The 19 Best Singles Bars in NYC
Grab a drink and find a permanent plus one at the same time.
This year, let’s collectively agree that not having a “special someone” for Valentine’s Day isn’t a reason to sulk. While some might be cozying up with their honey at a romantic restaurant, we’ve moved onto celebrating the spontaneity (and even tranquility) of being unattached. And since we live in the greatest city in the world with no shortage of fellow eligible New Yorkers, it’s time to get out there and find your tribe of other singles to celebrate our freedom (or perhaps take a break from it for a night).
Whether you want to kick back at a low-key dive bar, show off what potentially could be embarrassing moves on a dance floor, or sip dirty martinis at a cocktail lounge, your sweetheart is out there waiting. Don’t stress if you’re feeling a little lost on where to begin the search—let’s jumpstart your next great love story. Here’s our list of the 19 best singles bars in NYC.
Across from McCarren Park sits an expansive lounge and rooftop bar Berry Park. If you’re looking for a seasoned beer drinker to swap favorite brew stories with, the extensive list of German and Belgian beers will provide plenty of conversation while you nuzzle in a leather booth. Or, take a couple of Hot Toddys and a Bavarian pretzel to the enclosed rooftop space to spark romance while gazing out at the twinkling Manhattan skyline.
After a day meandering around the vintage stores, bookstores, and iconic restaurants of the East Village, cap the day off at St. Marks’ Bua. The outdoor tables (heated during colder months) provide for sublime people watching, while the interior features dark wood accents, candlelight, and brick walls for a sultry vibe. Discuss your latest reads and farmer’s market finds over $8 happy hour cocktails, while 90s and 2000s classics provide a throwback ambiance overhead.
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 (4-7 pm) 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 antique jukebox.
The Flower Shop
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’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.
Part of New York City’s Lesbian Bar Project is Park Slope’s laidback neighborhood LGBTQ hangout spot, Ginger’s. Boasting a competitive pool scene, it’s sure to spark flirty competition. While jukebox tunes set the mood, sip draft beers and mixed drinks while rearing up for your next match or take it easy on the backyard patio.
Although Park Slope has a reputation for being a hub for families, LGBTQ 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 jello 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, which are held during each season.
Judy & Punch
Alright, there’s few things you can actually count on when going out on the hunt for love. But, a welcoming and social atmosphere is a guarantee at the laid back bar Judy & Punch. There’s a lengthy list of local beers, decidedly generous pours, drink deals to help take the edge of the winter blues, friendly bartenders, and heated outdoor space. Show off some niche knowledge while drinking local brews at trivia night and impress the fellow (let’s say… Star Wars) fans around you.
Mother Pug's Saloon
Staten Island’s North Shore is home to a top tier good ole fashioned dive bar, Mother Pug’s Saloon. If a low-key aesthetic is right up your alley, the odds of finding someone else who’s also into playing darts and cornhole, listening to indie and rock bands, and sipping on inexpensive drinks are in your favor. Feeling a bit adventurous? Take a turn on the mic during karaoke night, since we all know a person’s go-to song speaks volumes.
When it comes to love, sometimes you have to confer with the stars. Snag your next captivating Capricorn, sexy Scorpio, or a lovely Leo at the astrology-inspired drinkery, Mood Ring. The whimsical cocktail list includes rotating zodiac specials of the month 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.
Enduring long lines is the price to be paid for hanging out at Hotel Indigo’s party rooftop Mr. Purple. But once you’ve made it inside the Lower East Side nightlife hub, lively vibes, communal tables, heated snow globes, and 360-degree skyline views of the city provide an ideal backdrop for a winter romance. Find a swanky couch to lounge on while sipping Espresso Martinis and the DJ will be sure to set you and your next potential wedding date on the same wavelength.
With long communal tables and Pickle Martinis at the ready, The Penrose is an Upper East Side hotspot for post-work decompression. Whether you’re squaded up by the bar or lucky enough to snag a seat at an indoor 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 NFT’s really are the future.
Apparently it’s hard to not fall in love in the midst of a local music scene… or so we’ve heard. In which case, we’re ever so grateful Pianos reopened late last year after a pandemic-fueled hiatus. With live bands often setting up shop in the back room and DJs eager to share their latest indie-pop-electronic mixes, the dance floor will surely help you scope out tomorrow morning’s bodega breakfast date in between sets or songs. Stop by a little early to snag a few fish tacos or a basket of wings before the music begins.
For a more creative, indie, dare we say “free-spirited,” vibe, Ponyboy is right up your alley. This neighborhood bar touts everything from signature cocktails like To The Moon (turmeric-infused mezcal, aperol, pamplemousse) and The Duefunk (hibiscus gin, campari, sweet vermouth) to breezy canned beers. Head to the red-lit back room and find your musical soulmate on the dancefloor, where DJs and live performers play everything from disco and house to hip hop and R&B.
Channeling the aura of an old-school honky tonk is dive joint, Ray's. Since opening in 2019, this spot has maintained popularity due to its celebrity owners as well as its no-frills aesthetic of wood paneling, colorful string lights, disco ball, and orange booths. Roll up for cheap beers and tequila shots in plastic cups and challenge a cutie to a game of pool or head downstairs to the shag-carpeted hangout area. Added bonus, on any given night famous guests might be slinging drinks behind the bar.
Salsa Con Fuego
Lighting up the dance floor is a guaranteed way to entice a suitor… or three. Salsa Con Fuego, an expansive Latin restaurant and lounge, has good food, strong drinks, high-energy music, live entertainment, hookah, and maybe even your next love interest, all under one roof. Start your night with Seafood Paella and a couple Rum Punches. Then vibe out to Spanish classics, ‘90 jams, and recent hits when the eatery transforms into a 21 and over nightlife spot at 11 pm.
For when you just want to grab a drink without all the extra frills and pretension, Sophie’s is your spot. 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. After a couple whiskey shots, find the other half of your old soul spirit hanging around the pool table or cranking up the jukebox.
The key to finding your other half might just be a few stiff after-work drinks at The Spaniard. Located on a busy stretch of the West Village, the horseshoe-shaped bar plus dining area and heated outdoor seating is rarely not packed during the week and weekends. With more than 100 whiskeys on the menu, impress your company by ordering a Penicillin mixed with a niche Scotch or show you’re all business with a bourbon on the rocks. Alternatively, snag a cozy corner booth and whisper-yell about your latest passion project over a few whiskey gingers, while snacking down on small plates like Kale and Artichoke Dip or Chicken Wings.
If you’re looking to mingle your heart out all night, the two-story cash-only Twins Lounge bar is a prime spot. 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. Head upstairs to the fuzzy-rugged disco ball-decked 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 industrial vintage, but the main draw is the large string light-covered patio. With DJ’s bumping energetic beats, dance like nobody’s watching 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.