This Tea Changes Color Like a Mood Ring
One of the last true dives in chichi Nolita, Botanica is a workhorse in the downtown nightlife scene. Its post-work happy hour is one of the best (read: cheapest) in Manhattan, so you can try your luck at buying drinks for a few folks with minimal investment. Karaoke nights also make it a great spot to send a musical message to the object(s) of your affection.
This neighborhood gem has a sexy ‘70s Vegas vibe... and everyone knows, what happens in Vegas probably doesn’t live up to your expectations. Like dating! Curvy banquettes are easier to slide into than your Twitter obsession’s DMs and a horseshoe bar is practically built for catching that showgirl’s eye. If you can’t snag a high roller here, at least snap a profile pic with the bar’s ceramic big cat. Ladies love it.
Unlike many parts of the city, Astoria is still a neighborhood, with locals looking for a good time in their own backyard. Or, in this case, a backyard. This sports bar-meets-beer garden has more than 20 rotating beers on tap and no fewer than three spots to aim for the fences. Strike out on the patio? Punt near the pool table! Bomb over billiards? Another sports metaphor at the darts board! Or, just make like Sam Malone that time Diane broke his heart and he fell off the wagon and sidle up to the bar.
Tiki drinks were made for love, and this beachy spot raises the tide with its tropical decor. If you get very lucky, you could eke out three dates in one night here: Start in with the chit-chat over zombie cocktails at the bar, move to a table for dinner, then head upstairs for DJs and dancing.
The Patient Zero of early-aughts NYC hookup bars, Union Pool’s meds are working, but the spot is still a petri dish for all strains of singles. A crowded backyard, tight bar area, and tighter photo booths are all prime for mingling fluids -- plus there’s a taco truck! Everybody loves tacos.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find the NoMad: A refined classic Manhattan barroom throwback perfect for meeting your first husband or second wife. This hotel bar has become a real-life Slack room for the area’s Silicon Alley internet manufacturers. A large-format cocktail built for up to 10 -- like the massive Madison Park Smash -- pings all the boys to the yard.
Go ahead and order that Cosmo, Miranda, because this NoMad alum run West Village jam is a “non-judgmental” zone. True to its name, weekday happy hour specials and resort vibes lure an eclectic after-work crowd, so you’re bound to find a regrettable hook-up to go along with your embarrassing cocktail.
Cramped quarters are often a detriment at a bar, but when you’re by your lonesome looking handsome, an intimate space can be a boon. If you hang at the bar long enough you’re bound to get a tap on the shoulder -- even if it’s just from someone who wants your coveted bar stool or a bite of your scrumptious waffle fries. Squeeze into the cozy, candle-lit window seat if you do meet your match.
Best described as an “old-man dive bar,” a loop around this newish Bushwick pub may inspire you to find someone to retire with (for the evening, at least). Summon some liquid courage during a prolonged happy hour (drink specials run until 9pm weekdays), load up the jukebox with slow jams, and get your flirt on.
If you live in the neighborhood and you’re through with interborough relationships, this is a chill spot for local craft beers and seven varieties of chicken wings. (Alternatively, it’s a good backup for when you’ve burned through everyone in your own borough.) Sunday night trivia, Big Buck Hunter, and Skee-Ball machines are handy icebreakers whether you’ve set your sights on the local Fly Girl or Jenny, from the block.
Once an overflow room for ‘burg staples like Union Pool and The Commodore, Rocka Rolla is still the neighborhood’s premier destination for sloppy seconds. Together, Southern Americana decor (an American flag hangs on a wood-paneled wall over a jukebox), adrenaline-tapping but inoffensive rock music, and massive cocktail goblets make this the perfect place to take a long, deep breath and love the one you’re with. No, it’s great.
The archetypal meet market, Le Bain was voted “most likely place to hook up with a European” by us, just now. Perched at the top of The Standard and distinguished in its unabashed tourism, this rooftop bar boasts all the excess your single heart desires, including a dance floor pool and sweeping, Instagram-essential views of the Hudson. Bring along some wing-friends or just sink into that sweet, sweet rosé.
This spacious cocktail lounge turns NYC’s pseudo-speakeasy trend upside down with its staircase ascendent location. And the gimmicks don’t end there: Pouring Ribbons ranks cocktails on scales of comforting to adventurous, and refreshing to spirituous -- a clever way to incite conversation or even your first fight (aw!).
The Jane nails a kind of Eyes Wide Shut, creep-sex aesthetic. A grand fireplace and plush, wine-hued furnishings lend the place an air of libertine exclusivity while heavy drapery shields you from prying eyes. This is the downtown destination for a good anony-shag, with or without a room.
This is the perfect place to meet the hedge fund manager of your dreams. Kidding! There’s no such thing, and The Dead Rabbit is cooler than its location should allow. Serving authoritative cocktails in Celtic-chic environs, the FiDi Irish pub was named the World’s Best Bar in 2016, and stayed in the top five last year. Hang downstairs in the convivial Taproom and break the ice over a traditional music seisiún, or slink upstairs to the intimate Parlor to sample novel cocktails and slurp happy hour oysters.