Banzarbar is a fancy cocktail bar behind an unmarked door on the second floor of Freemans (the restaurant at the end of an alley, that looks like the living room of a rich person’s hunting lodge) on the LES. There are about 10 bar seats in the dark space, along with a few two-person, candle-lit tables along the wall, and they serve cocktails, small seafood bites, and “The Kraken” - a whole tempura-fried octopus. Despite looking like a battered sea monster, this massive portion of octopus is actually pretty good. They also do a five-course tasting menu that involves low-ABV cocktails, if you're looking to make a full night of it. We'd recommend this place for a date, especially if one of you is a fan of themed bars and/or speakeasies.
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Lil’ Gem is a Lebanese restaurant in the Lower East Side where you can meet a friend while feeling like you haven’t left your couch.
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The Meatball Shop
The are a bunch of Meatball Shops in the city, and they’re all good for a casual meal. As you probably guessed, you’ll be eating meatballs here.
Jacobs Pickles is great if you need a spot for drinks or an Upper West Side dinner meetup with someone you know will embrace the heavy bar food. But it’s not a restaurant with traveling for.
Gallow Green is the rooftop bar on top of the hotel in Chelsea where Sleep No More takes place, although you don’t have to wear a mask to drink here.
Suggested by our writers
Wildair is a casual wine bar on the Lower East Side, attached to the acclaimed tasting menu restaurant Contra.
Freemans has been a key player in the restaurant renaissance we’re currently living in and ranks among our favorite restaurants of all time.
Contra is a Lower East Side tasting menu restaurant with adventurous food that actually tastes good.
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