Best Bars To Meet Someone In New York

November 13, 2010 3:11 PM

A circus arts’ performance at Galapagos (credit:

Anybody who’s ever done the dating scene in Manhattan (willingly or with blinders on) knows how it can feel, with every failed attempt at finding “the one”, like a socialized form of masochism. Sure, there are success stories (a surprising number of which are owed to online dating) but honestly, no person enjoys the added pressure of trying to connect with a total stranger. Besides, why set yourself up for failure on a formalized date, when you can socialize on common ground and let things unfold in a more open and organic manner? That in mind, here’s five great NYC sites where folks can hole up with friends AND meet others in ways that are both relaxed and ripe with romantic possibility … provided you don’t try too hard.
prohibition Best Bars To Meet Someone In New York

The pink pool table at Prohibition. (credit:


503 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024

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Roomy yet devoid of rowdies, modern without copping too cool a ‘tude, Prohibition provides an original twist on the Upper West Side social scene thanks to a relaxed lounge setting, a diverse roster of musical acts, great New American cuisine and the most attentive and attractive bartenders to ever tip a bottle in the city. Their martinis and mixers are particularly good (try either the Ruby Red or the Prohibition Mojito, each $11). Meanwhile, the backroom – which features a red velvet-topped pool table, a full private bar and your own personal waitstaff – is another option if you’re looking for either a quiet chat with an eyecatcher, or an easy way to get circles of mutual friends to comfortably intermingle. Live music plays from 9pm-12am Sun-Wed, 10pm-1am on Thu, and 10:30pm-1:30am on weekends.

amsterdam Best Bars To Meet Someone In New York

The website of Amsterdam Billiard Club & Bar. (credit:

Amsterdam Billiards & Bar

110 E. 11th St.
New York, NY 10003

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As a famous shark named Fast Eddie once said: “Pool excellence is not about excellent pool … it’s about being a student of human moves.” Never was that philosophy more true to life, especially on NYC’s socially bustling billiards scene. And what better way to study the competition than shooting a friendly game of stick with strangers, especially the attractive and single kind? If you’re willing to take the cue, check out this stylized pool hall in Union Square. Oak-paneled and plush with a comfortable side lounge for breaks between breaks, AB has 26 available tables, plasmas TVs for current event junkies, a separate VIP section for celebs and high-ends who want to knock around, and a gorgeously curved bar where you can get anything from Jack on the rocks to a good glass of chard. And if you’re a novice to the scene, no worries: there’s a staff of good instructors who will happily show you how to avoid getting behind the eight ball.

galapagos Best Bars To Meet Someone In New York

The birth of a fan at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn. (credit:

16 Main St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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A one-time industrial warehouse that has since gone enviably green (its steel stage platforms are all recycled), this amazing riverside space in Williamsburg is a now-celebrated and swanky artistic venue that attracts and inspires all sorts. It also features great performers who frequently and unabashedly display all, much to the delight (and, on occasion, the highly-enjoyable chagrin) of its often-capacity crowds. Tenders well versed in the provision of drink serve constantly from side grottos on the top and bottom floors overlooking each of the stages, leaving you plenty of room to roam and see the shows. So if you’re aiming to break the ice in a group (or as a couple) and get a good conversation started, what better way to do it than by glimpsing wildly acrobatic women twirling from the ceiling a la Cirque du Soleil? Or Victorian-era takes on X-rated rock lyrics? Or selections of poetry done to a cabaret striptease? Or … well, you get the idea. Available for private parties too, but the price tag is hefty: $8,000 for cocktails alone.

gutter Best Bars To Meet Someone In New York

The website of the bowling bar, The Gutter in Brooklyn. (credit:

Gutter Bar
200 N. 14th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211

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A former factory that’s since been retro-fitted as a shabby, Brunswick-machined, eight-lane bowling alley by the owners of the popular Barcade (equally good, but not ranked here), The Gutter is the first rock-rollin’, pin-knocking joint to hit Brooklyn in almost half a century, and yet it looks like it never left town, thanks to some clever fringe antiquing (the 40’s-era phone booth alone is Superman’s dream). And despite heavy gripes about it not being stocked in Miller High Life (man, there’s just no pleasing hipsters, is there?), the alley bar serves a great selection of whiskey and at least 12 microbrews. But again, plastic fans: come prepared, for this is a CASH ONLY establishment. Games are $7 a person, with all the essential footwear available on-site at $3 a pair. If you’re in a group of 5 or more, it’s an hourly charge between $30-$40, depending. Given the abundance of beverages and its surroundings, hey … The Dude himself would abide.

ironhorse Best Bars To Meet Someone In New York

Some of the friendliest bartenders in New York await you at the Ironhorse (credit:

The Iron Horse
32 Cliff St.
New York, NY 10038

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Not to be confused with the upstate watering hole where the late, great Paul Newman shot his Oscar-nominated classic Nobody’s Fool, this downtown (and lowdown) NYC saloon is a great place for extroverts and gadabouts eager to gather and blow off some truly hedonistic post-work steam in rowdy and raunchy style. A much saltier (and far less crowded) option than Coyote Ugly, the Horse’s bra-clad fire-spitting crew (magazine model / drink-slinging skydiver Trish Lyndon is one of several local legends to have tended bar) is equally sexy, brazen and improvisational when it comes to breaking the ice with both its male and female patrons, who happily sip $2 cans of Rolling Rock while the bar gals perform stunts that involve everything from chocolate syrup to a flying trapeze. High-end drinks and classy behavior isn’t an issue here. The Iron Horse is all about letting your hair down and having fun. Prudes who find it lewd, hey … don’t the let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya. For churchgoing sorts, there’s “Free Burger Sunday,” where if – between noon and 10pm – you order any drink (except Rolling Rock), you get a free burger or hot dog.

-By Kevin Byrne

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