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Netflix wants you to bring your first date to Brooklyn

Netflix’s new dating show features some Brooklyn venues — but are they really the best place to take your date?

March 19, 2019 Sara Bosworth
A new Netflix show about dating in New York features five Brooklyn spots, including Lighthouse in Williamsburg. Photo courtesy of Lighthouse.
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Brooklyn is the perfect place for a first date — according to Netflix, that is.

The streaming platform dropped a new series on Valentine’s Day this year called “Dating Around,” a slightly offbeat reality show about dating in the 21st century.

The premise: one ambitious (and attractive) single person goes out on the exact same first date with five different candidates before choosing one of them for a second date. The location: New York City — and, more frequently than not, Brooklyn.

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Because the concept of TV getting Brooklyn wrong is not unheard of, we followed up with each of the venues to see if they were, in fact, ideal places to bring your Hinge date. Plus, we want to hear from you. Where’s your go-to first date spot in Brooklyn? Let us know in the comments.

The Secret Side

Secret Side. Photo courtesy of the Tillary Hotel
Photo courtesy of the Tillary Hotel

The gist: The bar at Downtown Brooklyn’s ritzy Tillary Hotel is small (good for an intimate conversation) but a bit more than a hop, skip and a jump away from a subway station (bad for making a quick escape). In the summer months, a patio decorated with wooden picnic-style tables and fairy lights offers a dreamy space for cocktails, slightly offset by the sounds of frustrated traffic from the intersection of Tillary Street and Flatbush Avenue below.

Our take: If your date happens to be visiting from out of town and staying at a hotel in Downtown Brooklyn, this is a safe bet. A shelf of board games offers an escape from less-than stimulating conversation, and fairy lights are to romance what butter is to popcorn (which the bar also serves). But if you’re looking for somewhere more casual, the second floor of a boutique hotel at one of Brooklyn’s busiest intersections is probably not ideal.

The Secret Side at Tillary Hotel; 85 Flatbush Ave. Ext.


Photo via Samui
Photo via Samui

The gist: You’ve probably seen the brightly painted exterior of this Southeast Asian restaurant in the Brooklyn Navy Yard on your Instagram feed. The cavernous interior, once a garage, is decorated in turquoise and geometric light structures and delivers that sense of awe (colored by a little uneasiness) that comes from encountering a space in Brooklyn that is — well — spacious. The menu leans toward Thai-with-a-twist, and the drinks are creative, if a little sweet.

Our take: Huge spaces aren’t always great for dates, but the velvety booths and the dim lighting of Samui create little pockets of privacy. The noise volume is low, adding a little pressure to keep the conversation flowing. All in all, the atmosphere is a bit intense for a first date — unless you’re very confident in your charisma — but would be great for a more focused second or third meetup.

Samui; 15 Vanderbilt Ave.


Photo courtesy of Lighthouse
Photo courtesy of Lighthouse.

The gist: This Williamsburg restaurant takes its name from its shape: The dining room is in the bottom of a six-story triangular building at the intersection of Borinquen Place and Keap Street. The seating ranges from a sleek bar to low, benched tables lining the windows. The menu favors fresh, seasonal, locally-sourced food and biodynamic wines.

Our take: The combination of tight seating, fresh, clean food and lively volume make this an ideal first date spot: sexy, animated, but low-maintenance. The sustainable menu is a great jumping off point if you’re trying to impress your date with your eco-consciousness. (This is a real thing that people do here, according to one of the bartenders.) Plus, they serve oysters.

Lighthouse; 145 Borinquen Place

Le Barricou

Photo courtesy of Claire Parks
Photo courtesy of Claire Parks

The gist: A French bistro set back on a less-traversed Williamsburg block, Le Barricou targets regular customers with a friendly wait staff, a hearty menu and Instagram-famous pancakes. A lot of thought has gone into making the space feel both homey and decadent, from a cozy fireplace and sofa in the back room to Parisian-style tables sitting outside the front door.

Our take: This place is the most romantic of the lot — functioning fireplace, jazzy music, country-style fare — but “romantic” does not always equal ideal first date. Le Barricou is the place you want to come back over and over again, so if you’re confident in your prospects with your dining partner, great. If not, best to save this spot for the real thing.

Le Barricou; 533 Grand St.


Eagle photo by Nikola Jocic
Eagle photo by Nikola Jocic.

The gist: Now at the Bed-Stuy spot previously occupied by Dekalb Restaurant, Baron’s offers mostly farm-to-table fare ranging from duck to saffron shrimp risotto to corn griddle cake. Opt for bar seating, a table in front of the frosted glass doors or a seat in the back room, which is lined with repurposed windows that light up in different colors, depending on the mood of the bar manager.

Our take: Come for affordable drinks and the back-room lighting — stay for the board games and the playlist. The food is fine, the staff is friendly, and everyone looks good when bathed in pinkish glow.

Baron’s; 564 Dekalb Ave.

Follow reporter Sara Bosworth on Twitter.

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