If you can see past the Canal Street souvenir shops and crowded tourist traps, you might just find a few hideaway bars and bona fide eateries to help shape an unexpectedly top-notch date night in one of lower Manhattan’s most well-known neighborhoods.
EAT: Bring Your Appetite to Spicy Village
This hidden gem serves 12 different types of hand-pulled authentic huimei—Henan-style noodles that date back to the Tang Dynasty from more than 800 years ago—all for less than $10. Who said a cheap date was a bad thing? 68 Forsyth Street (between Hester and Grand Streets)
DO: Capture Your Aura at Magic Jewelry
Despite the name, bewitched baubles aren’t the star of this Chinatown shop. It’s actually a Polaroid camera. Have your picture taken and find out what kind of energy you’re putting out into the world. 238 Canal Street (between Centre and Baxter Streets)
DRINK: Fill Out a Boozy Script at Apotheke
Lab coat–wearing bartenders serve a long list of medicinal cocktails inside this pharmacy-style speakeasy. Each drink falls under a unique category, such as Stimulants, Stress Relievers, and Painkillers. But for date night, we suggest sipping the Deal Closer from the Aphrodisiacs menu, which includes vodka, agave, vanilla essence, and local Chinatown herbs. 9 Doyers Street (between Pell Street and Chatham Square)