The Best NYC Bars to Show Up Single and Leave with a Hookup
Cheap drinks, pool tables, and dance floors make the perfect wing person at the best singles bars in NYC.
Although the season of love may have some of us swiping through dating apps a little bit more intensely, let’s collectively agree that not having a “special someone” for Valentine’s Day isn’t a reason to sulk. Rather, while others might be cozying up with their honey at a romantic restaurant and planning cute date nights, we’ve transcended into celebrating the freedom and spontaneity of being unattached—and we’ll die on the hill that there’s no better city to be single in.
So, whether you’re in the mood to flex anything from (let’s be real) average pool skills to niche music knowledge or are determined to remain unfazed by the dating scene via letting loose with your besties on a dance floor, there’s something for everyone in the Big Apple. Let’s jumpstart your next great love story (which might even be with yourself). Here are the best singles bars in NYC.
Channeling a low-key living room hang, the cocktail bar and music venue, Eavesdrop, celebrates both the sense of sound and comfortability. With your friends in tow, check out the dope audible experience via elements like custom-built speakers and acoustic treatments lining its walls. On most nights, kick back to local artists and labels slinging curated playlists—ranging from jazz and soul to deep house and electronic—before attempting to impress a cutie at the bar with some super niche music history knowledge (we’re rooting for you out there).
It’s no surprise that one of the latest hotspots—that many New Yorkers find themselves leaving at 2 am or later—is in the heart of the East Village. Whether you’re trying to forget a certain someone on the subterranean dance floor under a disco ball and neon lighting or catch up with your besties on the chiller upstairs lounge, Wiggle Room has it all. Additionally, 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.
One thing that we can count on in Williamsburg is a hot new warehouse-turned-bar/club becoming one of the city’s latest go-tos (it’s part of the BK personality trait at this point). The latest on our radar is an Ibiza-inspired discoteca, called Café Balearica, primed for letting loose with your squad underneath neon lights and shimmering disco balls. 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.
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 pm–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 LGBTQIA 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, 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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 (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.
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.
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 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.