Get a few cocktails and some oysters, ignore the other people around you, and suddenly you’re on your private yacht somewhere along the Italian coast. Imagination is fun.
Once you start to get seasick and hungry for real food, come back to dry land and head to Smith & Mills. It’s a tiny bar and restaurant inside an old carriage house. Don’t know what a carriage house is? That makes two of us. All you need to know is it’s quaint as hell in here. And the food is pretty good, too.