The McCarren Park ice rink opens up today. And if there is anything we’ve learned from late-80s/early-90s romantic comedies, it’s that ice skating is the perfect place to take a date. If you’re good at it, you can show off. If you’re bad at it, you’ll have an excuse to hold hands.
When you’re done doing triple-lutzes (or falling on butt-ses), you can go warm up with a nice cup of hot chocolate. We found five great, cozy cafes within walking distance of the rink where you can cuddle up with your guy or gal and sip cocoa like kings.
447 Graham Ave.
This little cafe is by far the most interesting of the group, and the smallest. It bills itself as “Brooklyn’s first Euro-style Mexican coffee bar” and comes off as exactly that. The walls are adorned with portraits of Mexican wrestlers and senoritas, tamales are available “every day!!” and the counter is covered in brightly-covered Day of the Dead tiles. The spicy hot chocolate ($3.75), “El Chicano,” is delicious. There are only four counter seats, so be prepared to drink it sitting on the bench outside the store.
The Blue Stove
415 Graham Ave.
By far the biggest of the five, The Blue Stove is dominated by one giant table that runs the length of the cafe. It is also full-on pie shop with an excellent selection of sweets to go with your cup of cocoa. Hot chocolate will run you $3.00 for a small and $3.25 for a large. Weekends may be a bit tough when brunchers take over the place.
596 Manhattan Ave.
Charlotte is a wood-paneled dream just down the street from Van Leeuwen. It has $4 hot chocolate, a large selection of French tarts, cakes, and pastries ranging from $2 to $6 and a few standard two-person tables. Not a lot of room to snuggle, but the baristas are cute in case your date goes south.
167 N 7th St.
Konditori in Williamsburg is the Manhattan branch’s sister cafe. It has slightly more room than the others, and a huge selection of drinks with a distinct Swedish flair (outside benches were occupied by what could only be Scandinavians direct from of central casting). Konditori was also the cheapest at $2.25 for a “liten” (small) and $2.75 for a “stor” (large). Now if only they had a sauna…
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
632 Manhattan Ave.
Van Leeuwen, the darling ice cream vendor of Manhattan, has a tiny outpost just on the cusp of Greenpoint. They certainly have Manhattan prices: a hot cocoa costs $4.50. They do have something we’ve never seen before: iced hot cocoa. Sounds intriguing, but it’s also 50 cents more expensive. Their three marble-topped tables can hold a maximum of six, maybe seven people, so make sure you’re willing to hang out outside if the place is packed.