Hannah Bronfman knows a thing or two about romance. The DJ and founder of HBFit got engaged to her Canadian sweetheart, DJ and entrepreneur Brendan Fallis, last year—and the pair has been broadcasting their love story and seriously enviable #relationshipgoals every week through their hashtag #SundaysAreforLovers. The couple, who met at Miami's Art Basel in 2011, is shacked up in New York's East Village, so we tapped Bronfman—an NYC native—to show us her favorite romantic haunts around the neighborhood, just in time for Valentine's Day.
"There is always something going on in NYC, and to me, the East Village feels like the last neighborhood that still has its charm from the '70s," she says. "It's full of mom-and-pop shops; tons of raw, vegan, and gluten-free cafés; and lots of delicious ethnic food! It's also full of hidden gems. So many places to eat and so much shopping, tons of vintage shops, artisanal, and gluten-free, kosher, and vegan bakeries. The East Village is the OG hippie neighborhood." Take a tour of Hannah Bronfman's East Village—it may make you fall in love.
"The Jamaican swagger is real," says Bronfman of this Caribbean oasis in the heart of the ABC village. Turn up the heat with thumping reggae, rum punch, and jerk chicken at this walk-in-only spot, great for last-minute plans. "This place is good vibes only," Bronfman says. "Say it's your birthday; I dare you."
Miss Lily's | 109 Avenue A, New York
"If you're in the mood to be adventurous, I highly suggest Babu Ji," says Bronfman of the boisterous contemporary Indian street food hot spot. "It's a little pricey, but the food is amazing, and it will probably be packed, which means the vibe is a bit loud and festive."
Babu Ji | 175 Avenue B, New York
"We had our engagement anniversary dinner at this incredible omakase sushi bar," says the DJ. The intimate Japanese restaurant received three stars from infamous New York Times food critic Pete Wells after opening in 2015—an achievement that's no easy feat. Never missing a beat, Bronfman adds, "they played hip-hop, and the food and vibe were so on point."
Shuko | 47 East 12th Street, New York
"The Infatuation said that The Eddy was like a surprisingly great first date with a hot girl," jokes Bronfman. "I couldn't agree more." For Valentine's Day, the East Village restaurant is serving a six-course tasting menu that boasts a healthy serving of uni, tea-cured hamachi, truffle gnocchi, slow-roasted lobster, and rosemary panna cotta.
The Eddy | 342 East Sixth Street, New York
When we asked Bronfman her favorite weekend activity, she exclaimed, "Brunch is an activity, right?!" This young entrepreneur takes advantage of weekend mornings to try new restaurants in the neighborhood. The next ones on her list: Root & Bone, a Southern joint with killer fried chicken; Jeepney, a Filipino gastropub; and Tim Ho Wan, the newest 24-hour dim sum hot spot also known as the world's most inexpensive Michelin-starred restaurant.
Root & Bone | 200 East Third Street, New York
Jeepney | 201 First Avenue, New York
Tim Ho Wan | 85 Fourth Avenue, New York
When she's not trying out the newest brunch haunt, Bronfman and her fiancé can be found noshing on Montréal-style bagels—something we suspect may have to do with her father's Montréal heritage and Fallis's Canadian background. "Nothing says 'I love you' than an everything bagel with lox," she says. We couldn't agree more.
Black Seed Bagels | 176 First Avenue, New York
For an evening filled with exquisite cocktails and shoulder-brushing with beautiful people, Bronfman turns to her favorites, Indochine and Omar's. "Indochine is always a scene of good-looking people," she says of the iconic '80s-era French-Vietnamese institution and fashion week hot spot. "Omar's is located in the basement of a townhouse," says the deejay of the private dining club. "The vibes are chic and cozy."
Indochine | 430 Lafayette Street, New York
Omar's | 21 West Ninth Street, New York
On a more casual night, Bronfman may be found sipping on cocktails at iconic Death & Co, "an old-school cocktail bar with cozy corner tables," or Desnuda, "a cozy cute ceviche bar." At 5 p.m., she and Fallis may be sipping on oysters and cocktails at The Mermaid Inn: "Oysters are an aphrodisiac, and The Mermaid Inn has a great happy hour." For non-drinkers, she recommends Brodo: "The secret sipping broth and my latest obsession," she says of the Hearth-adjacent bone broth counter. "There are so many different flavors to try, and I can't get enough."
Death & Co. | 433 East Sixth Street, New York
Desnuda | 122 East Seventh Street, New York
The Mermaid Inn | 96 Second Avenue, New York
Brodo | 200 First Avenue, New York
The HBFit founder is not one to neglect a workout, even after a night of drinking. "Nothing says romance than working up a sweat and pulsing your pelvic floor, am I right? Try Nofar's class at Sal Anthony's Movement Salon," she recommends.
To sweat it out without the workout, try the Russian and Turkish Bath House: "It's a staple of the East Village, but be sure to check what day it is, because there are days when it's men only."
Sal Anthony's Movement Salon | 190 Third Avenue, New York
Russian and Turkish Baths | 268 East 10th Street, New York
"I love a good staycation, and The Bowery Hotel is my go-to," says Bronfman of the Sean MacPherson–designed celebrity haunt. "I love the room service, and the general vibe is chic and cool. And how cute is a pic with the Bowery teddy bear on your bed?" If you're not in the market for a guest room, drop into the hotel lobby for a cocktail: "The lobby scene is where it's at."
The Bowery Hotel | 335 Bowery, New York
Bronfman also recommends Gramercy Park Hotel: "It's the home of Rose Bar—an NYC staple. It's a classic swanky hotel with lots of velvet in the rooms." For special nights, she swears by The Standard East: "A great addition to the East Village on Cooper Square. The restaurant Narcissa is amazing, and the roof of the hotel has insane views. It is very romantic, especially if you were going to pop the question after a fab dinner or brunch at the restaurant."
Gramercy Park Hotel | 2 Lexington Avenue, New York
The Standard East | 25 Cooper Square, New York
See & Shop
When she's not frequenting the East Village's greatest restaurants, deejaying at a fashion week event, or trying out the latest workout, this art enthusiast can be found checking out the latest galleries. Her favorites: The New Museum, Malborough Chelsea, and The Hole Gallery. "Located right on the Bowery, The Hole usually has a cool pop-up shop to the left of the gallery," she notes.
She also appreciates a good show at La Mama's Experimental Theatre: "They always have cool things going on, so it's worth checking out," or Stomp: "A classic NYC show that has been running literally forever."
The New Museum | 235 Bowery, New York
Malborough Chelsea | 331 Broome Street, New York
The Hole Gallery | 312 Bowery, New York
La Mama's | 66 East Fourth Street, New York
Stomp | 126 Second Avenue, New York
When exercising her shopping muscle, Bronfman has a few favorite go-tos: Curve, which is "easy for shopping with the boo because there are comfy couches for him to sit on"; Live Live, an organic raw foods and natural skincare shop "for all the health nerds"; John Derian, an iconic home décor and gift shop ("I love picking up something cute for the house there"); and Flower Power: "It's something I haven't found anywhere else. It's an herb shop where you can find rose petals and fresh herbs. It is also really beautifully displayed."
Curve | 57 Bond Street, New York
Live Live | 261 East 10th Street, New York
John Derian | 6 East Second Street, New York
Flower Power | 409 East Ninth Street, New York
Looking to treat your S.O. to something special this Valentine's Day? Here are more cool things to do in New York.