brown bae spots
Photo Courtesy of The Bombay Bread Bar | Artwork by @Hatecopy

By Vrinda Trivedi and Anubhuti Kumar

Y’all. Dating is hard enough without the absolute agony of trying to pick the perfect date spot or coming up with an idea that’s the perfect balance between unique and quirky and romantic. It’s high stakes, you want to show your date who you are and that’s high pressure. Plus, you want to make sure they’ll enjoy it as well. But don’t worry readers, we at Brown Girl are here to support all you in all your dating dilemmas. Here are some dates spots, or as we like to call them, Brown Bae spots, you’ll love to frequent with bae.

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1. Bombay Bread Bar

 

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Come for the art, stay for the shockingly good fusion food. With a backdrop of @hatecopy artwork this restaurant is sure to fire up some dramatic Bollywood vibes, and where Bollywood is near, romance isn’t far. Very bold and pleasing aesthetics, from the walls to the tabletops, filling your date with bright, electric excitement. From mushroom upma to cheese and bacon parathas for which I would give my life, their menu is filled with the best combination of food imaginable.

The Indian flavor themed cocktails are sure to be a conversation starter with bae, and I’m intrigued to try the Kerela Fried Chicken. And if you happen to go for brunch, their Tiffin Brunch option lets you try a variety of their all-star dishes. I high-key recommend the Savory Cereal tiffin, but be sure to make reservations because seats fill fast and you don’t want to keep bae waiting on this deliciousness. I promise you’ll leave immensely satisfied.

2. Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor

 

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As a huge beer nerd, I’m always on the hunt for neighborhood spots that carry a wide variety of local and imported brews. On top of the carefully curated beer list, Arts and Crafts is also an unexpectedly romantic venue, with the cozy log cabin vibe, not too rowdy usual crowd of Columbia grad school students. My favorite part: the ability to split a flight of 6 beers, which come in a goofy yet authentic Gaffel Kolsch Kranz, which is filled with ice and holds the brews.

Pro tip: This place can get crowded after 10 pm on the weekends, so make a reservation for one of the cute 2-person wooden tables in the back, if you don’t want to end up spending date night with four random dudes at the large communal tables at the front. Also has a Greenwich Village location for downtown-based couples.

3. Movie and Chandni

Here’s a double whammy for a date idea. The easiest accessible Bollywood movie theater in Manhattan is the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square. Catch the latest Kartik Aaryan release and then if you want to spend even more time with bae, take them to Chandni, a South Asian restaurant on 29th street. It’s only a 20-minute walk from the movie theater (walks are romantic, right?) and it’s kinda famous for its $1 chai after this Buzzfeed feature. It’s easy to gupshup into the night with bae over steaming chai here.

4. Hungarian Pastry Shop

 

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As the name indicates, this adorable coffee shop has a huge selection of beverages and Hungarian and other traditional European pastries and baked goods. It’s locally owned, and the owners are super friendly folks who provide quick service, even when the place is packed, which it usually is. It’s an excellent spot year-round, but I love it a bit extra in the summer when you and bae can sit outside at one of the small mosaic tables, enjoy the sun, and people watch. Heads up that they only accept cash.

[Read Related: Dating as a Brown Girl: 6 Things I Wish I Knew Before]

5. Mudspot

 

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One word. Chai. delicious, creamy, masala-y chai that almost tastes like a chai milkshake with its slightly thicker milk/cream consistency. If you’re not a chai person (seriously, what are you doing?) it’s ok because Mud is also a beer garden with a variety of alcoholic beverages including a selection of wines, cocktails, and funky sodas. Come on the weekend for brunch and indulge in their bunch special that includes an entree with coffee and either orange juice, a mimosa, or a tap beer.

Disclaimer: Brunch gets crowded so be prepared to wait and come early because they don’t take reservations, but I promise the cozy 2-person seating is sure to set the scene for a perfectly heart-eyes inducing meal.

6. HexNYC

I firmly believe that first dates should only occur in slightly chaotic, slightly busy, and slightly goofy spots. HexNYC fits the bill for each crucial category. It’s the only board game cafe in Uptown NYC, and $10 will get you unlimited access to more than 200 board games. They also serve snacks like cookies and soft pretzels, and they have a pretty decent beer and wine selection as well. I’ve had a bunch of great low-stress and fun first dates here, and would recommend it to anyone!

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