There are times when there’s nothing better than being single in NYC. Going to bars with dim lighting, darkened booths, and couples sucking face are not those times. Fortunately, NYC's got plenty of watering holes perfectly suited to finding Mr./Ms. Right (or more likely, a hook-up for the night -- but beggars can’t be choosers). So when you’ve finally accepted that you’re (probably) not going to meet the love of your life on Tinder and want to actually get out and meet people, head here -- from spots with lively dance floors, to bars with themed nights, these are the best places for singles in NYC.
Lower East Side
A bar specifically designed with hooking up in mind is probably the place to go if you’re single and looking... to hook up. Rochelle's even has a Tinder Thursday night: come in with your date and prove to the bartender that you both swiped right and the first shot is on the house. The bar’s walls are also smeared with life lessons, such as not to hook up with ugly people, and not to have sex in the bathroom. And then there’s the photo booth. Two single people in a photo booth after several rounds of drinks is always a good idea.
It just opened in September, but this new kid on the block is already gaining popularity amongst the Uptown singles crowd. Most nights the bar is packed because of the live music, which varies from jazz, to rock, to soul. But the real reason people are buzzing about it is because of its calendar of parties (like pajama parties) and its bottomless mimosa brunches on Sundays. Put the two together and you’ve got the morning after made.
The opening of Sek'end Sun was a huge win for Astoria (even if it did bring infiltrators from Manhattan and Brooklyn who hike up rent prices). It's not only an excellent cocktail bar; it's also the answer to single Astorians' prayers for a local watering hole with live music, all-night happy hour on Mondays, a menu of classic American bites, and an outdoor patio that’s always bustling with cool people in the warmer months.
For singles who love beer, Bronx Alehouse is the perfect meeting spot. The bar has tons of interesting craft beers available (many of which are local), as well as great burgers, and a weekly beer club on Wednesdays -- so you can really get to know your fellow beer enthusiasts on a more intimate level.
It may seem from the outset like every other bar done up in that “reclaimed” style, but the food and drinks at The Bonnie are exceptionally on point. Plus there are attractive, bearded bartenders aplenty, and an outdoor garden filled with communal picnic tables that were made for mingling.
Another Bronx spot that's all about brews, this beer hall offers lots of great options from local breweries and makes things even easier for singles with weekday happy hours and events like Wednesday Trivia, Boozy Movie Mondays, Judgment-Free Karaoke Tuesdays, and live music or DJs on Fridays and Saturdays.
Lower East Side
Nothing like a good ol’ fashioned throw-back to get single people in the mood. No Fun takes you back to the 1980s with classic music nights, so you can bond with other New York singles about how much better life was in acid-washed jeans. Be prepared for breakout dance parties, without that terrible clubby feeling. Casual side-ponytails encouraged.
OK, so your tone-deaf singing of Elton John hits doesn’t seem like a surefire way to get someone to sleep with you, but hear us out. It’s been proven time and time again, especially at Planet Rose, that karaoke brings people together in a very intimate way. Show off your confidence and pizzazz on stage and plant the seed that you bring equal enthusiasm to every aspect of your life.
If you haven’t hooked up with someone at Union Pool, then you were almost certainly never in Brooklyn in your early 20s. This bar was made for singles, with a photo booth, taco truck, and extra roomy bathroom stalls. Tales from those bathrooms are downright legendary. If you’re over the age of 25 and single, you get a pass on us to go check this place out and cross it off your horny-in-New York bucket list.
The 17th outpost of this US chain now has an NYC location, which means it's time for the singles of New York to enjoy access to this veritable meat market. Wednesday-Saturdays tend to be the most popular nights when singles come out to dance and... see what happens. It’s a live music venue, as well, and everyone is encouraged to get up on their feet and dance to eclectic sets that include generation favorites from “Livin’ on a Prayer” to “Uptown Funk.” But bottom line: drinks are cheap and strong, and the crowd is largely unattached.
Upper East Side
This new Uptown beer hall has all the fixings for a night out on the town: great food and drink, ping-pong, and pinball. For group-friendly activities, consider their Monday Night Bingo, where you can win prizes like Pac-Man lamps, pinball machine socks, and Elvis jumpsuit Snuggies (which you and your future boo can wear together and laugh about that time you met at Upper East Side bingo).
If you haven’t been to Le Bain, then you’ve certainly heard of it for its penthouse location on the top floor of The Standard, High Line. It’s the one with the plunge pool on the dance floor -- and nothing says romance like a nightclub pool brimming with sweaty singles, raging hormones, and all other things that can be described as raging.
For all the times you wish you were in Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights, Bembe is your real-life solution. Dance with all the other unattached souls that have the same fantasy of being dipped and felt up (romantically, of course) to some sultry Latin music.
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Meagan Drillinger is a contributing writer for Thrillist. She prefers to meet people in the prepared foods section of the supermarket. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at @drillinjourneys.
1. Leave Rochelle Out of It205 Chrystie St, New York
2. Harlem Nights2361 7th Ave, New York
3. Sek'end Sun32-11 Broadway, Astoria
4. Bronx Alehouse216 W 238th St, Bronx
5. The Bonnie29-12 23rd Ave, Astoria
6. The Bronx Beer Hall2344 Arthur Ave, Bronx
7. No Fun161 Ludlow St, New York
8. Planet Rose219 Avenue A, New York
9. Union Pool484 Union Ave, Brooklyn
10. Howl at the Moon240 W 52nd St, New York
11. Treadwell Park1125 1st Ave, New York
12. Le Bain848 Washington St, New York
13. Bembe81 S 6th St, Brooklyn
This bodega-turned-bar offers over 150 types of whiskey, no-nonsense cocktails, and above-average bar food. It's decorated with subway tiles and funky mirrors, and you can expect loud music and movies playing from the TV screens. The best part? The sign in the bathroom politely asking you to fornicate somewhere other than the restroom...
This 2015 arrival to Harlem is reinventing nightlife in upper Manhattan. Named after the Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor movie about running a 1930s nightclub, the 1,500 sqft bar lounge is packed most nights of the week because of the live music, which varies from jazz to rock and soul. It serves craft cocktails, beer, and bar bites like jambalaya, jerk chicken, and wings. It's also got a packed calendar of theme parties and a bottomless mimosa brunch on Sunday.
If you live in Astoria and have been on the hunt for a neighborhood bar, look no further than Sek'end Sun (pronounced Second Son). The laidback cocktail bar serves riffs on classic drinks, like an amaro Old Fashioned, and seriously good bar bites like chili butter grilled cheese and grilled wings with cilantro, lime, and soy. A giant neon "Queens" sign completes the rustic and industrial decor, proving that the bar scene in the outer boroughs is alive and well.
This craft beer-focused sports bar in Kingsbridge specializes in New York state beer and noteworthy brews from around the country. The 17-tap list is always changing but the website is updated in real-time to reflect what's available (and what's coming up). Cheeseburgers, pulled pork, and jerk chicken "bombers" (aka sliders) round out the food menu.
If you’re a fan of the watering holes Sweet Afton and Penrose, then you’re sure to dig this Astoria hideaway. Two bars (in the front and back) mean two times the fun. With hanging plants and exposed brick on the inside, the eye candy spills into a super-chill outdoor garden. Morning essentials -- like avocado toast with poached eggs & bacon or biscuits with spicy gravy & sausage -- solidify The Bonnie as a go-to brunch spot in the area. Endless French press coffee and an excellent cocktail list mean you better be ready for an all-day affair.
This beer haven located inside the Arthur Ave Retail Market is undeniably the place to drink beer in the Bronx. It serves up New York craft beer and food from neighboring restaurants (its nightly 7-10pm menu is crafted by John's Pizzeria). Every month it features different breweries, and it hosts weekly events like trivia, karaoke, and movie nights. As for decor, the skylight does great things for the atmosphere.
Rock 'n roll and Mediterranean-Moroccan cuisine are a pretty unlikely duo, but here it's a match made in (tapas) heaven. Small plates, including bacon and mozzarella and seafood-packed paella, supply the menu, while DJs and copious liters of sangria keep you going all night.
This East Village karaoke lounge will give your night a solid dose of diva kitsch. Complete with lipstick red walls, zebra print furniture, and plenty of overconfident tone-deaf singers, Planet Rose is the answer when you're looking to spice up your usual Saturday night routine. The drinks are relatively cheap, but your best bet is to come early for the two-for-one happy hour. Planning a big group night out? The entire place can be rented out for an evening of liquid courage-fueled entertainment.
This spacious Williamsburg spot is almost always packed with a friendly, hip crowd. The name of the game here: tacos and tequila. A taco truck on the back patio serves delicious, cheap tacos, and gives the outdoor space a California vibe. The bartenders are quick and knowledgeable, and take care to create refreshing cocktails.
Located on the border of Hell's Kitchen and Midtown, the New York outpost of this national club chain is the place to go when you want to dance all night (well, at least until 3am) without strict bouncers and overpriced bottle service. If there isn't live music, there are eclectic heart-pumping DJ sets filled with generation-spanning hits. Drinks are cheap and the crowd is lively to say the least.
This Upper East Side beer hall brings booze, ping pong, and pinball to an otherwise reserved neighborhood. Treadwell Park offers 20 draft beers, bottles, and ciders sourced from far and wide (like Belgium, Germany, the Bronx, and Vermont). The food menu is an equally diverse display of bar bites, featuring small and large plates like bratwurst, smoked wings, and pulled pork tacos. Brick walls and communal wooden tables add to the laid-back neighborhood feel.
On the 18th floor and rooftop of the Standard High Line is Le Bain, a sleek and ever-popular bar/nightclub. On the first floor of the bi-level space, you'll find Le Bain's most notable and distinguishing feature: a plunging indoor pool smack in the middle of the dance floor (hence the name, which translates to "the bath.") If you forget your swimsuit, not to worry -- there's a bathing-suit vending machine. Upstairs, you'll find an astro turf-covered rooftop with plenty of comfortable couch seating, a crêperie, and some of the best views of the city.
For all those times you wish you were in Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights , Bembe is your real-life solution. Part bar, part dance club, this Williamsburg spot has Latin beats, tropical drinks, and steamy vibes that'll transport you straight to Miami.