You just got a really good haircut, if you do say so yourself, and you know that no matter how many instructions and products you’re given to help “recreate it at home,” tomorrow it will probably look like you did it in the dark wearing giant Mickey Mouse gloves. So you want to go someplace where people other than you, your iPhone camera, and your roommate’s pet hamster will be able to appreciate it. You need a spot that’s fun and a little (or a lot) sceney - and you want to eat something good, too. Try any of these places.
Carbone is nearly impossible to get into, but if you somehow manage to get a reservation a month in advance (by staying up late and refreshing the reservations page), it’s more than appropriate to schedule your haircut around that date. The Italian food here is classic (and very expensive), and the space is sleek in an old-timey way. It’s the kind of place where the mayor and Rihanna could conceivably be having dinner at the same time, perhaps with new haircuts of their own.
You just got bangs for the third time in eight years, and while there’s a decent chance you’ll hate them two weeks from now, tonight’s about keeping it positive. Start off at Sally Roots, which is where you go in Bushwick if you kind of want to go out, but you also want to sit down and eat something. This place has rum cocktails, really good Caribbean food, and proximity to lots of other spots where you can keep the night going after dinner. Make sure to order the tostones, which come with a garlic sauce you’ll want to (and should) put on everything.
If you want a little bit of a party and a lot of really good food to share with a group, this Thai/Filipino restaurant on the LES is an excellent choice. Sit in the back dining room, where the hip hop soundtrack is loudest, and put the lighting (which seems like it was designed to make people look especially cool in photos, with or without new haircuts) to good use.
If “Post-Haircut Restaurants” were a category in the Westminster Dog Show, Dirty French would probably win best in breed - because it has all the things we look for in this type of spot. Full of people you want to notice you? Yes. Vanity-mirror lights? You bet. Good food? Somehow, given how sceney it is, yes. Order something from the French menu, then relax and do what you’re meant to do here: look cool sitting next a mushroom millefeuille, with a neon sign and a magnum bottle behind you.
This is a big, newish Midtown spot where you can get a table and drink excellent tiki cocktails - just watch that new haircut if you order one that’s served on fire. You can eat here, too, and while on first glance the menu seems full of things you might find at any rooftop bar in Kips Bay (like ahi tuna poke and baby back ribs), the versions here are actually really good.
Dinner here is a unique experience that, unlike many other unique experiences in NYC, doesn’t feel frivolous or outrageously expensive for what it is. Here’s how it works: You make a reservation in advance, head to a basement in the West Village, pick a song for them to play on the house record player while you eat, and proceed to enjoy a seven-course meal of Japanese snacks for $50. The room is small, so everyone will be able to appreciate your hair (and taste in music) up close.
You know that hairstyle from the 1920s with waves that somehow stayed perfectly intact with only two bobby pins? Frenchette is the restaurant manifestation of that hairstyle - classy and impressive, but still ultimately casual and approachable. Oh, and kind of expensive. You don’t need to rock an old-timey haircut to eat the duck frites and steak here, but if you’re going to get one, you might as well use this place to show it off. Plan ahead to get a table, since it’s tough to get a reservation.
It’s not a stretch to say that someone celebrates a birthday every night at Tijuana Picnic. So come here as long as you’re down for what looks like a competition between strangers to see who’s having the best time over tacos and pitchers of margaritas. The downstairs level kind of feels like a club, and the upstairs kind of feels like a club with better lighting. Choose your own adventure.
Bombay Bread Bar is in a neighborhood (Soho) where every fourth person looks like they just got their hair styled professionally, and for tonight at least, you’re one of them. It’s usually not hard to get a table here, so bring a small group, order some bread and dips for the table, and if you need more aesthetics-related talking points during dinner (besides your hair), inform everyone that the space was designed by a set director who’s worked on a bunch of Wes Anderson movies.
This upscale Mexican restaurant feels like a trendy dungeon for people who claim they “woke up like this,” and, in fact, probably did. To get to the dining room, you walk through an “Employees Only” door in a ground-floor taqueria, then down a flight of stairs - and once you arrive, you’ll be surrounded by people who all seem to be celebrating something. Keep an eye out for stray sparkler-topped desserts, and be sure to wipe the queso fundido from your hands before you flip your hair.
If you’re really looking for more of a drinks situation, try Katana Kitten in the West Village. This is a sceney bar with two floors, and it’s usually the perfect amount of crowded on weeknights (and very crowded on the weekends). The food is great - we like the teriyaki burger and fries with nori flakes - but you don’t need to eat to fully enjoy your time here. The highballs, ’70s film posters, and crowded bar area will take care of that.
The Nomad Bar is perfect when you’re looking for a classy atmosphere, great drinks, and a few share plates that won’t exactly be cheap, but will still cost less than your $1,000 NYC-prorated haircut. If you really have your sh*t together (and/or just got your bonus), plan your haircut to coincide with tickets to the magic show upstairs.
The Happiest Hour is giant and loud, and it wouldn’t be that outrageous for someone to hurt their neck from craning it around to see who just walked in here. It’s also the perfect place for you if you don’t really care about making a reservation or a big plan for the night. Just waltz in, flip your hair dramatically like you’re starring in a slow-motion shampoo commercial, and try to get a seat so you can order a burger.