In trying to find a way to have a special elegant evening out without breaking the bank on a full meal with my girlfriend, I'm looking for a mellow place to have cocktails and a snack. We love dressing up and while you can dress up anywhere, we'd like an atmosphere that feels special and out of the ordinary. Ideally they would have good cocktails (don't have to be extraordinary), small plates, and wouldn't be a loud meat-market style atmosphere.
I'm going to nix Eastern Standard because I go a lot, and I think Drink is a little more lively than we're looking for. I'm thinking the salon at L'Espalier, the bar at No. 9, or the bar at Clio. Having never been to the bar at any of these and knowing they are small, are there any you would recommend? Do any of these take reservations for the bar? When is the best time to snag a seat at one of these places?
Any other recommendations? Any of the hotel bars that could work?