A field guide to urban bears

Make sure you know which creatures you're dealing with before the bears take Manhattan this weekend

Everyone knows what a bear is these days, but do you know a cub from an otter? Check out our star-studded guide to these major ursine subspecies before hitting up the Urban Bear Weekend festivities, which get under way starting with tonight's Hairy Happy Hour!

Nick Frost

Nick Frost Photograph: Shutterstock


The chub is what most straight people think of when they think of a bear: an unapologetically big guy, proud of his size and furriness. The chub is almost certainly the most fun guy at a bear party. Seek him out.

Celebrity chub: Nick Frost

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow Photograph: Shutterstock


Somewhat self-explanatory: A cub is a younger (or at least younger-looking) man who hasn't quite fully embraced his true bearishness yet. Look for him on the sidelines early in the evening, and in the middle of the dance floor—shirt off—after a few beers.

Celebrity cub: Tim Tebow

Jude Law

Jude Law Photograph: Shutterstock


Not all bears are…bears. The otter is a furry dude who—whether through lack of effort, personal choice or genetic predisposition—fits into a size-medium flannel shirt, and thus lacks the requisite heft to be considered a full-on bear.

Celebrity otter: Jude Law

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman Photograph: Shutterstock

Muscle bear

The muscle bear has very little body fat and a pumped-up torso. Sometimes he isn't even very hairy—though he usually has a beard. Equally reviled and coveted in the bear scene, he's probably a very nice guy. Too bad everyone's afraid to talk to him.

Celebrity muscle bear: Hugh Jackman

George Clooney

George Clooney Photograph: Shutterstock

Polar bear

The polar bear attracts plenty of cubs, otters and even muscle bears with his confidence and snowy white coat. It's likely he also has an awesome apartment.

Celebrity polar bear: George Clooney

Send tips and cat photos to:

Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)


Subscribe to Time Out New York on Spotify for playlists and recommendations from our Music team.

Check out New York's best restaurants, hottest street style, cool apartments and more.