343 Franklin Ave. (Lexington Avenue and Greene Avenue)
Why we love it: Welcoming locals and newcomers alike, Bedford Hill provides a relaxed atmosphere in a neighborhood increasingly seen as the next big thing. Of course, even with its relaxed vibe, the bar manages to squeeze the most out of its modest size, hosting the occasional reading or dance party. Plus, its 6pm to 10pm happy hour helpfully straddles the line between when most happy hours end and late night happy hours start.
Who to bring: The candlelit bar and tables, plus the small space that’s way more cozy than cramped, translates into a great place for a relaxed date. Especially when the windows get fogged up in the winter, and give the bar a sense of romantic isolation on a cold night.
What to order: Seasonal mixed drinks, like the Sake Toddy (sake, cider and tea) will do you right, as will the full sake selection itself. If you’re feeling peckish, grab a sandwich like the pork on black bread ($9), that piles pork, daikon, shredded carrots and hoisin between two perfectly toasted slices of black bread.
Fun fact: For those of you unafraid of cream cheese experimentation (some Team Brokelyn members are terrified of it), Bedford Hill has new “weekly schmear” concoctions every week, like roasted garlic mushroom.—Dave Colon