If there’s one time of year during which you can be unabashedly romantic—like, drinks-by-a-fireplace-linking-arms-while-you-sip-your-drinks-and-stare-into-each-other’s-eyes romantic—this is it. And while, really, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out a little romance at any time of year (or, anyway, there’s nothing more wrong with it), the best part about visiting romantic bars at this time of year is not just because of Valentine’s Day. Rather, the occasion of Valentine’s Day is totally incidental to the fact that going to one of these intimate, dimly lighted spaces (many of which have a roaring fire for, like, extra romance) is just a nice thing to do during this, the coldest, darkest time of year. So go to these places for the sake of romance or go to them for the sake of warmth and comfort. Just go.
June Wine Bar: This brand new Cobble Hill spot has quickly become one of our favorite bars in Brooklyn. The long narrow space features a gorgeous marble bar that is ideal for sitting at with the one you love, and lingering over a glass (or three) of wine from the beautifully curated, reasonably priced list. A nice feature at June, though, is that cocktail lovers are in for a treat as well, the short list of house creations is inventive and it’s hard to narrow it down to just one pick, though rye lovers shouldn’t miss the Blizzard of ’96. June also offers an array of small, shareable plates from which you could fashion either the perfect snack (acorn squash flatbread and the ham board) or a full meal (if it’s a special, the duck cassoulet is a must).
Black Mountain Wine House: Impeccable wine list? Check. Intimate atmosphere? Roaring fire? Check. Really, the Black Mountain Wine House has everything you need and more for those times when you want an alcohol-fueled romantic experience. And, actually, it’s got just as cozy an outside space as it does an indoor one—so keep this spot bookmarked for the warmer nights that are sure to be coming soon enough. You’ll want to spend them sitting in the little outdoor space filled with rustic benches built for two.
Ramona: High-end cocktail bars might seem like a dime a dozen in Brooklyn these days, but few of them do everything as well as Ramona does. The interior is beautifully appointed, service is excellent, and the cocktails are not only some of the best tasting in the borough, but also have the advantage of being really, really well-named. What’s that got to do with anything, you ask? Well, see for yourself is there’s not something a little frisson-inducing about going to Ramona on a date and ordering an Invitation to Love, a Hotel Danger, or A Short Life of Trouble, instead of just a Manhattan.
Maison Premiere: I know, I know: Maison Premiere is pretty much on every list, always, when it comes to most romantic bars in Brooklyn. And yet, it felt somehow wrong to leave it off this one. Probably because it really is one of the most romantic bars in Brooklyn. Because where else can you go anywhere near Bedford Avenue these days and feel like you’re leaving Brooklyn far behind and entering a little portal into southern France? Nowhere! So go with a date (maybe even on V-Day? Maison Premiere has both a dinner and a brunch pre-fixe happening this Saturday) and slurp up some oysters and tip back some absinthe and revel in the decadence of true romance.
Moonlight Mile: There is no sexier spirit than whiskey, probably, and whiskey is Moonlight Mile’s specialty. So, you know, what more do you need? Oh, a jukebox with reliably excellent music that will only enhance any mood that you’re already in? Perfect! The great thing (ok, one of many great things) about Moonlight Mile is that it’s romantic aspects are there just to the degree that you want them to be. So, like, if what you want is a neighborhood bar with great drinks and just as great music where you can go for a casual hang, you’ll be fine here. And if you want to make that casual hang into something more? Well, you’ll be able to do that too.
The Pines: While not technically a bar (in fact, it’s technically one of the most consistently exciting and inventive restaurants in Brooklyn), The Pines is appointed with a beautiful bar that begs you to sit with a companion for hours, lingering over some of the most well-composed cocktails in Brooklyn, and, oh, why not, also enjoying some of the best food. Really, though, some of the drinks are almost meals (or desserts) unto themselves. Try the Baked Apple, which tastes of apple, yes, but also smoke and spice; or go for the Pines, which features rye, yuzu, and Douglas fir for a bright and piney taste that is thoroughly compelling. Not more compelling than your date, probably, but, uh, pretty compelling!
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