The use case for the original St Tropez in the West Village is pretty simple: go for low-commitment dates. And you should use the Soho location in much the same way. This dimly-lit spot on Spring Street has some bar seating and a big communal table in the middle of the one-room space, but the best seats are at the handful of small, candlelit tables. The entirely French wine list has 45 options by-the-glass, which are all under $20, and if you come during Happy Hour (4-7pm), you can try four three-ounce pours for $15. You don’t need to eat a full dinner here, but the shareable small plates - like escargots, grilled octopus, and meatballs with ratatouille - are enjoyable and affordable (they're all $12), especially for the neighborhood.
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Osteria Morini is a popular Italian restaurant on Lafayette street, known for pasta and lots of lambrusco. Expect crowds and very little elbow room.
Jack's Wife Freda
A good spot for your weekend brunch rotation, but don't rely on it for dinner. Jack's Wife Freda does not get better when the sun goes down.
The Bombay Bread Bar
The Bombay Bread Bar is a casual Indian restaurant in Soho that’s a fun spot for group dinners.
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Cafe Gitane is the quintessential Nolita place to “see and be seen,” especially if you’re hoping to see some avocado toast.
Wildair is a casual wine bar on the Lower East Side, attached to the acclaimed tasting menu restaurant Contra.
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The Ten Bells
The Ten Bells is a natural wine bar on the Lower East Side that serves some good small plates and $1 Happy Hour oysters every day.
Ruffian is a tiny East Village bar with a huge natural wine list and a short menu of really good Mediterranean food.
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