The term “dating” in New York tends to make us recoil in fearful disgust, because it oozes with eau d’commitment, and that’s not a New Yorker’s favorite scent. We call it “hanging out,” mostly because we’re probably “hanging out” with three or four people at a time. The rest of the world calls this casually dating. These dates can be slightly more romantic than the FWB dates, but not SO romantic as to let your partner think he or she is the only one on the menu.
Delicious, cheap oysters in this city tend to be accompanied by delicious, cheap-ish cocktails. Put the two together and you have a fun, somewhat sexy date.
There are now a few outposts of this beloved Williamsburg #foodporn extravaganza, which means there are now several locations from which to choose if neither of you lives in or near Williamsburg. Whichever one you opt for, make sure you have a divide-and-conquer tactic and then meet up over some beers to share your spoils; because nothing says casual romance like offering someone a bite of your ramen burger.
Bare all at burlesque
Watching strangers get naked with your casual date du jour is a pretty good way to get yourself in the mood to get naked. New York has some excellent spots to enjoy a classy nip slip, like the Slipper Room, Nurse Bettie, or Duane Park.
Get dim sum & cheap massages
Exploring Chinatown, whether in Manhattan or Flushing, is a fun and casual date filled with non-romantic things like cheap beers and greasy shared plates. But if the call of soup dumplings and scallion pancakes isn’t enough to get you in the mood, check out one of the numerous budget massage spots that sit nearby. You two can then go home for your own happy endings.
Listening to live music is a great casual date option. At Rockwood there are three separate stages and often you can catch sets late into the night. Plus its Lower East Side location puts you within a stone’s throw of tons of great bars and restaurants should the night want to go really late.
Dance! Outside! During the day!
Maybe “clubbing” isn’t your thing, and is far too serious of an endeavor to embark on with a casual date, but you really do love to dance. Through September take your date to hear some great DJs all the while enjoying outdoor food and drink, in case the dancing becomes too “serious.” Spots like Mister Sunday, Tiki Disco, and MoMA PS1: Warm Up are all great warm-weather spots for outdoor dancing... casually.
Coney Island has all the makings of an awesome daytime summer date. Hit Luna Park, slurp down refillable piña coladas, and win someone a giant bear. If all else fails, just hit the beach or sip frosty boardwalk beers.
Visit a brewery
Hit one of New York’s many breweries, where you can both discuss your mutual love of IPAs and overall dislike of Belgian wheats. There’s always Brooklyn Brewery, but if you want something more off-beat, visit ones likes SingleCut Beersmiths in Astoria, Transmitter Brewing in Long Island City, Threes Brewing in Gowanus, or Gun Hill Brewing in the Bronx.
Maybe you’re going here because you hooked up the night before, or maybe you are just meeting up for daytime debauchery, which will then lead to hooking up. Either way, this is a great daytime date to satisfy all types of indulgences.
Going out of town might be too much of a commitment with your casual date, but going to Queens is an appropriate, scaled-down substitute. Especially if that trip involves more than 100 vendors selling food, art, and other stuff. The Queens International Night Market celebrates all the cultures of NYC, and specifically Queens, which includes Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Thai, Greek, Brazilian... the list goes on, and on...
Get crabs together...
But like, actual crabs. And then play mini golf! Visit Brooklyn Crab, a tri-level seafood hut in Red Hook that serves beer, a medley of crustaceans, and has plenty of games to make a date just a notch below actually romantic.
Get weirdly cultured
A stroll through the MoMA or the Met is fine, but been there, done that. Why not try checking out some of New York’s more bizarre museums like the Museum of Sex, the Morbid Anatomy Museum, or the City Reliquary Museum.