Date Night in SoHo
Romance is in the air at these classic local spots.
True, it’s no Paris, but New York City is pretty strong in the romance department. There’s a reason many much-loved romantic comedies take place in the Big Apple. (When Harry Met Sally or Breakfast at Tiffany’s, anyone?) Neighborhoods throughout the city are dotted with cinematic spots where romance is in the air, from candlelit trattorias on the Upper West Side to lush secret gardens in the East Village. But there’s no need to run all over town for a romance-packed day. Forget about the City of Light and head downtown to ever-vibrant SoHo, home to legendary date night-friendly French bistros, intimate wine bars, beloved arthouse movie theaters, speakeasy-style boîtes with live jazz, and the romantic like. We’ve narrowed down our top romantic places in SoHo to eat, drink, shop, and more, below.
For cocktails & wine…
The team behind the Flower Shop on the Lower East Side opened up this hip, ’70s-style bistro and supper club in the heart of SoHo in 2020. Housed in a two-story townhouse on West Broadway and outfitted with funky vintage decor, this little hotspot is also perfect for date night. Follow the cool kids upstairs for great cocktails in an Instagrammable space, complete with exposed beams, plush seating, and a skylight.
343 West Broadway; T. (212) 991-8175
Hurry to this new, impossibly stylish wine bar on the block before TikTokers invade. At this moodily lit, perfect date-night haunt, Parisian owner Najib Benhammou has curated a sophisticated wine list with plenty of divine French wines. Packed with laidback vibes and great people-watching, Bisou also offers fantastic shareable plates like tuna tartare, baked brie, and macarons. We’re still dreaming of their charcuterie board.
112 6th Ave
Dinner for two…
There’s no place like this legendary French-American bistro, which has been serving a decadent menu—like steak naturel au poivre, seared foie gras, and many a martini—since 1975. Every inch of the atmospheric and romantic space oozes with Old World glamour: framed vintage posters, crimson booths, white tablecloths, candles, a pressed-tin ceiling, and a spiral staircase leading to a tarot card reader. Our tarot cards reveal that it’s difficult to snag a reservation, but you can always try the bar.
180 Prince St; T. (212) 966-3518
When you think of SoHo institutions, you immediately picture Keith McNally’s eternally buzzy Parisian brassiere on Spring Street, which swung open its doors in 1997. Balthazar continues to be a magnet for the fabulous fashion set, Francophiles, foodies, tourists, and the occasional celebrity (unless you’re James Corden, who was banned by McNally). Much-loved offerings on the menu include steak frites, salade niçoise, and a head-turning three-tiered seafood platter. For a romantic evening, request a red leather banquette away from the bustle of the main dining area.
80 Spring St; T. (212) 965-1414
You’ll be transported to Provence when dining at this hidden gem and date night destination. In the charming, pint-sized bistro, guests can expect a seafood-centric Southern French menu, with roasted escargots, mussels, and seafood linguine dishes. The hangar steak and French onion soup are also particularly excellent. So is the wine menu. Tip: Be sure to bookend your meal with the restaurant’s signature banana brulee.
558 Broome St; T. (212) 925-3061
A night at the movies…
For a classic movie date night, avoid the gigantic cineplexes and support a smaller theater, like the Angelika Film Center. Opened in 1989, this lauded theater screens arthouse, indie, and foreign films. Plus, their airy cafe located in the theater’s lobby makes for a great post-film hangout over small bites, pastries, wine, and craft beer.
18 W Houston; T. (212) 995-2570
If you find yourself closer to Greenwich Village, head to the iconic Film Forum to cuddle up during a movie and share a big bag of popcorn. Opened in 1970 as an alternative screening space, today Film Forum is the only autonomous nonprofit cinema in New York City. A true haven for film buffs, they screen everything from new award-winning indie films and American classics to quirky, obscure gems and documentaries.
209 W Houston St, New York; T. (212) 727-8110
The perfect spot for a nightcap & live music…
Hidden away by velvet curtains in the Soho Grand Hotel is this gilded, exceedingly glamorous lounge, designed in a decadent “old New York” style and peppered with a downtown edge. Starting at 6:30 p.m., well-dressed guests enjoy caviar and craft cocktails while regaling in live music from New York’s most talented jazz performers and pianists. Later in the night, guest DJs make the dancefloor come alive until the wee hours.
310 W Broadway; T. (212) 965-3588
A romantic gesture…
SoHo is awash with exceptional boutiques that will fulfill any shopping list, no matter how elaborate or simple. Looking to gift your date with a gorgeous bouquet of the season’s most sublime flowers? You should put your trust in Élan Flowers: they’ve been creating gorgeous, imaginative floral arrangements for over three decades, and their breathtaking work has been seen in iconic Manhattan venues everywhere from Tiffany’s to The Odeon. For high-end unisex perfumes and candles, head to cult fragrance brand Byredo. Overwhelmed by all the fragrant options? Then buy a bestseller, like the woody Gypsy Water ($205). Alternatively, you can play it safe and purchase a luxurious handwash or geranium-scented lotion from everyone’s favorite treat-yourself beauty brand a.k.a. Aesop. And the only thing more romantic than popping by Ladurée for a box of macarons—whose flavors range from caramel and pistachio to rose and passion fruit—is popping the question.
Elan Flowers 1 Worth St; T.  240-9033
Byredo 62 Wooster St; T.  219-1584
Aesop 438 W. Broadway; T.  966-3362
Laduree 398 W Broadway; T.  392-7868
WORDS Alex Catarinella