Enough about how to date, lets talk about where to date.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: First dates should happen in bars.
Now, you’ll excuse me if you abstain from drinking and trust me, I know it’s harder for you to date but the simple fact is that bars (generally) have the right sort of vibe for dates.
Now the key is, how do you find a great date bar? There are thousands of bars throughout NYC (I’ve heard they have bars in Staten Island but you’ll have to convince me of that)
A great date bar should have these qualities:
- Not empty, but not crowded. You want to be able to sit or stand comfortably with your date. Alternatively, you don’t want to be the only people in the bar whether you’re there on a Monday, Thursday or Saturday.
- Not Silent, but not too loud. You don’t want to have to yell at your date and you definitely don’t want the entire bar to hear your conversation.
- The people at the bar aren’t terrible. You have limited control over this one because on any given night, the clientele of a bar can change dramatically. With that said, you know that certain bars in certain neighborhoods are full of terrible, terrible people.
- Great Lighting. Trust me on this, sometimes the lighting in the bar can be your friend or your enemy
- Relatively inexpensive. I have nothing against bars with $20 cocktails but you can save your trip to the Boom-Boom Room (aka the Top of the Standard) for like…date 10.
Here are some great NYC date bars (and yes, I’ve been to all of them)
So you’re going on a date with someone who lives above 23rd st on the Westside, you go to…
Located at 45th St and 10th Avenue, this bar specializes in and only serves American craft beers (besides the beer limitation, it’s a fully stocked bar). They also serve some killer bar food. I’ve had the fried horseradish pickles which are awesome, they even use that same horseradish pickle juice for their picklebacks. Yes, I’m 100% recommending that you should do a shot and a pickleback at this bar. The bar updates it’s beer listing on a daily basis (you can check the website or check out the giant e-boards behind the bar pictured above)
Now you might be wondering why I’d recommend a bar in Hell’s Kitchen? Simple really, all the beers are $5. The beers are served in 14 oz glasses, these glasses, nicknamed “Ponys”, were served at racetracks between races. Each Pony costs $5. Oh and if you’re not a beer drinker the mixed drinks are also pretty cheap too. You and your date could try 3 new beers each and your bill would be under $40.
Oh and a bonus, they’ve opened up a location on the Upper East Side. Consider this one a two-fer
So you’re going on a date with someone who lives in Williamsburg/Greenpoint, you go to…
It’s a bar, it’s an arcade, it’s both. Classic Arcade games flank the bar and nostalgia will have you spending 5 dollars in quarters in a heartbeat. They also stock an extensive rotating stock of American Craft beers. Apparently American Craft Beers are a thing these days. The space is very wide open and it never gets too crowded which is a plus and has enough space that you can find a little secluded spot to ahem, play.The bar is also dog friendly if you’re into that sort of thing.
If hipster arcade bars aren’t your thing head to…
No-Name Bar (or as it’s more commonly known, Woodpussy) is an amazing bar with an amazing backyard (pictured above). I’ve been here during the day and that backyard blew my mind.
The bar itself is fairly inexpensive and the hook here really is just how beautiful the place is. The inside of the bar is dark and full of beautiful woodwork, perfect for that romantic date you’ve been planning (and also one of the reasons for the nickname of the bar, the other being the proliferation of attractive ladies). The only downside (or plus side if your date lives in Greenpoint) is that the nearest train is the G. The major plus side, you can laugh about the nickname of the bar with your date. Be warned, there is no signage outside so you may get a bit lost trying to find the bar.
So you’re going on a date with someone who lives in other Brooklyn, you go to…
Located in Park Slope, this San Fran themed bar has a great selection of beers, is pretty wide open on a good weather day, and the cocktails here are amazing. Except the Wasabi Bloody Mary, it sounds better in theory. Trust me on this. Besides that, everything about the place is great. The main bar itself has some great decor (mugshots and pinball machines) and usually has some solid music playing. There are outside seating areas if the noise gets a little overwhelming and the drinks here are so cheap I’ve had issues reaching the credit card minimum (which is $20). Surprise surprise, it’s a dog friendly bar. (Brooklyn, amirite?)
So you’re going on a date with someone near Union Square, you go to…
The Belfry is maybe my favorite date bar near Union Square on a Thursday. More on this later. The Belfry is a great bar with a great beer selection (I’ve yet to actually drink beer here though). What I do drink here are the picklebacks because I’m flatout obsessed with them. Why do you ask? Because not only is there always a pickleback special, they also have a Pickleback menu. The first time I ordered one I assumed I was ordering a cocktail because of how extensive the list is.
So what’s the deal withThursday? Well, they have a live Funk Band on Thursday. Live bands are cool right? How about a live band, performing without microphones or sound setup, pretty cool right? Oh I forgot, they walk through the bar while playing.
If the idea of a funk band walking through a bar with a saxophonist playing literally right in front of you doesn’t sound awesome you probably don’t enjoy fun dates.
So you’re going on a date with someone near Union Square, but it’s a day date and you want it to be cheap, you go to…
This New Orleans themed bar in the East Village is an amazing spot for a date, or just to catch up with friends. The lighting is maybe the best lighting in any of the bars on this list and during the colder months the fireplace keeps you warm and toasty. This is the rare East Village bar with a backyard and it’s great for doing the whole dinner date thing (for like…a 3rd date).
Now, why did I specify that this is a great day date location? Oh, just the fact that drinks are 2 for 1, DAILY, until 8pm. Sure, you’re limited to well drinks and beer but c’mon. It’s 2 for 1 blocks away from Union Square.
Not only that, but the place actually looks nice. The Bathrooms are labelled Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll respectively, which is a cute touch. Disclaimer: I can’t guarantee any of the sex or drugs but I think getting 2 for one drinks is pretty Rock and Roll
So there you have it, a few great date bars in NYC. Expect more soon.
…and, as a bonus, here are a few honorable mentions:
Franklin Park: Prospect Heights. Cheap Drinks, great music, sports during the week, becomes a dance party on the weekends
Art Bar: West Village. Incredible decor and crowd. Make your way to the back of the bar and try to get a seat. Well worth it.
Mulberry Project: Nolita. The big draw here are the bespoke cocktails.What are Bespoke cocktails? A quote from the New Yorker Profile: You tell mixologist Jeremy Strawn or his colleagues that you want something sweet with rum, and you might get a white-peach-cinnamon concoction. Prefer citrus? Try a pomelo sour. Dark and spicy? Here’s a cucumber-chipotle whiskey daiquiri. The combinations will vary from day to day and bartender to bartender, but the cocktails, all $14, are always beautifully executed.
Good Luck out there