Valentine's Day is upon is, and it seems like everywhere you look there's a list of the "Best Restaurants for Romance" and "Hot Gifts for Her on Valentine's Day." (We know because a few of those lists are ours.) And fair enough…if you're part of a couple. But what about us single gals? Are we to spend the "holiday" - in air quotes because, really, is Valentine's Day a legit holiday? - crying and alone with a box of Oreos, a full Netflix queue, and our cat? N.O. And if you had to pause before answering, shame on you.
So here's an alternative: Get your best gal pals together and go out. Sure, you'll probably have to suffer a few newbie couples looking longingly into each other's eyes, but celebrating your awesome self, single or not, is something you should do every day, including February 14th. Here, for all of the single and fabulous chicas in the Big Apple, four single-friendly hotspots to hit up on Valentine's Day.
Two words: Macho Nachos. (It's pictured at left and it is incredible!) Chorizo, onions, olives, cheese, chips. Seriously, your gal pals with thank you for ordering this. Pair your Macho Nachos with a shot – it's ladies night, after all, and El Vez features more than 100 combined tequila and mezcal options – and then switch to a Red Bell Pepper Margarita. It's perfect alongside cauliflower tacos and tuna tostadas.
The space at El Vez, by the way, is fun sexy (versus faux-romance, rose petals on the floor sexy). The restaurant's bar has plenty of seats and there's ample standing room for those who prefer to work the room. Better still, there's an enormous cineplex next door, so you can start your night with a movie and end it with...well, that's up to you.
You've heard the phrase “think like a man?” This Valentine's Day, forget that and instead, eat like a man. The best place to do that is Texas de Brazil, a midtown churrascaria where meat IS the menu. There's a salad bar, too, and it's pretty incredible, but pace yourself; you've been warned.
If you've never had churrascaria, the idea here is that good-looking passadores roam the dining room with giant skewers full of every tender, juicy, well-seasoned type of meat known to man. When given the green light – you actually have a card that indicates red (“no, thanks”) and green (“serve me now”) - said passadores visit your table and gently slice thin strips of steak, lamb, and even bacon-wrapped chicken onto your plate.
It's a sexy proposition that's, in my opinion, best enjoyed with a few caipirinhas and your fellow single gal besties. If only the green “serve me now” card worked outside the restaurant...
This spot is for all the Brooklyn ladies, specifically hot hipsters seeking a hot spot to enjoy an exceptional meal and the company of good friends. There may be a few googley-eyed couples – as will be anywhere on V-day – but the open design and communal tables at Cow & Clover favor large groups, so you can get your drink on without the in-your-face ick factor that is February 14th.
And speaking of drinks, Cow & Clover's Chipotle Pineapple Margarita is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Pair with a Short Rib Burger topped with sharp cheddar, spring onions, and aioli, and served with thick, house-cut fries, and you've got the recipe for a night that, let's be honest, beats a box of chocolates and a teddy bear – what am I, a seven year old? - by miles.
If your V-day desire is a spot to dance, drink, and enjoy some of the best Puerto Rican food in New York, this Tribeca spot has your number. Music ranging from reggaeton to acoustic guitar streams from the almost always full bar, where beautiful people – celebs, ball players, and models make regular appearances – sip strong cocktails garnished with obscenely large fruit. To eat, start with the alcapurrias, buñuelos de bacalao and ensalada de pulpo, and finish with classics like camarones al ajillo, mofongo al pilon, and ropa vieja.
After dinner, head downstairs to the lounge at Sazon – the restaurant is a full 6,500 square feet – and tear it up on the dance floor with your comadres. You might have to endure a few couples here and there, but the vibe at Sofrito is inclusive and favors mixing and mingling.