It’s finally that time of year to “fall” in love. Summer flings have ended and cuffing season is in full swing. Here are my top five “Brunch Boys approved” date recommendations. You’ll notice there is no apple picking on here, because I promise you nobody wants to see those Instagrams.
Instead of Netflix and chill, switch up your movie watching routine at Rooftop Cinema Club at the Skylawn Embassy (Hilton) Suites in midtown. Here’s the deal: $26 per ticket without popcorn, although you might opt to spend a few extra bucks for an unlimited bucket. Outside food and drinks are a no-no, but the Skylawn rooftop bar opens at 5pm daily, so definitely go early to get your food and drink on.
Watching movies outdoors is always a fun activity, but this particular venue provides wireless headphones to drown out the background noise. Hang out in your adjustable lawn chair (also provided) and remember to dress appropriately for the weather, as fall nights tend to get chilly, especially on rooftops. Come here for the iconic views—I’m talking about the classic films AND the NYC skyline backdrop. You can find the list of movie showings online, through October.
Jack-o-lanterns and Halloween decor are in all the storefronts setting the spooky mood. Time to have yourselves a Saturday date night scare! Located down on Varick St., Blood Manor is a haunted house that will have you gripping onto your partner for dear life as you move through the labyrinth of terror. Instead of the electronic vampires with red eyes and digital dead people, Blood Manor has real actors who read the room and jump out at you strategically to optimize the scare factor.
This would be a fun group date idea because you are guided through the maze in small groups of six. DON’T wear any clothing you might ruin, in case you back up against a wall and smudge the set. DO wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking through the corridors. Although it’s only a 15-minute affair, it’s worth the scare.
Breathtaking Breakneck Ridge is a challenging hike, comprised of both rock face and marked dirt paths. Now is the perfect time of year to peep the changing leaves with your partner! This particular destination is just 90 minutes north of Manhattan. Just hop on the MTA from Grand Central to Hudson State Park in Cold Spring, NY. The main loop is just under three miles and takes about four to six hours to complete, so be sure to wear comfortable and appropriate clothing—aka sneakers and layers.
There are multiple overlooks with awesome and unobstructed views of the Hudson. Make sure you stop at the lookout points for epic couple shots—totally Insta-worthy. There’s no race to the top, but it’s definitely a workout, so bring snacks and plenty of hydration. DON’T go on this trip with someone you are just getting to know unless you’re totally comfortable. It’s not like you can cut the date short and bounce…the trail itself is a few hours, tacked on to a total of three hours of travel.
If you’re in the mood to escape the hustle and bustle of NYC and hang out somewhere more peaceful, check out SoJo Day Spa with your partner. If you ventured on the hike suggested above, maybe you can spend your next day off recovering and relaxing at SoJo Spa in Clearwater, NJ. There’s a shuttle bus from Hell’s Kitchen/Port Authority in NYC that takes you directly to the facility. Enjoy all the amenities, including different pools and saunas, with your day pass, which are relatively inexpensive for a spa. $50 for weekdays and $65 for holidays and weekends! You’ll have to pay for any other treatments you might want to add.
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Upon arrival, you put your belongings in your locker and proceed to the bathhouse: clothing is optional indoors. The fall special currently being offered is the “Pink Champagne Couples Massage”. Here’s the deal: a one-hour couples massage, pink champagne toast, chocolate truffles, and complimentary admission for two ($395). Note: you can only book this deal through 10/31. Spend the entire day feeling fancy AF in your robes. You can’t bring your own snacks to the spa, but they do have a stocked cafeteria with Korean-inspired dishes and other healthy options.
Fall is a time to hibernate and be cozy. Bikini season is over, so no need to feel bad about indulging in a cooking class with your SO. Instead of your nightly routine of going out or ordering in, mix it up by playing house with your partner and learning how to cook a gourmet meal. There are many options of cooking classes available in NYC, but two of my favorites are Sushi by Simon and Sur La Table.
Learn the Japanese culinary art at Sushi By Simon. All classes include two drinks and a sushi mat you can take home with you to rice roll on your own. $110 per person for the fall special, running now through the end of October. Sur La Table has a bit more variety in food options. Each night offers a different cuisine, and the chance to make everything from scratch! The chef gives you plenty of tips along the way, so it’s a great start for beginners. It’s also a great refresher for those of you who are already cooking-inclined. Whichever one you choose, you’re in for a night of delicious food and drinks and an intimate few hours with bae.
Images: Alora Griffiths / Unsplash; skylawnnyc, sojospaclub / Instagram
As a Brunch Boy, I’ve been brunching my way through the boroughs for years now. Usually, I’m just looking for the best avocado toast and a bloody Mary, but today I’m here to help you find guys! So here is my top five list of brunch spots where you can find not only great food but also brunch boys like me!
If you don’t want to make it out on a Saturday night, go to Freehold, located in the heart of Williamsburg. This is not—and I repeat, NOT—a date spot, but it’s definitely a place to meet some potential suitors. There’s a nice grassy outdoor space and a DJ. And they have skeeball, a super approachable way to start talking to someone new. Why not challenge a guy to a game? It’s the perfect “chill” space to mingle. DO order the brunch burger; it comes with a fried egg on top, muenster cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and tots. If you’re trying to be healthy for beach season, try the impossible (meatless) burger. DON’T be the girl stumbling over on the street waiting for her Uber at 4pm. Pace yourself, it’s an all-day event.
Another Brooklyn brunch spot on my go-to list to meet new people is Pilot. The place is quite literally a docked boat, anchored at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, right on the East River. It’s not just any old boat; the Pilot was built to race as one of the fastest sailboats in the world and was a ferry for soldiers in WWII. The view you see of Manhattan is totally insane and makes a great backdrop for an Instagram photo. A nautical niche place, Pilot has oysters, rosé, lobster rolls, and fun beachy cocktails. They have six different types of oysters on the menu, and I would suggest trying them all. You know what say about oysters… ahem, aphrodisiac. The seaweed salt fries are also a must-have! Pilot is absolutely perfect for the summer. It closes in October, so make sure you check it out this summer into fall. The place is owned by the same people as Grand Banks and Island Oyster (other NY locations) and Seaworthy, if you ever find yourself in NOLA.
If you’ve lived in the city and haven’t been to Bounce, do you even live here? They have your standard typical brunch basics like eggs Benedict and french toast, but you should probably order some bar food. The BSC All-Star Combo gives you a little taste of everything: fried mozzarella sticks, grilled jumbo shrimp, mac and cheese bars, fried chicken strips, and two types of wings (classic buffalo and Korean). There’s always bouncers (haha) outside, giving it somewhat of a clubby vibe. The second you step inside this place, no matter what time of day or what season, it automatically becomes 2am. You end up dancing on tables and ripping shots like it’s nobody’s business. The entire floor fills up with people as the day goes on. I’d recommend going to Bounce during a sporting event—March Madness, World Series, World Cup, you name it. There are TVs on every inch of the bar, so it’s basically a giant indoor tailgate. Go in groups to meet other groups.
My next recommendation is a hidden gem in Williamsburg. If you go down Bedford Ave, a little past the main strip, you’ll find Spritzenhaus, an outdoor beer hall (biergarten). This place has high-quality micro-brews on tap: ales, wheats, lagers, ciders, Belgian-style, etc. It’s always slammed on the weekends and since it’s outside, now is the perfect time to go. You will find a ton of dudes hanging out at a long, shared table. The buzz from the beer will get you tipsy and talking. When brunching, you select your sausage first: Bratwurst, Krainerwurst, Biala Kielbasa…and then after a few more beers, you can select your next “sausage.” You name it, they have it. Since there’s not much space between parties, it’s the ideal atmosphere to meet someone new!
My final recommendation is a little more upscale. Magic Hour, at the top of the MOXY Hotel in Times Square, is owned and managed by TAO group. Once you’re on the roof you feel like you’re at a carnival for adults. The giant stack of pancakes with cotton candy on top is picture perfect. Yes, I’m talking about Instagram. And there’s a carousel that spins you around, slowly, as you drink. Magic Hour is a place where you either go big or go home. The drinks are the size of a soccer ball and are definitely made to share—another convo starter. See if a guy needs help finishing his drink, or maybe he’ll ask for your help to finish his. Drinks like the Disco Ball for All and Popcorn Anyone are among the most popular cocktails. Like Freehold, this outdoor spot has games. Specifically, a miniature putt-putt course called “Foreplay,” with animal statues in flirty poses instead of your typical windmills. If the drinks and fun atmosphere put you in the mood and you wanna make some magic of your own, check out the “Crash Pad” option on the menu. Yes, you can order a hotel room on the spot. If that’s what you’re looking for.
Follow Jeremy on Instagram at @brunchboys for more brunch porn!
Images: Jared Arango / Unsplash; Brunch Boys