If you’re looking to hook up in NYC, forget Tinder or those other dating apps. Instead, try it the old fashioned way: By meeting someone at a bar. The City that Never Sleeps is, appropriately, home to many, many, many singles-heavy bars, aka “meat markets.” Here, the most notorious of those sleaze-tastic bars.
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This tried and true Williamsburg venue has held the title of Brooklyn’s #1 hook-up spot since its debut. It’s like real life Tinder, soaked in booze and taco grease. But it’s not all ogling and cheesy pick-up lines, the bar also features live music and a huge backyard, which houses a seriously good taco truck. Monday is our favorite night to go; you get to skip insanity and long waits of a weekend night and get to experience Reverend Vince and the Love Choir, whose frenetic jams and James Brown-esque dance moves have inspired many faithful followers.
What is it about dancing yourself sweaty and chowing down on a heap of bacon that’s so sexy to strangers? Maybe it’s the primal smell of pork on your breath? Here’s another Williamsburg haunt that specializes in mixing and mingling between the young and the restless hipsters of the neighborhood, but this time instead of tacos, there’s maple bacon sticks from Landhaus. Another key difference between the two Billyburg hot spots: While Genessy and PBR are the drinks of choice at Union Pool, the hyped up crowd at The Woods opts to bolster their egos with tropical tiki drinks and boozy slushies. Weekend nights, the back patio heats up with sweaty dancers and their greasy bacon fingers, but in the early evenings on weekdays, the venue is a calm and picturesque haven.
This meat market bar is appropriately located in the heart of Manhattan’s Meatpacking district. If you’re into independently wealthy jetsetters and models, then this is the place for you. A “penthouse discothèque” located on the roof of The Standard Hotel, Le Bain features a wide array of luxuries to help you seal the deal. Inside the pitch black club you’ll find a heated swimming pool (don’t worry, you can snag a swimsuit for $80), and the outdoor roof deck features waterbeds, artificial grass to relax on and a creperie if you need to nosh. Come early and look your best to get inside on the weekends.
With aerialists, magicians and even occasional fire dancers, this wild, out of this world event space deep in Bushwick is unlike anything else in town. Each night of the week the venue hosts different themed costume parties (dressing up is not required but encouraged, and their website lists suggestions on what to wear for each party). Expect lots of dancing, excess frivolity, hedonism and exhibitionism—in other words, the perfect night out.
Whether you’re seeking out men in skin tight Wranglers or the women who fawn over them, this Williamsburg honky-tonk bar is your go-to destination. Inspired by the Texas dives of yesteryear, this nostalgic spot is packed every night of the week. With live bluegrass and country music, and DJs spinning the classics, it’s where to go for a nightly hootenanny. There’s a bevy of cheap beers to choose from, a bathroom plastered with vintage porn and an infamously boozy coffee slushie that will keep you awake and buzzed enough to makes moves on the dance floor or otherwise.
This Williamsburg bar has seriously beachy vibes, a huge patio and great cocktails—all of which encourage laid back mingling. Inspired by Caribbean beach bars and New York’s go-to summer party locale, Rockaway Beach, Battery Harris has live raggae, a smorgasbord of jerk dishes and rum-heavy libations aplenty. If the jerk wings and jalapeño mac and cheese don’t get you in the mood for love, their refreshingly intoxicating cocktail made with lemon, a kumquat shrub, vanilla, orange blossom water and rum, rum and more rum, surely will.
You can’t get much steamier, or sexier, than this Latin inspired Williamsburg lounge. On a Friday night, Bembe looks and feels like a club in Miami with it’s light and airy tropical decor and bootylicious dance party. Expect reggaeton and afrobeat DJs nightly with occasional live drummers. Don’t worry if you’re a shy dancer—there’s enough rum behind the bar to get your hips shaking and the vibe on the floor is so contagious it’s impossible to just watch from the sidelines.
This East Village dive is one of the last remaining bars on Avenue A that hasn’t become overwhelmingly packed with Bridge and Tunnel bros on the hunt for debauchery. Keeping its trashy, rocker roots, Niagara packs the house nightly with locals from the neighborhood. Come for loud music, cheap beers, girls and boys that actually know who the New York Dolls are and inevitable conversations at bar about what the neighborhood used to be.
If you have money or are looking for someone that does, this sexified, Parisian-esque nightclub is the place to be. Inspired by the City of Light’s infamous red light district, Hotel Chantelle features three different levels including a rooftop bar. If you’re looking to flash your financial prowess, cozy up in a leather booth and order their Champagne bottle service. Or, if you’re on the hunt, dress your best and look for said person ordering bottle service.
One of Williamsburg’s oldest gay bars, Metropolitan is a notoriously great spot for singles to meet no matter what their sexual preference is. Besides being a great dive with dirt cheap beers, there’s roaring fires in the winter, free BBQ every Sunday in the summer and a pool table if you’re up to the challenge. Weekends tend to be wilder with DJs and rowdy patrons, and often feature karaoke and drag shows.
This weekend brunch spot is one of the bougiest daytime hookup spots, extending Friday night parties into Saturday afternoon and giving you that second chance at “love.” Come around two for dance-party brunch, complete with DJs, Champagne-drenched debauchery, tabletop dancing and three-figure bar tabs. If you can sneak your way past the bouncer (ladies, you’ll have no problem getting in), this brunch locale will surely lead to an epic afternoon.