Oh, those three little words — words that are music to the ears of women everywhere: Girls. Night. Out. And while every gal knows exactly what they mean, the emotions they elicit depend on the night, the group, and the mood. Sometimes everyone wants to do it up big, in heels, lashes, and leather pants, cocktail in hand, while other nights call for a laid-back setting, a stimulating activity, or just a low-key groove in comfy flats and yoga pants (albeit a really nice pair). Bottom line? Girls’ night out with your besties (GNO if you’re texting) can take on a variety of forms, and this county offers a world of ways for female bonding to blossom.
Ladies with hardcore cocktailing on the agenda seek out evening elixirs that are bold, precise, and yummy all at once, and there are no more meticulous mixologists than those behind the bar at The Blind Pig of Westchester in Downtown White Plains. In an alluring setting, reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy, inventive cocktails are born from finely curated ingredients with clever monikers that beckon both the curious and the thirsty —two of which seem particularly conducive to GNO get-togethers: the tropical East Coast Angel, with aged rhum agricole, banana, coconut, and mango, and the sweet and spicy Red Hot Mama (tequila, red bell pepper, habanero, and charred pineapple), which sums it up for some. Pork-belly bao buns, Wagyu sliders with bacon jam, and customizable charcuterie boards act as a preemptive day-after rescue crew.
A hot scene and cooling Hudson River vistas illuminate the night at Tarrytown’s RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen, where the You Glow Girl cocktail sets a definitive tone, with organic strawberry vodka, intense ginger liqueur, honey and vanilla simple syrup, lemon, and pineapple. The locally sourced Hudson Valley cheese plate is a no-brainer starter, while pasture-raised lamb meatballs and artisan wood-fired pizzas provide a solid base.
Equally hip, riverside, and loaded with libations and liquid vistas, 3 Westerly, in Ossining, draws GNO revelers with its sophisticated interiors, outdoor firepits, and on-trend, girl-crazy cocktails, like Blame It on the Aperol, with Aperol, Prosecco, and fresh grapefruit. Highly shareable blistered shishito peppers, sushi rolls, and a big, fat German pretzel with Guinness sauce mean you can’t blame a rough morning on a lack of tummy-coating fare.
At Bronxville’s Park 143 Bistro & Fish, put-together pals of all ages and stages slide into slick, leopard-patterned banquettes for a sip from the top-notch cocktail list, while mom friends giggle over the Mother’s Little Helper blend of vodka, grapefruit, ginger, and mint — which pairs perfectly with a pot from the mussels menu (go for the drunken mussels) or a selection from the elevated taco list.
Gal groups looking to sit back, settle in, and spend some serious face time with their friends tend to flock to the county’s more casual eateries, where the food and drink offerings are simpler, yet the hunger for a fun night is fully satisfied. Comfy flats and jeans are the style at down-home neighborhood pizza-and-beer joints, like Port Chester’s Colony Grill. The only big decisions here are bottles versus pitchers from the extensive brew list and whether to top the cracker-thin crust with the signature hot oil that put this place (it’s actually an Irish pub) on the map and on the radar of groups who enjoy easy eats paired with welcoming, lively surrounds.
Pleasantville or Scarsdale, at a gleaming wood table or out on the torch-warmed patio, Wood & Fire hits all the right notes for a relaxed yet festive GNO. Imported San Marzano tomatoes top most pies, from the trusty classico and Margherita thin-crust iterations to the outside-the-box burrata beauty with truffles. More than a dozen beers populate the booze menu, along with rotating craft selections on tap.
It’s a sweet-16 party of pizza possibilities at 901 Wood Burning Kitchen & Bar, in Shrub Oak, where banquettes line the walls, and a lengthy bar invites convivial gatherings. Imported San Marzano tomatoes and hot oil take center stage here, too, but the real draw is the toppings that don’t seem to belong on pizza but work like magic on a circular silver platter. A handful of selections nod to the ladies, like the Adrianna Bella, with fresh mozz, burrata, fig jam, and toasted pumpkin seeds, and the Lily Rose, topped with goat cheese, prosciutto, honey, and pistachios. Beer choices abound, but the sangria and mule menus are hard to resist.
After a long day at work or busy weekend morning, it might be necessary to ease into quality time with your soul sisters via an activity to calm the collective mind, body, and spirit. At Balance Yoga & Wellness, in Larchmont, yoga classes are offered in a late-afternoon time slot (read: cocktail hour) and at sunset seven days a week. Carry the post-class chill long into the night, with Mediterranean-inspired Turkish bites at Turquoise, where Buddha-approved vegetarian options (hot and cold mezze plates, shrimp and veggie kabobs) are plentiful, and the crimson, pillow-adorned sectional beckons meaningful girl talk.
At the edge of Long Island Sound, the stunning and imposing Wainwright House in Rye is the sublime setting for evening, in-person (depending on pandemic restrictions) Mindfulness Meditation classes, where participants learn techniques to silence the mind, tune into the senses, and be present. Such tranquil and lofty lessons can be further refined just down the road, at La Panetière, where fine French cuisine commands in-the-moment appreciation by dames desiring a GNO on an incomparable scale.
Weather permitting, a pre-party, side-by-side sunset massage in a rooftop cabana at Dobbs Ferry’s Oasis Day Spa will wash away the day, work out any kinks, and set a positive tone for the evening ahead. Plus, the sky-topped garden setting is the perfect place to catch up while your comrades enjoy their treatments. Assuming everyone’s been rubbed into a ravenous case of the munchies, grab a resy nearby at The Cookery for the celebrated Swine & Wine Pig Dinner, where the chef carves the roast tableside and a splash of red or white accompanies each course.
A night at home in yoga pants doesn’t have to be a solo or (heaven help us) family-themed event when there’s nothing wrong (and a whole lot right) with staying put once in a blue moon and bringing the party — and a few choice activities — home to you.
In fact, it would be a challenge to find a friend who wouldn’t enjoy a glass of Prosecco in one hand while the other hand receives a professional manicure by a licensed nail tech from ManiPlease, a mobile mani/pedi shop based in New Rochelle. It’s everything you’d expect from a salon service but in the comfort of your own space and with the added benefit of cruelty-free polishes and single-use tools for classic or gel manicures and pedicures.
For ladies obsessed with lashes and brows (and who isn’t these days?), enlist the in-home services of Laureen de Vera of La Vera Lashes and Brows, based in Peekskill and Chappaqua. A certified lash artist and licensed esthetician, de Vera brings the glam to girls’ night with lifts and tints for lashes (lash extensions take place in a professional setting only), while brows can be waxed, tinted, or laminated.
Amid the self-care, glamification, and rosé, a girl’s gotta eat, and Chef Geoff Rudaw of the Pelham-based Westchester Culinary Society makes personal kitchen calls to teach groups how to cook like a pro from The Plaza (he is one, after all). Don’t want to be bothered with the dishes? Let Chef Geoff prepare the meal himself, while you and your buddies sit back and chit chat.
Banding together with your besties to unleash your inner artist is one of the hottest trends among women in Westchester, and at Muse Paintbar (White Plains, Yonkers), girl groups do some serious painting under the tutelage of someone who was born with a gift. Put your heads together and pick the scene you’d like to create in advance, reserve spots at the easel, show up at happy hour or dinnertime, and rest assured: No artistic know-how or experience is necessary, and while the creativity may be fueled by the wine and small-bites menu, everyone leaves with a canvas-sized souvenir of their own making. Pro tip: Muse’s new LUMIFY offering uses lightbox technology to project a traceable image onto the canvas, increasing your morning-after ability to impress the pants off your SO.
It’s a similar scene at The Pottery Factory, in Mount Kisco, where paint-and-sip is just the beginning for BFFs who want to create and cocktail as one. Here, your girls are guided, step by step, to paint Impressionistic images on wine glasses and premade pottery pieces. There’s also a cozy blanket-weaving session and the standout glass-fusing class, in which your sisterhood of students will use precut specialty glass to create sparkling, colorful, intricate works of art. All you need is an open mind and your own food and drink to make it a legit party.
Tossing inhibitions to the wind, turning up the tunes, and moving to the rhythm of the music is a proven method for cutting loose on a night out with your gal pals, and at Josie’s International School of Dance, in Hawthorne, the evenings come alive with beginner and intermediate classes in salsa, flamenco, tango, all-the-rage bachata (which translates, literally, to “a party, good time”), and belly dancing. Power down after kicking up your heels at The Barley House, in neighboring Thornwood, and keep the Latin theme humming with a spicy blood-orange marg swirled with jalapeño-infused tequila, accompanied by house-made guac or a heavier hit from the not-to-be-missed taco and empanada lineup.
Ladies looking to take their two-step, well, a step farther, opt for pole-dancing lessons at White Plains’ Pole Position, where early-evening beginner classes kick off once a week and private group classes happen when the mood hits (by appointment). It’s a no-holds-barred opportunity to spin, slide, and work it (baby), unleashing your alter-ego in ways that would leave your more-buttoned-up besties clutching their pearls. Your group picks the song, what to wear, and an on-theme, afterschool venue, like The Brazen Fox, for a signature Passion Twirl cocktail and endless laugh-infused chatter about how what happens at GNO stays at GNO.
On the tamer side but still likely to cause a howl or two, a Full Moon Hike at Rockefeller State Park Preserve, in Pleasantville, steps off monthly after dark (natch); reservations and flashlights are required. Fuel up first with a round of Sunset Dancers (Tito’s, cranberry, and fresh citrus) and a few fig and bacon flatbreads at nearby TBoy’s Bistro in Sleepy Hollow.