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Memorable places to meet for a cocktail

A cocktail from Waterzooi in Garden City.

A cocktail from Waterzooi in Garden City. Credit: Jonathan Young

A little treat goes a long way, especially in a gloomy economy. For a different kind of night out, try enjoying a cocktail while relaxing in a lovely lounge. Whether you're on a first date, looking to entertain a client or simply spend some quality time with your spouse, here are some of Long Island's more memorable places to meet for a drink.

EXTREME AMBIENCE

Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar: 69 Deer Park Ave., Babylon, 631-321-1175, barriquekitchenandwinebar.com

From the brick alleyway entrance to the warm, woodsy decor, the atmosphere inside this new Babylon wine bar is remarkably European. Amid a pleasant patter of conversation, patrons can select from an extensive wine list - almost 150 varieties. Servings come in 3-ounce tastings (about $5) or full 6-ounce glass (most $8 or less).

Limani: 1043 Northern Blvd., Roslyn, 516-869-8989, limaniny.com

With its high ceiling and fancy fixtures, the regal cocktail area at Limani is bound to impress. You'll pay about $30 to $50 for dinner entrees in the main restaurant, but you can soak in the atmosphere with a glass of wine ($10-$14) or specialty cocktail ($14-$16), such as the Lady Godiva, with Stoli vanilla and Bailey's mint chocolate liqueur.

ENJOY THE VIEW

L'Onda Lounge: 80 W. Broadway, Long Beach, 516-889-1300, allegriahotel.com

Although many beachfront establishments scale back during the colder months, L'Onda offers a year-round view of the ocean and the Long Beach boardwalk. Take a seat beside big windows for a seaside gander or cozy up on white couches beside the fireplace with a smart cocktail - try the Huckleberry Cosmo ($12), made with 44 North Huckleberry vodka.

Library Café: 274 Main St., Farmingdale, 516-752-7678, thelibrarycafe.com

A more casual spot that's a lot to look at, with two-story windows and old-fashioned twinkling gas lamps at the entrance. Inside, a long wooden bar gives patrons a front seat to a mirrored wall with liquor bottles shelved to the rafters (bartenders climb built-in ladders to retrieve them). The drink menu takes a literary turn, too, with choices such as "Dante's Inferno" and "Tom Clancy's Hunt for Red October."

JOIN THE CROWD

Waterzooi: 850 Franklin Ave., Garden City, 516-877-2177, waterzooi.com

This Belgian bistro hosts a steady happy-hour crowd that starts arriving at 5 p.m. to imbibe exotic beers and ales ($6-$16) in the bar area as the pleasing aroma of frites and cheese fondues wafts in from the kitchen.

Four Food Studio: 515 Broadhollow Rd, Melville, 631-577-4444, fourfoodstudio.com

Easily spotted on Route 110 with its signature blue-lit trees, Four Food Studio is an always-busy spot that's driven by a well-dressed crowd that fills the Art Deco lounge seating, talking over loud dance music. Cocktails (about $14) veer toward the creative, such as the "Candy Shop," a watermelon martini garnished with Pop Rocks and a lollipop. An oversized screen behind the bar plays oddly intriguing video art.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

Porto Vivo: 7 Gerard St., Huntington, 631-385-8486, porto-vivo.com

 In the market for something different? This three-story upscale restaurant has a four-sided bar and lounge on its second level that serves wine by the glass ($9-$13) and imaginative cocktails ($10-$12), ranging from the Rhubarb Bellini (Prosecco and rhubarb puree) to the Moscow Mule (Stoli vodka, ginger beer and lime juice).

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