If you ask me, fall starts when the pumpkin spiced lattes start rolling out but the official first day of the season was last Sunday, the 22nd so now there is no denying it – Summer is over and fall is here! Before the sky darkens and the weather gets too frigid, take your sweetheart out on the town for a fun night of great food, exciting shows and sumptuous cocktails. Here are a few spots on the top of my list:
Finally. The age of re-imagined tapas is upon us, and it’s muy caliente. All-star chef duo, Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette have partnered with some of the biggest names in the industry to bring Barcelona stateside with what is perhaps the most highly anticipated Fall debut: Toro. A sensuous lounge-like space, in which edgy industrialism mingles with subterranean tropical touches, will be home to a wide selection Spanish style tapas and larger format plates that Zagat is already calling “lick your plate delicious.” Before that mind begins to wander, the answer is yes, this is the self-same Toro that has dominated the Boston scene with unique stunners such as pork and snail paella, Spanish pork belly and more.
…But that’s not all. Here in NYC, things are a bit different; make way to the nondescript brick and stone laden corridor adjacent to the restaurant to uncover Bar Toro, a private cocktail laden hideaway of seriously seductive proportions.
Chefs: Jamie Bissonnette, Ken Oringer
85 Tenth Avenue at 15th Street
When blind date newbie Aaron (Zachary Levi; “Chuck” and Thor: The Dark World) is set up with serial-dater Casey (Krysta Rodriguez; “Smash” and The Addams Family), a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a hilarious high-stakes dinner. As the date unfolds in real time, the couple quickly finds that they are not alone on this unpredictable evening. In a delightful and unexpected twist, Casey and Aaron’s inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents, who sing and dance them through ice-breakers, appetizers and potential conversational land mines. Can this couple turn what could be a dating disaster into something special before the check arrives?
222 West 48th Street
Visit the Grape & Vine Bar at the Jade Hotel in Greenwich Village for a specialty cocktail, an imported beer, or a selection from the carefully curated wine collection. With décor reminiscent of the Gilded Age, it is the perfect local hang out for an eclectic mix of New York writers, artists, musicians and business travelers.
52 West 13th Street
VIP Room — which has outposts in Paris, St. Tropez, Monaco, Cannes and Dubai — has taken over the old Kiss & Fly on West 13th Street, and opened just in time for New York Fashion Week in September. VIP founder DJ Jean-Roch Pédri has partnered with Shawn Kolodny, who’s worked for Lavo and Pink Elephant, and Ryan Tarantino, an owner of Kiss & Fly, on the new venue. They’ve fully renovated the space to make it modern, sexy, and sophisticated with state-of-the-art lighting and sound. Celebs who’ve partied at the club’s international locations include Rihanna, Kanye West, Bradley Cooper, Karl Lagerfeld, Cindy Crawford, Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson.
409 West 13th Street at 9th Avenue