The Bronx is notably most famous for housing America’s largest zoo and Yankee stadium. The stadium area is peppered with famous local bars that pay homage to NYC’s baseball legacy. While you won’t be visiting outside venues in this weather, such as the notoriously famous Skyline Drive-in/Walk-in Movie Theater that offers stunning views of NYC and the East River, there are plenty of diverse options to impress your date.
Where will you take your date this Valentine’s Day?
As the pandemic maintains a stronghold, some of the best venues are temporarily closed, such as the Showman’s Jazz Club and Gin Fizz. But have no fear. Short of picking up your gifts, candy, or flowers, we did our best to find you amazing borough entertainment.
So gentlemen, grab that dinner jacket (you know, the one that makes you look in better shape than Cristiano Ronaldo) and take a final, self-appreciative look in the mirror before heading out. Ladies, you can take a bit longer. After all, we know it takes effort to look this good, and no one could think for a minute that you rolled out of bed looking this gorgeous!
Bronx Museum of the Arts
The Bronx Museum of the Arts is the former home of the Young Israel of the Concourse synagogue, donated by the city. The museum focuses on contemporary art and the borough’s diverse cultures. The permanent collection consists of over 2000 Asian, Latin American, and African-American artworks and depicts political and social themes.
During the 19th century, the Bronx saw an influx of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Italy, and Eastern Europe. By the 20th century, the immigration demographics changed to include countries from the Caribbean region such as Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and African-Americans migrating from the southern states, all of whom are represented in the museum.
The Bronx saw a deep decline in population from the 1960s until the 1990s, resulting in urban decay. Since the 1990s, the Bronx revitalization plan has been underway. In 1997 the Bronx was designated an all-American city by the national civic league acknowledging the improvements. What better way to honor such achievement than by visiting this celebrated location with a hot date?
Admission to the museum is free.
La Casa Grande Cigars
For Valentine’s Day, consider a pre-dinner event at La Casa Grande Cigars, open from 6 to 9 PM. A couple’s Admission ticket costs $100 (single $65) and includes a bottle of wine, unlimited sushi, and two cigars. The event features a cash bar and cigar rolling classes. Before the event, consider taking a class to learn about cigar shine, veins, texture, dust versus mold, and flavor profiles. You will also learn how to light/cut/store a cigar and, most importantly, how to smoke a cigar. You can even purchase one of their signature baskets to take home. Experienced artisans roll the cigars at the Bronx Arthur Avenue Retail Market. This quaint, timeless, historical market is worth exploring by itself. As you browse, keep in mind that the darker the cigar, the more robust the smoke flavor. The thicker cigars tend to have more complex flavors since they feature blends from different tobacco types. Our final tip? Resist the temptation of biting off the end of your cigar and invest in a quality, double-blade cutter and cedar matches.
Jake’s Steakhouse offers a casual, clubby, sophisticated vibe, multi-level space, and Van Cortlandt Park’s gorgeous views. As you arrive, consider using the valet as parking can be difficult. Inside, the atmosphere is warm, industrial, and spacious, with suspended lighting and a wooden bar. Giant upstairs windows proudly display a gorgeous view of the park. If you prefer a casual experience, the bar area offers a TV with sports.
The menu features a raw bar. Notable appetizers include Mussels Fra Diavolo, Nueske’s thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, tuna tartare tower, and crabcakes. If you’re not in the mood for a steak (why you wouldn’t be in a place like this is beyond me), consider Zuppa di Pesce, seared salmon with shiitake mushrooms/Dijon white wine sauce, or Jake’s famous baby back ribs. At Jake’s, the king of the meal is the steak. I wholeheartedly recommend the 35-day dry-aged bone-in ribeye and the Colorado rack of lamb.
This Latin American tapas restaurant and bar features small/shareable bites, wine, creative cocktails (great mojitos), and live entertainment. The vibe is festive, industrial-chic with wood paneling, tall ceilings, and a backlit bar.
The notable items on the menu include Caldo Gallego, shrimp Mofonguito, grilled octopus, Suquet, Lamb chops with truffle/chili/ancho mashed yuca red wine reduction, pulpo ceviche, tostones Iberico, and almejas. As your entrée, try the seafood paella, with extra virgin olive oil on the side, or filet mignon. For dessert, share the Crema Catalana and ask the chef to caramelize the custard just a bit more than usual.
With the owner, Julio, on-site and carefully monitoring the establishment, the locals rave about the menu and the food. Julio’s mother is the chef and pours her motherly love and care into every dish.
An Beal Bocht Cafe
An Beal Bocht Cafe (the “poor mouth” in Gaelic) is a music, theater, comedy, poetry venue and an Irish pub all rolled into one. The name was inspired by a famous Irish novel by Flann O’Brien, depicting life and poverty in Ireland.
The friendly staff serves Irish classics such as bangers and mash and beef shepherd’s pie. If you arrive early for brunch, try the traditional Irish breakfast with black pudding, Irish bacon on the side, and enjoy a complimentary jalapeño-infused Bloody Mary. In partnership with the Poor Mouth Theater, An Beal Bocht Café presents music and events. Since 1991 this Irish pub fostered an inclusive atmosphere for artists/performers and became a local favorite. Since then, the café has expanded into an art gallery and a small theater space. Consult their website calendar for more information.
We raise a glass of bubbly to your success. As you head back home happy and fulfilled, who knows what else that evening promises. We wish you and your love a Happy Valentine’s Day 2022!
Want to try another borough for a first date option? Check out these other locations!