The 10 best hookup bars in NYC

Hooking up is hard to do—unless you know where to go. Read on, Casanova!

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Skinny Dennis

Skinny Dennis Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Looking to get laid? Cramped, hot places with free-flowing alcohol are still your best bet, and lucky for you, New York City is a treasure trove of such locales, as our roundup of the 50 best bars in NYC attests. Here's our pick of the surest spots for scoring your next bed-fellow—and be sure to cue up our playlist of the sexiest songs ever made for when you get home with your honey.


Ready to meet singles? Here's our list of top spots

1

Skinny Dennis

  • Price band: 1/4

Late-night ’Burgians have really embraced this Southern-fried corner joint since it opened last year. The honky-tonk is packed virtually every night of the week—and for good reason: There’s something about the stew of cheap beer, old-country tunes, vintage porn on the bathroom walls, and smiley patrons that makes you want to stay into the wee hours.   
Good for picking up: Chicks or dudes that live by the Spinal Tap credo to “have a good time, all the time.”
Sexiest feature: It’s tiny—and the makeshift dance floor in front of the band is a perfect place to get close to a new friend. The bathroom nudie art should get you in the mood, too.

  1. 152 Metropolitan Ave (at Berry St)
More info
2

Boat

  • Price band: 1/4

Boat can perhaps best be described as a dimly lit orange box that straddles the line between a Cheers-like neighborhood bar (with cuter clientele) and a classic NYC dive. Its jukebox is legendary, as are the bartenders, who are likely to serve up some snark with that Tecate if you start getting rowdy. Around 2am, this is the spot in Cobble Hill for locals looking to get lucky.
Good for picking up: A tipsy writer. Or teamster.
Sexiest feature: The jukebox offers plenty of opportunities for “Oh my God, that’s my favorite band, too!” pickups, but the back booths are where it’s at. (And by “it,” we mean dry humping.)

  1. 175 Smith St (between Warren and Wyckoff Sts)
More info
3

The Cock

  • Price band: 2/4

Although the East Village gay-bar scene is no longer a raging perpetual party, the Cock is still the kind of place to get felt up in the dark by someone you might later find attractive. Certainly, don’t wear your nice shoes—or go at all if you’re shocked by open displays of affection. (We’re not talking the PG-rated kind.)
Good for picking up: Horny NYU students, off-duty drag queens, daddies looking for young chickens to pluck.
Sexiest feature: Aside from the gyrating go-go boys in jockstraps, there’s the corner in the back where all kinds of shenanigans take place. Oh, and a tip: Bring hand sanitizer.

  1. 29 Second Ave (between 2nd and 3rd Sts)
More info
4

Union Pool

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Ye olde hookup classic: Union Pool is a tried-and-true pickup spot. Maybe it’s the live bands with hot musicians or the fire pit outside, but something about this former pool-supply store gets bridge-and-tunnel pheromones flowing. Rustle up some liquid courage, courtesy of the cheapo cans of PBR, and grab your object of lust for a quick make-out session in the photo booth. Just for the sake of all that is holy, don’t do it in the bathrooms (like everyone else does).
Good for picking up: Musicians, bartenders, artists…you know, all the people your mom warned you about
Sexiest feature: You know what? We’re gonna say the music. Hit the dancefloor on a Saturday night and shake it to some raunchy old punk and soul classics.

  1. 484 Union Ave (at Meeker Ave)
More info
5

Niagara

  • Price band: 2/4

The East Village can be a fucking pickle jar in terms of the number of dudes there on the weekend, but Bar Niagara remains pretty un-bro-y. Get there early to score a seat and engage in some of the best people-watching in town—and ogle who you fancy doing the nasty with later.
Good for picking up: Trust-fund kids who have actually heard of the New York Dolls.
Sexiest feature: Japanese legend Yoshitomo Nara’s awesome graffiti on the bathroom doors is an excellent conversation starter. Trust us.

  1. 112 Ave A (at 7th St)
More info
6

Black Sheep Pub

  • Price band: 1/4

Less a “dive bar” than a flat-out rowdy Irish pub, Black Sheep seems to be more of a meat market than anything else. The drinks are poured as liberally as the neighborhood’s voting pattern (smack bang in the middle of Park Slope), but you’ll be hard-pressed to find kale and quinoa types here. Instead, feast your eyes on the people—regulars include comedian Wyatt Cynac—not to mention the type of man or woman who will drink you under the table before making you laugh harder than North Korean import laws. Did we mention the jukebox here?
Good for picking up: The kind of person who will bang you like a flea-market drum set
Sexiest feature: The best bathroom graffiti this side of Berlin

  1. 428 Bergen St (at Fifth Ave)
More info
7

Miss Favela

  • Price band: 2/4

Bem vindo a sesta! (That’s “Welcome to the party!” in Portuguese.) This cheery Brazilian bar combines seriously strong drinks (like ever-so-sweet caipirinhas) with bumpin’ forró music, ensuring that the dance floor stays sweaty and packed till the 4am closing time.
Good for picking up: Fun-loving, cocktail-quaffing types who like a little bump with their grind
Sexiest feature: The bar staff

  1. 57 South 5th St (at Wythe Ave)
More info
8

Pianos

  • Price band: 2/4

A perennial spot for horny hipsters, this ever-popular LES bar boasts all the tools necessary for an easy hookup: an upstairs lounge, a downstairs bar, a showroom with live bands and performers, and a 2 to 7pm happy-hour special with $4 frozen margaritas to get your blood pumping.
Good for picking up: Cute young things who look like they’ve just stepped out of Urban Outfitters. (They probably have.)
Sexiest feature: The pop-star–to–regular-person ratio at the bar

  1. 158 Ludlow St (between Rivington and Stanton Sts)
More info
9

Joshua Tree

Look, we’re not going to pretend that Murray Hill’s Joshua Tree is everyone’s shot of Jäger—this fist-bumping haven attracts a young, postgraduate, ass-seeking crowd. But if you’re into a Hot Tub Time Machine vibe, you’ll be happy to hear that Joshua Tree has daily happy hours from noon to 8pm, ’80s music blasting from every speaker, 23 beers on draft and singles making out everywhere.
Good for picking up: Drunk girls/boys who can’t hear how lame your pickup line was
Sexiest feature: The fog machine on the dance floor. Cough!

  1. 513 Third Ave
More info
10

Black Rabbit

  • Price band: 2/4

This Greenpoint establishment is a classy spot: not the kind of place you'll want to get royally tanked in. In fact, it's largely discouraged. Half the regulars here are writers, performers and comedians—so bring your A-game and if you can hold your own (both liquor-wise and conversationally); you'll be rewarded by the unforgiving oak bar magically opening up and becoming one of the best singles bars in the city. Found a friend? Duck into one the old-timey oak booths and shut the little door; a waiter(!) will bring you your next round of drinks and/or as many pickleback shots as you can manage.
Good for picking up: Sassy tattooed folk with stories that'll last all night.
Sexiest feature: Amply sized bathrooms. For, you know, whatever you need to do in there.

  1. 91 Greenpoint Ave (between Franklin St and Manhattan Ave)
More info

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