Go for the high score at a retro arcade
Lucky for us, arcades are now usually attached or located in bars. They're no longer the places where pimply teens congregate, but socially acceptable hangout spots for anyone with a nerdy bone in their body. The latest to open, Up Down, is a multistory sensory overload of tongue-in-cheek neon signs, pop culture murals, and over 60 games. When you want to have a conversation without the midi music in the background, head out to the upstairs patio.
Lower East Side
Imagine a place where you create your own mini golf holes from piles of weird obstacles, then play them, all while drinking in an underground bar -- that place is Nine Below, and it's a must for anyone who loved putt putt as a kid. This is a great one for group dates, so wrangle some friendly couples and go big with it.
Kochanski's Concertina Beer Hall is a bar with two stages, Polish drinks, lots of history, and plenty of polka, rockabilly, honky-tonk, and rock shows. If your date can't appreciate that kind of music in a divey, unpretentious bar, then there's probably no hope for your relationship.