Date Spots

Wondering where to take your next Hinge date? Every month Hinge employees go on dates and review their experience to help get you out on the best possible date.

Hiking along the Hudson

As Bobby Frost once said, when two roads diverge in a yellow wood, the road less travelled will be more Instagramable. So, Lindsey and I decided to rent a car and hike the lesser-known loop just south of Breakneck Ridge called Bull Run.

Bull Run is a 4-ish mile loop that starts with a surprisingly steep 1200 ft vertical climb. After a brief exercise in trust rebuilding and cartography, we managed to bushwack our way to the top of the mountain. My favorite part was when we came face-to-face w an 8-point buck.
As we made our way down, we overheard someone talking about their Hinge date! Other highlights include here some nice babbling brooks and the ruins of a couple houses we thought the Property Brothers might be able to turn into more of a modern, open concept.
Highly recommend a day hike to get some fresh air and rock some sporty athleisure gear. We’ve got a hikers high that is at least 3x that of a SoulCycle class and that has made all the difference.

Cost: $195 for car rental and lunch

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Dunks and Dumplings

Kanad has been a big fan of the Knicks since he was a kid. He's never gone to a game, so we decided to ball out on good seats to see Knicks vs. Pacers on Halloween.

We grabbed a quick dinner before the game at Dim Sum Palace. Dim sum is one of my favorite meals. I love being able to eat a little bit of everything and not have to commit to one main entree. Plus, if you go to the right locations, it's cheap. Unfortunately, Dim Sum Palace is not one of these locations (which makes sense considering it's right by Times Square). We ordered eight small plates, six of which were dumpling dishes. The service was quick and the food was decent. I took a gamble ordering the pineapple cheese wontons but they turned out to be pretty good!

After dinner, we walked over to Madison Square Garden. Our seats were at the baseline risers, across from the scorers' table (aka pretty close to the court). It was cool being able to see the players warm up and let just how ginormous they all are sink in. The energy in the stadium was incredible. I expected a lot more people to be in costume for Halloween, but at least most people came repping their team. There are plenty of activities and performances to keep the crowd entertained when the game is paused. We didn't win any cash prizes or catch any t-shirts, but it was fun to participate nonetheless. At halftime, we got to see performance painter, David Garibaldi, paint a portrait of Michael Jackson. The Knicks lost 101-107 but it was a close game all night and they really put up a fight.

Cost: $330.80

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An Autumnal Bounty: Cider and Cheese

When Rose and I entered the small back room of The Bedford Cheese Shop in Gramercy, we didn’t know what we were in for. As the other three couples shuffled in, we each sat down in one of eight plastic chairs surrounding an enormous, beautiful oak table. In front of all of us were our own personal charcuterie boards topped with four different kinds of cheeses. Further from arm’s reach were six different wine glasses, of which the first three were filled with mysterious pale brown liquids of different shades and opacities. Christine and Jeff, our teachers for the night, greeted us. Jeff, an enthusiastic and aggressively honest epicurean, dazzled us with his sweet potato cocktail (the first of the brown liquids). It was incredible. If you ever have a chance to add sweet potato to a cocktail, you probably should.

Almost immediately after our first sip, our ears were bombarded with hard-to-believe historical facts (workers used to be paid in cider?) and semi-interesting properties of apples turning into alcohol. While Rose and I were definitely expecting more of an “all you can eat” celebration of cider and cheese, our instructors had something different planned. They had carefully chosen particular cheeses to taste with particular ciders. Their passion for their craft was compelling, and brought out the academic side of me. Though I wasn’t expecting to learn as much about cider as I now know, I’m glad that I did. Turns out, real cider isn’t bubbly and sweet like the commercial bottles would have you believe. Real cider is dry and crisp, similar to white wine but far more fruity. Real cider doesn’t always have carbonation, and real cider isn’t chock full of sugar. Who knew!

Cost: $170

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Sojo Spa

After a weekend of Halloween partying, I planned a Sunday date to Sojo Spa in New Jersey for a day of detoxing. Sojo Spa is a Korean bath house with a variety of pools, specialty baths, and saunas. They offer a free shuttle bus from Port Authority, which was super convenient for us.

We hopped on the bus at 10am and arrived at this beautiful resort-like building. After paying our entrance fees, we were given wristbands that would unlock a little locker for our shoes (you can’t wear shoes indoors here). We then went up the elevators and parted ways as we went into the gendered change rooms. They give you robes that you must wear as you’re wandering around the different saunas and pools. There were a few hot hot saunas with temperatures up to 200 degrees, which might sound like death, but it’s actually really relaxing to lay down for a few minutes and sweat it out. Afterwards, you can jump into the ice room to cool down. Each room is labeled with its benefits for your body. My favorite was the charcoal room, which claimed to give you relief from headache, backache, and arthritis, while increasing metabolism and energy.

You can really spend an entire day here. They have food options ranging from sushi to pizza and a variety of non-alcoholic drinks. You can also pay extra to get a massage or facial, but I just opted to bring my own face masks to use.

The highlight of the place had to be a heated outdoor infinity pool that overlooked Manhattan. Even though I had planned to turn the day into a digital detox day, I had to take a few pics for memories.

I would highly recommend this place as a way to get out of the city and decompress for the day. It was really refreshing, both physically and mentally to be in a place that was all about relaxation and rejuvenation. As a date spot, I liked that we both were able to step away from our daily distractions which gave us the chance to really enjoy each other’s company.

Cost: $130

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Japan East Village Tour

We decided to use the date stipend on a tour of Japanese sake & cuisine in the East Village. We tried a selection of sakes at my favorite sake bar in the city: Hi-Collar, a tiny but decadent spot on East 10th street. Because neither of us knew much about sake, I suggested we choose our drinks based on how closely the descriptions matched my personality. We tried one that was “crisp, bright, and delightful” and another that was “sweet and complex.” Andrew suggested we skip the one that was described as “hefty, heavy” (props, Andrew, props).

We sipped our smooth, cold sakes and watched as our bartender seared a fresh mackerel with a small blow torch. I guess he was watching us too, because he brought over a single flower in a vase to add some romantic ambiance (not that the scent of mackerel isn’t romantic).

After getting our fill of sake, it was time for the main event: Omakase at Michelin starred Jewel Bako.

Jewel Bako’s minimalist and curious interior layout was immediately fascinating to Andrew, who is an architect. We admired the golden sloping walls that made us feel as though we were in the ribcage of a large whale. Almost as soon as we were seated, our meal began. We started with an amuse-bouche of chopped bluefin tuna on crispy sushi rice topped with salmon roe, which was yummy AF. We followed this up with a trio of tartares served with sweet yam chips. The tartares were heavenly: Scottish salmon piled high with salty roe, marinated bluefin with avocado wasabi mousse, and yellowtail diced with pickled scallions. After this redonkulously tasty appetizer, we had some unusually flavorful miso soup. Then it was time for the main course: we’d ordered the omakase. We were treated to marinated bluefin tuna, striped jack fish, tasmanian king salmon, golden eye snapper with yuzu pepper, yellowtail, fatty tuna, bruleed uni, stone snapper with lime zest, needlefish, baby white shrimp, pike eel with pickled plum, barbecued eel, red snapper with ponzu, and Japanese barracuda. Our favorite was the eel (of both varieties). We finished the meal feeling supremely satisfied (and incredibly full, which is not usually how I feel after sashimi.)

Cost: $204

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Human's Best Friend Puppy Pop Up

Hugo (my doggo) , Andrew (my Hinge date - this was our second date), Louis (Andrew’s doggo), and I went to the Human’s Best Friend Pop Up. Imagine Refinery 29’s 29 Rooms but for puppies. The dogs had an absolute blast playing in a giant pit full of puppy toys.

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A Whole New World

Eliana and I went to see Aladdin on Broadway. I'd been disappointed that the Disney classic is not available on streaming services and she had suggested we watch it live. It was a lot of fun but nothing life-changing: the costumes and stage are incredible and the comedic characters killed it, but the fight choreography looked like a middle school play and it was datedly sexist.

Post-theater we took a stroll through Times Square on our way to Rockefeller Center. I know we New Yorkers like to avoid it like the plague, but I think it's fun to go if you're not in a rush and do it no more than twice a year. I'd reserved tickets ahead of time for Top of the Rock and since it's not peak tourist season there was no wait and few people on the roof. Neither of us had taken in the views from one of NYC's famous tall buildings before, so that was a treat.

Overall this one is going to depend on how cheesy your date is: Are they just going to think you took them for two nice activities, or are they going to melt when you sing "A Whole New World" while they stare at the city lights? (Eliana melted, obvi.)

Cost: $155 per person

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Get Wrecked

Kate and I went to The Wrecking Club, where we got to smash dishes and electronics with baseball bats. Not the most romantic thing TBH - but cool if you really need to let out some aggression and don’t mind loud banging sounds.

Afterward we walked to the bar at The Nomad Hotel. Highly recommend the chicken burger and the Le Poulet beer. Kate and I sat an actually read the entirety of the proposed screenplay for a movie about us/Hinge, which got the bartender’s interest. Kate worked her magic with him. He gave us a free bottle of champagne, and then afterward took us to the Havana-themed “secret bar” on the second floor, which only consists of two bar seats, and made us Cuban daiquiris while telling us his own crazy love story. So - make friends with the bartender. Apparently there’s a second secret bar on or near the fire escape.

Cost: $102.50 per person

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Caturday in Manhattan

There's a cat cafe on Clinton St on the Lower East Side called Koneko. It's a fully-functional cafe, complete with Japanese treats like okinomayaki, but the real draw is the couple dozen cats they have lounging about across two floors and an outdoor “catio.” Armed with my “How to Draw Cats and Kittens Book,” my girlfriend Kristen and I grabbed some sketch pads and headed down to Koneko.

Once there, we exchanged our shoes for slippers, got our drinks (me: iced chai, her: iced hibiscus tea), and passed through the threshold from the human world to the cat world. There were cats on boxes, in boxes...there was even a creepy cat staring at us through a hole in the wall.

Time flies when you're drawing cats, and soon our hour was up and they politely threw us out. We left having accomplished petting cats and actually making some semi-good drawings.

There's really only one place you can go after a cat cafe for dinner, which is Katz's. We got a Rueben with both pastrami and corned beef on it, a frankfurter, and an egg cream.

We were getting really into this cat theme at this point but didn't feel like going to Fat Cat, so instead we decided to go find some cat-related treats at a grocery store on the way back to her place to watch a movie. We scoured all the aisles and found out that, actually, cats are really underrepresented in food branding. So we resolved to make our own cat-themed food. Again, she did a better job than me, but she didn't quite have the ingenuity to come up with linguine whiskers.

Cost: $57.50 per person

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The Great Speakeasy Crawl

We started at Beauty and Essex, which is a rather lavish, famous bar behind a pawn shop. I would recommend going before 6pm so you can get a nice seat and enjoy the people-watching.

I started with a Blackberry Bramble (which was supposed to be a tequila drink, but obviously I asked for it with whiskey) and my roommate ordered something that had elderflower and pink peppercorns, which looked magical.

After a few sips we got peckish and ordered marrow bones and poke tacos. Everything was delicious. Side note: any place that serves split marrow bones has a special place in my heart. I’d honestly drink that stuff with a straw.

Beauty and Essex is definitely worth a visit, but it also feels a little touristy due to its reputation. The best part of Beauty and Essex is the free champagne in the women’s bathroom (sorry boys). We closed out our check and went down to enjoy the free bubbles.

After this we went on to the main event, a bar on the Upper East Side known only as “UES.” Backstory: a few months ago, this adorable little ice cream shop opened up not far from our apartment. We kept saying “Oh my gosh, we have to go!” Turns out, it’s a front for Manhattan’s newest speakeasy.

We walked into this lovely little pastel ice cream shop and asked to see the “storage room.” (That’s the password. Yes, this place is so cool it has a password). We then had to find a secret switch to flip in order to open the door. I was expecting some of the outside kitsch/pastel to be mirrored in the speakeasy decor, but it was very upscale.

We ordered drinks and they were such a surprise. The descriptions on the menu gave no indication of what was coming. Some of the drinks get set on fire. Some of them come with candy (my roommate’s drink came with a lollipop dipped in it and a side of Pop Rocks). Mine came with some sort of a sorbet, snowcone situation that slowly melted into the drink. You can also order absurd ice cream sundaes to the table.

Basically, this is the bar Willy Wonka would have created. It hit a really cool note of feeling special, but not so special that you would only go on occasions. I’m already planning on going back, and would recommend this to anyone for a unique, cool date.

Cost: $120 per person

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You, Me, and the Zoo

My friend and I wanted to spend the day together outside, so we decided to wander around Central Park. We started at the Plaza Food Hall (an adorable hidden food hall under the Plaza Hotel on Central Park South - definitely recommend checking it out if you haven’t been) and got drinks at a cute bar there. After we picked up a bottle of wine to bring to the park.

While walking around the park we made a special stop at a bench that my family has dedicated to my grandpa - it was my first time visiting the bench without my family and it added something really special to the day.

Next was the Central Park Zoo, which was so much fun. There were so many cool exhibits with awesome animals that I had no idea existed in the middle of NYC. We both are huge animal lovers so we were pretty much in heaven. We named them all…Gerald the blue bird with weird feathers, Norman the crane, Sadie the snow leopard, Sam and Connie the grizzly bears, Lucy the seal, Oscar the puffin, Riley the red panda, and Sally the seal. Yes, we actually did this the entire time and kept track of it.

After the zoo, we walked around the park for a while longer. I got my first NYC street hot dog and it was great. We ventured out of the park and went to grab food at Pio Pio (Peruvian - means “More more”) and stopped by Sprinkles where we got unreal cupcakes (an apple crisp cupcake and a vanilla red velvet ice cream cupcake sundae).

Overall this was such a fun and relaxing way to spend a weekend day. Walking around the park is always great, but going to the zoo was something we wouldn’t have thought normally thought to do! 10/10 day for a date or friend!

Cost: $56.50 per person

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Saturday in Sleepy Hollow

The year was 1790. The setting was a sequestered glen nestled within the Hudson River Valley countryside. "A drowsy, dreamy influence seemed to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere," Washington Irving would later write. It was from this time and place that the Legend of Sleepy Hollow was born. For 228 years the ghostly tale of the headless horsemen has haunted the residents of this old Dutch settlement. As an autumn chill settled upon the Hudson, my date and I set out to investigate.

With traditional horse and carriage transit options to the Hollow in short supply, we resorted to bicycle rentals near the west side highway instead. We secured two full day rentals from the Waterfront Bicycle Shop, near Christopher Street, for only $20 a piece. From there we set our Google Map bike route to Sleepy Hollow.... a ~40 mile ride north. The best part of the ride was evolving scenery of the route. Our final approach to Sleepy Hollow included the only major climb of our journey, up the aptly named Tower Hill, but we were rewarded with a triumphant downhill glide into the (suspiciously) quaint village below.

Our investigation of Sleepy Hollow included a robust assessment of the town's local fare. We had burgers to die for and spooky good ales at the Bridge View Tavern Beer Garden. Though not headless, we did feel moderately legless, so we took plenty of time to relax and recuperate. The town cemetery was alive with activity, with a guided tour recounting tales of the town's history, and we looked upon the graves of Andrew Carnegie and Elizabeth Arden. Just up the road was the Rockefeller's family estate, Kykuit, which included incredible gardens, galleries and river views.

With dusk descending, we opted to make our escape. We jumped in an Uber, bikes and all, but Metro North trains also run regularly from the Tarrytown Station, which makes it super easy to get back to the city. Once back in the city we nursed our sore muscles with some healing chocolate milk.

Cost: $91 per person

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Game On

It all started out with an afternoon argument and some trash talking.

I grew up in a Sega Genesis household. He grew up in a Nintendo family. After a thorough explanation into the drama and thrills of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (where the premise is to save the children), we ventured into Barcade in Williamsburg. Candidly, I’m way too competitive and not skilled enough to back up the amount of sass that comes out of my mouth. Koz also doesn’t subscribe to the “let your girlfriend win” mantra which frankly, is rude, but I digress.

We gravitated towards Streetfighter since I was talking the Sega Genesis talk. I did not walk the Sega Genesis walk. We then played Daytona USA driving, where I won first at coming in second. Early on in our arcade date we realized it was going to better for our future as a couple and our evening if we played games together instead of competing against. We chopped down trees playing Timber and shot bad guys on Gunblade NYC.

Next we made it to Full Circle, a skeeball spot where you pay $12 for unlimited 24H skeeball. The cool thing about this place is that you don’t need quarters at all, you simply sign up through a website to reserve your lane and how many rounds you want to play.

Twenty Sided Store was next, a local board game store that was hosting what seemed like an intense game night for Magic: The Gathering. We ended up going with a game called Red Flags: the game of terrible dates.

Midway Bar in Brooklyn is another super dive-y spot for cheap drinks, pinball and a bunch of other arcade games. We started off with some air hockey, then killed some zombies in House of the Dead: Zombie Hunter. Next up, Big Buck Hunter. This was my first time playing and Koz seemed too comfortable in his success. No elk, ram, or moose was spared.

Cost: $78.50 per person

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