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The Beefsteaks have been serving steak and chips at Maltby Street and other street markets around London for while. Now they have a permanent spot at Borough Market, and, because they know it’s difficult to make decisions, they keep things simple here. There’s an option of steak and chips with your choice sauce, or a steak sandwich. We go for the steak and chips every time, and we always have it with chimichurri. You should too. The beef is grass fed, native breed, dry aged, and cooked on lumpwood charcoal, but all you need to know is that it tastes really good.

Giulia Verdinelli
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You’ve been pushing this dinner off for a while. And after several text exchanges involving increasingly fake-sounding excuses, it’s finally happening - you’re meeting up with a third-tier friend. Legally, you don’t have to hang out with this person. But socially, you’re obligated. So whether you accidentally talked your way into meeting up with a college acquaintance when you ran into each other on the street, or someone you had jury duty with seemed really nice at the time and now is maybe weirder in hindsight, use this list of places for a dinner that won’t cost too much or take too long.

THE SPOTS
Tamari Bar
$$$$
$$$$ 500 E. Pine Street

When you’re not sure how things are going to go after you haven’t seen someone in a while, go to Tamari Bar. That way, if things are going smoothly, you can enjoy a pleasant dinner consisting of drinks and several small plates. But if you’d rather sit through four episodes of 90 Day Fiancè than a meal with this person, just order one sushi roll and say you have to run home to let the plumber in. If they ask, yes, some plumbers work night shifts. Clogged drains can’t tell time.

No Anchor
$$$$
$$$$ 2505 2nd Ave Ste 105

No Anchor is a great choice if you want to seem cooler than you actually are, while simultaneously eating a good meal. It’s a beer bar that looks like a nautical basement filled with tchotkes that could be weird but work - like a jar filled with maimed baby doll limbs. Split a few seafood rolls on pretzel buns and get involved with the large assortment of beers.

Village Sushi
$$$$ 5211 University Way Northeast

You’re anticipating a lot of silent intervals where you’ll pull arbitrary topics out of thin air that you equipped yourself with beforehand. At Village Sushi, the quality fish and recording studio paraphernalia like drum sets and amps scattered around will keep the two of you distracted until the other person decides to break the ice (which one of you will ask the other person about their job first?).

Trailbend Taproom
$$$$
AmericanBar FoodPizza  in  Ballard
$$$$ 1118 NW 50th St

Trailbend Taproom is a bar in Ballard that serves pizza and sandwiches. Sit at the bar so you can make minimal eye contact, and then order a big beer so you can take a teeny sip every time you feel uncomfortable. It’s pretty casual in here, so allow the screams of children to drown out the awkward silence.

In Bocca Al Lupo
$$$$
PizzaPastaItalian  in  Fremont
$$$$ 4303 Fremont AVE N

Last night, the thought of having to make small talk with this person haunted your dreams. In that case, In Bocca Al Lupo is a nice Italian spot to keep in mind. You can walk right in at pretty much any time and get a seat immediately. And, the tasty Neapolitan pizzas cook in just a few minutes. So just be a little pushy about not ordering appetizers, and that might even give your third-tier friend a reason not to make plans with you again. It’s foolproof.

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Hinterlands is a neighborhood spot in Kensington that hosts a weekly board game night on Tuesdays, and has bar snacks that include pigs in a blanket and bags of Utz chips. You’ll see lots of people in here drinking beer-and-shot-combos, or sitting in the nice backyard under some string lights. If you need a place to set up shop for a few hours near Prospect Park South, this is a great option.

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In most ways, La Loba is a neighborhood mezcal bar south of Prospect Park. There’s a huge list of cocktails and agave-based liquors you may or may not have heard of before, and you order everything at their little bar. But what separates this place from other drinking spots is its excellent Oaxacan food - like ceviche tostadas, panuchos, and massive tlayudas with chorizo or mushrooms. There’s an open kitchen in the back dining room, and you can watch them cook all of their corn tortillas from scratch. On the weekends, there’s usually live music, and when it’s nice outside, you should come here after hanging out in the park and drink a cocktail in their backyard.

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This spot on St John’s Wood High Street is an absolutely faithful reproduction of someone’s slightly faded memory of a café they visited in Paris when they were on their French exchange. In fact it’s so faithful a reproduction it would feel like a naff theme restaurant if it wasn’t actually quite good at what it does. Granted, we’ve never seen a ‘super green salad’ on offer in any of the legendary cafés on the boulevard Montparnasse, but, if you want to catch up with friends or take your grandparents out for a decent steak frites with béarnaise sauce and a frankly excellent salted caramel éclair, you could do far worse than this place.

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Whether you’re hanging out one-on-one with a friend you usually only see in group settings or an ex who recently liked six of your pictures on Instagram, you’re not completely certain whether this get-together is a date. But before you’re able to figure that out for sure, you’ll need to choose a place to meet.

You don’t want a French wine bar full of couples looking longingly into each other’s eyes, and you also don’t want a bright, quiet cafe that feels like your college library. It shouldn’t be expensive or very crowded, but you still want it to feel impressive, and you should be able to either leave after half a beer or order some food and hang out for a while.

Whether or not you want this to be a date, two things are for sure: first, you hope this person feels the same way you do. And second, you should go to one of the 12 spots on this guide.

the spots
Rachel Lerro
ITV
$$$$
$$$$ 1615 E Passyunk Ave

ITV is a dimly-lit wine bar in East Passyunk with candles on every table and string lights hung up over the bar, but there are also some aspects of this place that will give you plausible deniability if halfway through the second drink they mention a long-term relationship. There’s a pretty reliable Happy Hour crowd that stops by here most nights, and even after that ends, there are enough groups of friends just hanging out and sharing bottles of wine to pretend like that’s what you thought this was all along.

Society Hill Films
Cry Baby Pasta
$$$$
$$$$ 627 S 3rd St

You’ve been friends since high school, and the first time you got drunk together on peach schnapps at a post-prom party, you promised each other that if you were 30 and still single you’d just marry each other. Well, 30 has passed, and now they’re back in town and want to grab dinner. You’re not sure if this is just a catch-up session or a prequel to a marriage proposal, so you should just see how the night goes at Cry Baby. It’s a casual but nice-looking place in Queen Village with reasonably-priced bowls of pasta and some of the better cocktails in the area. And if you sit at the bar, you can always duck out early when things get weird.

Sam Holland
Martha
$$$$
$$$$ 2113 E York St

If you’re not sure whether this is a date or not, one of the smartest things you can do is plan it during the day, and make it somewhere you can sit outside if it’s nice out. That way, you’re likely surrounded by lots of other people who maybe-are-but-probably-aren’t on dates, and you aren’t wasting an entire night on something that might be going nowhere. Martha is a fantastic afternoon option because it has a huge outdoor patio with a bocce ball court and lots of dogs to pet, and most of the cocktails are under $12. If it goes well, you can always head inside for a full dinner of things like hoagie waffles and tomato pie.

Rachel Lerro
Abe Fisher
$$$$ 1623 Sansom St

You’ve had plans to go out for drinks with your co-worker for weeks, and you were pretty sure it was just to commiserate about how terrible your manager is. But then yesterday, before you left, they said “Excited for tomorrow!” and then you locked eyes for a sort of uncomfortable amount of time. Now, you’re entirely unsure what the deal is. Suggest you go sit at the bar at Abe Fisher. They have a great Happy Hour where most of their small plates are only $5, and the crowd is generally made up of a combination of people looking for a post-work drink with a buddy and couples grabbing a pre-theater cocktail. So whichever one of those categories you end up in, you’ll feel comfortable.

Michael Persico
Irwin’s
$$$$ 1901 S 9th St Fl 8

Even if this ends up not working out, you’re still excited to be going out with someone who - let’s face it - is far cooler than you, so you want to impress them either way. Irwin’s is one of those places that, despite being open for some time, still feels trendy and uniquely Philly. It’s in the Bok Building in South Philly, which used to be a vocational school and to get there you have to walk through the school’s halls and past a gymnasium to take an elevator to the top floor. The actual bar is huge, with graffitied walls and mismatched metal chairs and, aside from the great cocktail menu, they also have a full menu of mostly Mediterranean small and shared plates. Everything about this place is cool - so if something goes wrong, we hate to say it, but it’s probably you.

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Whether it’s dinner with an old coworker who messaged you six months after you left or drinks with that one person you keep running into at parties who you’ve never really been alone with, you can’t really tell if this is a date. You’ll need to figure that out, but you need to choose somewhere to meet up first.

You can’t choose a place that’s difficult to get into and where they explain the life cycle of your parsnip while they serve it to you, but you also shouldn’t pick somewhere that you’d go in sweatpants on a Sunday when you haven’t done laundry in a while. It needs to be casual but still impressive and you should be able to hang out for half a drink or linger over for some small plates until the third time the server asks if you want anything else.

Whether or not you want this to be a date, two things are for sure: first, you hope this person feels the same way you do. And second, you should go to one of the 15 spots on this guide.

the spots
Krescent Carasso
Horsefeather
$$$$
American  in  Haight
$$$$ 528 Divisadero St

You’ve known this person for a while, but you mostly see each other at birthdays and other places where you have friends close by as a safety net. But then they asked you to hang out just the two of you, and you’re wondering if there’s actually something there. Suggest going to Horsefeather as a test run. It’s a cool space that looks a little like a futuristic greenhouse, and it has great drinks, so coming here means you’re at least giving this a fair chance at working out. Plus, if you’re actually hungry, they have things like tacos and a fantastic burger that you can eat while you contemplate if you’d rather just stick to running into them at events that require sparkly hats.

ABV
$$$$
AmericanBar FoodBurgers  in  Mission
$$$$ 3174 16th St

The text messages you get from this person are so vague that all your fortune teller did was shake her head and hand you a referral, but you still want to give it a shot. ABV is a dark bar in the Mission and there are always enough people inside that you won’t feel like your potential date can hear your nervous thoughts about what’s going on between the two of you. Get one of their great cocktails and something to snack on like a charcuterie board. If it goes the way you want it to, you can sit here for hours without it feeling weird, and if not, at least you got a good drink out of the night.

Mary Lagier
Red's Java House
$$$$
$$$$ 551 The Embarcadero

Red’s Java House is an old-school San Francisco burger spot with a back patio that overlooks the Bay Bridge. On a nice afternoon, it’s a near-perfect place to spend a few hours drinking a bucket of beers and eating a burger or two served on a sourdough roll. It’s not usually somewhere you’d bring a later-in-the-game date, but if you find that you’re holding each other’s eye contact for long periods of time, this is a great spot to come where you won’t be interrupted and can talk about everything from career plans to how your worst fear as a child was a monster made of socks.

Krescent Carasso
Bar Crudo
$$$$
SeafoodRaw Bar  in  Nopa
$$$$ 655 Divisadero St.

You’re already somewhat close with this person - not so much that you’ve ever brought up a story about an ex in front of them, but enough that you’re not worried about being able to hold a conversation, even the one about possibly being more than just friends. When it’s time to test the waters to see if a relationship is in the cards, take them to Bar Crudo for Happy Hour. It’s nice enough to be a date spot, but if they seem a little skittish, you can make a comment about how great it is to share the $1.50 Happy Hour oysters with a friend.

Krescent Carasso
Barzotto
$$$$
PastaItalian  in  Mission
$$$$ 1270 Valencia St

Your ex’s friend who never stopped commenting on your stories asked if you’d want to hang out in real life. You’re open to the idea of moving from DMing to texting, but there’s a 12% chance they’re there to ask what went wrong or if you know where their friend’s sunglasses are. This is a perfect time to go to Barzotto, a counter-service Italian place in the Mission. It’s casual enough that you could be meeting for a quick “So, what’s new?” but their housemade pasta is always an impressive move, especially for what you’re paying for it. Get the long noodles and a glass of wine while you try to figure out what’s actually going on here and if they saw you walk in wearing those forgotten sunglasses.

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Dating is a wonderful way to meet new people and possibly find someone to split rent with you. But sometimes you date someone for a couple of months, then wake up one morning and realize that life would be better if you were dating someone else. Or dating no one. It’s probably time to break up with this person (in the nicest way possible, of course).

We’ll be honest - you should probably host this breakup in your home. But maybe you lost your keys or don’t own enough chairs, and if that’s the case, try a bar. You’ll need one that isn’t weirdly quiet or full of people who might recognize you. Pick one of these spots, then start brainstorming how to tell someone that you don’t want to have to text them anymore.

Sandy Noto
Lonesome Rose
$$$$
$$$$ 2101 N. California Ave

This restaurant’s name will set the tone, foreshadowing what’s about to happen. Lonesome Rose is a casual all-day Tex-Mex spot in Logan Square with a light and bright front bar area and very good drinks. While you’re here, go ahead and order the nachos, which you can concentrate on eating while your significant other stammers “wait...what?” over and over again. If it seems like the conversation is going to take a while, but you want a change of scenery, check out Golden Teardrops. It’s the basement bar downstairs that also has a strangely appropriate name.

Happy Village
$$$$ 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

If you would like to do this breakup at someone’s home (just not your own), consider heading to Happy Village, which is like visiting an old house. This Ukrainian Village bar has a ping-pong space inside and a backyard that feels like you’re hanging out at your aunt’s place in the suburbs, except you can leave whenever you want. Which will probably be soon.

Sandy Noto
Good Measure
$$$$
$$$$ 226 W Chicago Ave

Even though it’s new, Good Measure in River North has the atmosphere of a dive bar, with red neon lights and a big wooden bar that looks like it belongs in Classic Chicago Bar Magazine. And since it’s also one of Chicago’s Darkest Restaurants you can easily hide your expressionless face and/or their tears. The cocktail list is well-rounded and affordable, with drinks priced around $12. Text them to meet you here after work when you want a low-key spot to end something.

Ward Eight Bar
$$$$
$$$$ 631 Howard St

This spot on the border of Chicago and Evanston is a great, not-too-well-known option if you don’t want to risk seeing anyone you might want to date in the future. Inside it’s dark and small, with reclaimed church pews for seats. The cocktail menu is straightforward, focusing on excellent renditions of the classics, like Old Fashioneds.

Beatnik On The River
$$$$
$$$$ 180 N Wacker Dr

If you need to do this breakup right after work, rip the band-aid off at Beatnik On The River in the Loop. This place is owned by the same people as Beatnik in West Town and has the same over-the-top atmosphere. The cafe inside has a giant antique marble bar, and there’s a patio full of ornate furniture overlooking the river. If the conversation gets too uncomfortable you can always escape by jumping onto a passing architectural tour boat.

Kuma's Corner
$$$$
$$$$ 2900 W Belmont Ave

Kuma’s has very good burgers, but for your purposes, it’s more important to know that the restaurant plays loud, angry heavy metal. You don’t have to like this kind of music, but if your significant other needs to process their rage, it helps to have Slayer blasting the entire time. Hopefully.

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Casita Del Campo a classic Mexican restaurant in Silver Lake that's been a gay nightlife institution since the 1960s. While you don’t need to cross town to eat the food here, when the time comes to soak up those lethal margaritas with some food, you’re not going to be mad at their large menu of enchiladas, burritos, and big plates of meat. The place has two patios that both get rowdy every night, an indoor dining room with a giant rubber tree in the middle, and a theater in the basement with drag shows on the weekend.

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Every day, you show up to work and either accomplish a sufficient amount or look productive enough not to get fired. And when you’ve either crossed enough tasks off your to-do list or read the entire internet, you deserve to leave the office and get a drink that doesn’t cost $20. So here’s a guide to the best Happy Hours in Manhattan. It’s divided into neighborhoods, with all the details you’ll need on days, times, and drink deals. (If you’d rather hang out in Brooklyn, we have a guide for that as well.)

lower east side
Bonnie Vee
$$$$ 17 Stanton St

When: Mon-Fri, 5-8pm

The Deal: $5 Select Beer; $2 Off All Wine

Bonnie Vee is one LES bar that doesn’t get too crazy. It’s just a little neighborhood spot where you can grab a small table, drink a good cocktail, and eat a grilled cheese. If the weather is nice, check out the backyard, too.

Excuse My French
$$$$
$$$$ 96 Orchard St.

When: Mon-Wed, 5-8pm; Thurs-Sat, 5-7pm; Sun, 2-8pm

The Deal: Two-For-One Select Beer, Wine, And Well Drinks

A quaint bar on the LES with an old-timey atmosphere and some very good small plates. Come here with a first date, and have some charcuterie or a goat cheese tartine.

Noah Devereaux
Black Crescent
$$$$ 76 Clinton St

When: Daily, 6-8pm

The Deal: $1 Oysters; $9 Select Wine; $9 Select Cocktails

Black Crescent is a dark little bar on the LES that happens to serve some great oysters, and also stuffed calamari and duck pot pie. Aside from the food, it’s pretty normal here, so this is a good spot for a low-key Happy Hour.

Eastwood
$$$$ 221 E Broadway

When: Mon-Fri, 5-8pm

The Deal: $2 Off All Drinks

Eastwood is bright and casual, and it sort of feels like a coffee shop with alcohol. It’s beer-and-wine only, there’s some food like schnitzel and falafel, and it’s a good spot to catch up with someone.

169 Bar
$$$$ 169 E Broadway

When: Daily, 12pm-7:30pm

The Deal: $3 Can Of Beer & Well Shot; $1 Off Can Beers & Drafts; $2 Off Everything Else

169 Bar is a classic, fun dive that’s full of colorful lights, potted plants, and a bunch of other decor that looks like it was all purchased for $1 at a yard sale. Bring a group, and prepare for a late night.

Verlaine Bar & Lounge
$$$$ 110 Rivington St

When: Daily, 5-10pm

The Deal: $7 Lychee Martinis; $7 Sangria; $7 Red And White Wine; $4 Narragansett

A minimalist lounge-type place where Happy Hour goes until 10pm. The next time your finance friends complain about never making it to Happy Hour, send them here.

The Magician
$$$$ 118 Rivington St

When: Daily, 5-8pm

The Deal: $5 Well Drinks; $5 Draft Beer And Wine

The Magician is a cash-only bar with a jukebox in the corner, big booths in the back, and drinks that are extremely inexpensive (even when it’s not Happy Hour). If you’re looking for a low-key place..

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