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Perfect Date Bars in NYC—For Every Phase Of A Relationship

Dating in New York is notoriously hard: not only are you competing in one of the most heavily populated cities in the world, but now there are, like, 50 apps so you don’t even need to leave your house to get a good flirt on. Thankfully, everyone here is equally alone and miserable, so your chances aren’t all that bad of eventually finding a fulfilling relationship. Here are some things to do in each and every stage of your life together, until you break up around January.

By / January 27, 2016

For a Random Hookup (Like, Where You Meet at a Bar)
Beauty Bar
E 14th St

Sorry, but the age of the hookup bar is gone. And unless you’re still one of those people who goes to Union Pool at 2AM on a weeknight, there’s no such thing as a sure thing anymore. That said, the grungy, glittery, old-world appeal of Beauty Bar is as good a spot as any to try your luck. It’s central, the drinks are good, and the people there are always down for a good time. You might just end up having a good, non-ironic time with some pals, and you might just bump into someone doing the same thing. Worth a shot.

When You’re Not *Positive* it’s a Date
Duck Duck

Unfortunately, this can happen quite a lot, and not even the best locale in the land can help land a hottie if They’re Just Not That Into You. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a good time! And why not embrace the mystery? Duck Duck at the very least has you covered in terms of a fun vibe. It’s large, comfortable, and there’s a dartboard for some non-vocal flirting if you’re really struggling for a line.

The First Date
One Mile House

You can’t go wrong with a traditional American pub. It’s not so dive-y that you’ll look like a sketchy cheapskate, but it’s not so restaurant-y that you’ll look like a lovestruck weirdo trying to lock it down on day one. One Mile House’s casual, beer-soaked, eatery vibe is helped by the extensive patio out back, where you can find a quiet corner and really get to know each other, if you know what I mean (exchanging middle names, identifying your top 3 favorite dog breeds, that kind of thing).

The “Morning After”
Gordon Bennett

Show some creative flair with your choice for a hangover breakfast with your new beloved: hit up an English Pub Food bar. You won’t look crass ordering your 10AM Bloody Mary, and you’ll get bonus points for everything on the menu being huge and artery-clogging. No judgments. After that, you’re only a block away from the Williamsburg bridge for a nice, relaxing stroll so that you can burn off a tiny fraction of all the calories you just consumed.

The Second Date
Bocce at Twist and Smash’d

The beginnings of any relationship are always a whirlwind of late nights, and, let’s face it, heavy drinking. Why not take a night off and head for a cute, wholesome game of bocce ball? You’ll get the chance to show off your skills/look like you’re losing graciously, and you won’t wake up feeling like someone is bashing your head like a gong all morning.

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Right before we were told we're "too competitive."

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For When you Want to Drink Too Much and Decide that Getting a Hotel Room Would be the Best Idea Ever
Rolf’s German Restaurant

Screw moderation! Get blasted and blow all those credit card points on a night of passion in a bedroom that overlooks a couple of water towers and an industrial air conditioner! First, though, you gotta seal the deal. Rolf’s offers not only some of the best german food in town, but when’s the last time you’ve seen a bar that keeps its Christmas decorations up year-round? Also German beer was famously designed to be consumed in liters, so there’s really no way you’re going to be leaving Rolf’s in any mood to be making good decisions. As for the hotel, might we recommend the charming Lex?

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When in New York at Christmas…. #pencilmeinblog

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To Indulge Your Competitive Nature

It’s a bar. It’s an arcade. You get it. Hit this place up on a weekday when it’s not swarming with irony-loving bros, and you’ll have hours of fun. Fill your pockets with quarters and go to town on some of the finest entertainment the late 20th Century had to offer.

When Wooing a Wine Snob
La Pecora Bianca

Of all the “snobs,” wine snobs are the most fun, because *looks around, leans in, and whispers* they don’t know what the hell they’re doing either! As long as you pick a place with an extensive collection and a sommelier who isn’t wearing a Metallica T-Shirt, you should be golden. In this way (and many others), La Pecora Bianca is a perfect spot for landing the grape enthusiast of your dreams. The wine is good, the food is glorious, and the after-dinner cocktail menu rounds everything out perfectly.

For a Late-Night Date

Let’s have a moment of silence for the TRUE best late-night date in New York: Yaffa Cafe, which sadly left us last year after years of serving us 4AM burgers and night caps. It’s left a void and the world is a worse place now. HOWEVER, life must go on, so instead, check out one of the city’s most buzzed restaurants you probably haven’t bothered to try yet. Cafeteria, while catering for fancy after-work crowds, is also no stranger to drunkards staggering in during the wee hours. Whichever mood you’re in, its doors are open.

When Introducing Your Friends

When you decide it’s time to kick things up a notch and start to introduce them to your friends, why not just get it out the way all at once and invite everyone you know to the massive, industrial adult playpark, Nowadays? There’s food, drinks, a ping pong table in case things get stale, and plenty of space and seating. Because you have a ton of friends, of course.

For Showing Off Your Singing Skills
Sing Sing Karaoke

Nothing says “love” quite like a beer-soaked night of debauchery where you and your friends scream Oasis at each other. Sing Sing runs a little cheaper (and dirtier) than most East Village karaoke bars, but that only adds to the whole experience. Book a booth, grab some of your nearest and dearest, and indulge in a night of Budweiser buckets and knockoff remakes of classic music videos.

Friends and Lovers

Everyone loves dancing, except for the people who hate dancing, and BOY do they make sure to let you know. In the event both of you are dance lovers, you’re going to want to find that sweet middle ground in a place that A) provides the tunes you crave and B) isn’t full of people who want to feel both of you up. Friends and Lovers provides both: it’s right there in the name. Get working on your best moves (mine is “sitting”).

For Introducing Your Parents…
Fun Home the musical

This isn’t a bar for good reason. There’s nothing worse than your new S/O talking to your parents for too long, and especially drunk, so best keep it to light pleasantries in the theater lobby. It won’t be awkward, everyone will be on their best behavior, and you can sit in silence in the dark for a few hours and will still be able to count it as quality time with the family. As an added bonus, the show’s really, really good. Put on something nice and enjoy yourself!

For When You Want to Meet at Your “Spot” (or Just Have a Spot to Call Yours)
Botanica Bar

Right off the Broadway-Lafayette subway, this is a perfect after-work place for the two of you to meet up, decompress, grab a drink, and complain about your obnoxious bosses. The happy hour runs until 8, and there’s plenty of space to sit down if you get there at a reasonable hour. The friendly bartenders, big space, and dim lighting also make it one of the better options for hanging out solo, if one of you ends up running late.

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For Having a Fight
Your Apartment 

Why ARE they always running late anyway? Clearly there are some deeper issues here that you need to discuss. Loudly. Do everyone a favor and keep it inside, if you can. At the very least, wait until you’re in a cab and you’ve waved goodbye to that weird couple you agreed to go on a double date with before you start screaming at each other.

For When it’s Time to Call the Whole Thing Quits
Brooklyn Bridge Park

Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be, and it’s best to cut things off when you still have a shot at neither of you being irreversibly scarred by a bad relationship. Other times, you just gotta yell a lot and never speak again. In any case, this is a great place to break up forever. The sea wind will carry your voices away from eavesdroppers, and there’s a beautiful view of Downtown Manhattan to stare at mournfully while they list all your faults. A perfect day out.


Tom Philip is a Scottish writer based in Brooklyn, New York. He’s lived all over the city, and secretly hopes to one day live in one of those giant fancy condos he rails against every time he sees one. Tom’s written for publications like GQ, The New Yorker, and contributes frequently to ClickHole. He’s also written a couple of funny texts already today.

More articles by Tom Philip



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