Show Up Single and Leave with a Fling at These Bars in NYC
For when you find yourself googling “Where to meet people in NYC.”
While some might look down on being single (tsk tsk), the majority of New Yorkers agree that it’s actually an entirely powerful and transformative part of life that should be reveled in. And since we live in the greatest city in the world—where there’s no shortage of fellow eligible city dwellers—it’s time to get out there and find other singles looking to celebrate this shared freedom (or rather take a cheeky break from going home alone for a night).
Whether you’re just trying to avoid all the couples cozying up at romantic restaurants, lose yourself on a steamy dance floor with friends, or strike up convo with a cutie (or two) in the bathroom line, don’t let the search for the “right” places to hang stress you out. Here are some of the best singles bars in NYC.
Singles bars in Brooklyn
Carousel is like a retro dive bar on steroids—in the best way possible. A conversation pit, pool tables, two bars, a photo booth, courtyard (which doubles as a busy smoking area), and dance floor are a playground for those leaning into their unattached lifestyles. At the recently debuted hotspot, the ’70s aesthetic is fashioned through wood-paneled walls, vinyl-covered booths, and funky lighting. Whisper sweet nothings to your flavor of the night in a discreet corner or put downs on a pool table with your crew over a few mai tais.
Zebra carpet, ’80s rock music, pinball machines, and parrot chandeliers: This is Bushwick’s Danger Danger. The team behind Ridgewood’s techno wine bar, Mansions, teamed up to create this vibey spot for New Yorkers looking for a late night sans DJs only playing TikTok songs. House cocktails like the DD Spritz (mezcal, Red Bull) and Espresso Martini (tequila, apricot liqueur, vanilla) provide ample liquid courage before hitting the dance floor or hitting on that someone you’ve been making eyes at. Tuesday nights are for all-night happy hours, as well as the weekly BYOV (bring your own vinyl) event—when guests who bring in ’80s pop, new wave, or rock records to play at the bar also receive a free shot.
Friends, co-owners, and long-time New Yorkers Nikke Alleyne and Justine LaViolette opened The Bush when it became apparent that the city lacked nightlife options that catered to the local lesbian community. Almost a year into its debut, The Bush has differentiated itself from other lesbian bars through its selection of bespoke cocktails like the Island They (rum, hibiscus, ginger beer, mint). Mingling your heart out here is made easier by cheeky events like the Slutty Punch Wednesdays, where glasses are $8 each until the bowl runs dry.
Something about a bar and club that channels an Ibiza discoteca screams “come flirt and dance late into the night.” Café Balearica is exactly that. Within the two-story space, guests can snag a velvet booth for a chilled-out chat (which inevitably turns into a vent session on how dating apps suck) then travel downstairs to shake off any bad vibes on the dance floor, where local artists perform on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 9 pm.
Although Park Slope has a reputation for being a hub for families, the LGBTQIA bar, Good Judy, is proof that you can still have a blast in the neighborhood while being unattached. Sister bar to Clinton Hill’s C’mon Everybody, the two-floor spot features banquettes, high top tables, an expansive stage for performances, dance floor, and pool tables. Grab a round of Jell-O shots or a few glasses of wine and snag a prime spot to watch one of the high-energy drag shows or karaoke nights. Don’t miss the chance to connect with other RuPaul’s Drag Race lovers at weekly watch parties.
When it comes to love, sometimes you have to confer with the stars. Snag your next captivating Capricorn, sexy Scorpio, or lovely Leo at the astrology-inspired drinkery, Mood Ring. The whimsical cocktail list includes monthly zodiac specials and signature shots like the Bodega (Arizona Iced Tea-infused whiskey). The bar is dimly lit in neon hues, and the dance floor is perfect for canoodling to R&B, ‘80s hits, and house music once you’ve successfully compared birth charts.
For a free-spirited vibe, Ponyboy is right up your alley. This neighborhood bar touts everything from signature cocktails like Forgetmenot (mezcal, watermelon, ginger) and Don’t Worry Baby (gin, jasmine, basil) to breezy canned beers. Head to the red-lit back room and find your musical soulmate on the dance floor, where DJs and live performers play everything from disco and house to hip hop and R&B.
Lower East Side
This Lower East Side dive channels the aura of an old-school honky tonk. Since opening in 2019, Ray's has maintained popularity due to its sceney events and no-frills aesthetic of wood paneling, colorful string lights, disco ball, and orange booths. Cheap beers and tequila shots in plastic cups can be paired with challenging a cutie to a game of pool or heading downstairs to the shag-carpeted hangout area. Added bonus, Brooklynites can now frequent the new Ray’s location in Greenpoint.
If you’re looking to make heart eyes at hotties all night, the two-story (cash-only) Twins Lounge bar is a solid go-to. On the first floor, you can snag a drink at the wrap-around bar then head to the back area and prove that you certainly know how to use a pool cue. Alternatively, head upstairs to the fuzzy-rugged lounge area, where it feels like a neighborhood bar melded with a surfer’s living room. In short, there’s plenty of opportunity to shake the nerves and strike up conversation with those kicking back on the couches around you.
Since opening in 2000, Union Pool has been a hotbed for those looking to meet prospective love interests. A former pool supply store, the aesthetic is vintage industrial, but the main draw is the large string-light-covered patio. Depending on the time of night, you can dance like nobody’s watching or just kick back at a picnic table and—when you’ve built up an appetite—flirt it up as you wait for your food at the on-site taco truck. Plan your next visit by checking out the upcoming events on the website.
Singles bars in Manhattan
Lower East Side
What can we say, 169 Bar is a cult classic and for good reason. With cheap drinks, a lived-in aesthetic, and a leopard print pool table (which when posted on an IG story has become equivalent to a NYC mating call), this century-old dive joint gets right to the point. Also, it doesn’t hurt that there’s always a $5 shot-and-beer special, which is $3 during happy hour from 2 pm–7 pm daily.
Lower East Side
When the bar’s aesthetic screams Summer of Love, it’s safe to say you might discover your elusive twin flame within its walls. Touting a late-‘60s and ‘70s house party decor, The Flower Shop is a two-floor bar complete with a built-in behind the bar aquarium, floral-patterned banquettes, a fireplace, and a pool table. Take your sweetie of the night’s hand and steer them to the downstairs conversation pit (yes, seriously) and bond over your shared belief that you were born in the wrong decade.
Upper East Side
With long communal tables and Dirty Pickle Martinis at the ready, The Penrose is an Upper East Side go-to for post-work decompression. Whether you’re squaded up by the bar or lucky enough to snag a seat at a table, striking up convo with your neighbor isn’t difficult when the lively watering hole fills up. As the music bumps overhead, it’s just loud enough to still exchange IG handles while also providing an easy escape if, for example, they start explaining why cryptocurrency really is the future.
Sophie’s is your spot for when you just want to have a drink at a bar. Considered one of the last old-school holdouts amid the modernized establishments popping up around them, the dive bar serves up stiff drinks and a chilled-out mood (until madness ensues on the weekends). After a couple whiskey shots, find the other half of your old soul spirit hanging around the pool table or cranking up the jukebox.
Late nights in NYC are a dime a dozen. The same could also be said for Wiggle Room. Whether you’re trying to forget a certain someone on the subterranean dance floor under a disco ball or catch up with your besties at the chill upstairs lounge, the East Village hotspot has it all. If you’re there before the bar switches to serving up the late night classics of vodka sodas and tequila shots, there’s a seasonal selection of drinks on tap to try out.
Singles bars in Queens
Long Island City
Low lighting and hefty hand-cut ice cube cocktails are the specialty at Long Island City’s Dutch Kills bar. Grab a stool at the long wooden bar and order up the specialty Old Fashioned while scouting the crowd. On weekends, head over for happy hour and sway along to local bands strumming tunes in the back lounge. On the other hand, see if anyone’s musically compatible and queue up your favorite classic hits on the vintage jukebox.