If you find dating awkward, try these dates that offer something to do.
Tue Feb 1 2011
Marie's Crisis Caf
This bare-bones gay piano bar is a dark, dank shrine to show tunes: Musical-theater--loving regulars sing the loudest and hog the spots closest to the piano, but anyone is welcome to join the party. Impress your companion with a solo performance of "What I Did for Love." 59 Grove St between Seventh Ave South and Bleecker St (no phone)
A Fordham dive that's become a favorite among the coed beer-pong set and exhibitionist locals, the Tinker is a place where you won't be surprised to see couples making out against the pool table after a few too many Long Island iced teas. (Instead of judging, why not join?) And if your date's going exceptionally well, carve your initials into the wall—everyone else already has. 387 Bedford Park Blvd at Webster Ave, Bronx (718-364-8789)
The tables in this landmark (and purportedly haunted) watering hole are lined with blank paper, which, besides sopping up grease from the excellent eight-ounce sirloin burger ($9), have been known to serve as doodling canvases thanks to the provided crayons. 326 Spring St between Greenwich and Washington Sts (212-226-9060, earinn.com)
This Williamsburg alley has survived the wave of competing hipster bowling joints without updating its old-school decor or scoring system, and to great result: The chipped balls here are still in demand on nights and weekends. Cheap pitchers of Chelsea Checker Cab ($15) ease the long wait for one of the eight lanes, and you get two-for-one games Thursdays 1--4am. Bonus: Every time your date turns their back on you to roll, your elevator eyes can scope away. 200 North 14th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-387-3585, thegutterbrooklyn.com)
This low-key lesbian hang draws mostly Park Slopers, but ladies have been known to come from beyond Brooklyn to sip a pale Ginger's Brew house draft ($5), play a round of pool, chill in the backyard when it's warm enough or spend Game Day griping about LeBron. The TVs play whatever sport's in season—from football to ftbol—as well as shows like American Idol. 363 Fifth Ave at 5th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-788-0924, gingersbarbklyn.com)