We get it—dating in New York is rough. If you’re sick of Tinder but still optimistic about dating someone (and heck, looking for reasons to date someone, we're picky alright?!) in this city, check out our ranking of new dating apps, for everyone from dog lovers to beard obsessives. We tested them out to see which were really the best apps so you don’t have to waste your time swiping left on tons of boring (and, fine, creepy) profiles. You’re welcome.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to date ideas in NYC
The best new dating apps
As someone who regularly receives messages from strangers that read, “Come over and sit on my face,” I found Bumble’s premise that only women can make the first move appealing. I was immediately matched up with several gorgeous men, and I had 24 hours to contact them or they’d disappear, meaning an end to matches stacking up. (I already have two promising dates set up. No big deal.) The app even has a Backtrack feature that lets you shake the phone to retrieve anyone you accidentally swiped left. Genius.
I’d always rolled my eyes when men told me that sex apps weren’t just for sex. SCRUFF, the “mature” gay man’s app, just proved me wrong with its brand-new Venture setting, which offers travelers the chance to find foreign friends, a place to crash and, yes, even some action, no matter where they are in the world, forming a network that’s like a flirty Airbnb. The app’s user-friendly interface and diverse selection of confident men made this skinny Jewish boy feel powerful, desired and in need of a phone charger.
New Yorkers friggin’ love their pets, so it’s no surprise that this app, which matches owners for some mingle time, with their respective mutts in tow, is taking off. Tindog feels like it’s geared equally toward platonic and romantic meets and provides a mostly no-pressure-nor-creeps vibe (aside from one beagle owner who persistently asked to meet for a drink at 1am sans, I assume, his furry friend). Bonus: The profile pic is of the pooch, not the master, so you get to know the better half first.
An app that requires dudes to be invited by women in order to join? Yes, please! Unfortunately, right now, the pickings are awfully slim on Wyldfire—so paltry, in fact, that it recycled my discards. And while the interface is easy to use, I’m not feeling the Hint feature, which allows you to show your interest to a potential match by choosing one of four prewritten messages: “Hello!”, “I like your profile!”, “I’m interested!” or “You’re cute!” These make the lamest pickup lines on Tinder seem thoughtful by comparison.
To quote relationship philosopher Rob Gordon in High Fidelity, “What really matters is what you like, not what you are like.” Enter Tastebuds, the Tinder for audiophiles, where you can list your favorite bands, download a song that sums you up and synch up with your Spotify playlist. Cool, right? Right. Trouble is, there aren’t a whole lot of people actually using this thing. I found myself running into the same faces, and after the app froze on me a few times, I trashed it faster than a mixtape from an ex.
Your girl loves herself some facial hair, so I was happy to check out the app for beardaholics. But my dreams of spending the winter with a lumberjack were smashed when I could barely figure out how to use it. Someone who’s been asking “A/S/L?” (that’s “age/sex/location,” duh) online since 2000 should know how to “like” a guy, change her settings to only view men and not see options from Nyack, New York, but Bristlr’s ancient interface left me wishing the founders of SCRUFF were straight.
Has video killed the Tinder star? No, but this newbie, which lets you video chat with potential dates before meeting IRL, sure hopes it will. The good news: If you expect—like I did—a lot of live-action dick filmography, like a mobile Chatroulette, don’t fret. My experience was PG-13. The bad news: The super selective matching criteria (religion, salary, height) results in almost no intriguing guys, and the interface is confusing as hell, harkening to an older chat-room era. Swipe left on this one.
Think of Lulu as the Yelp of dudes, where women can rate and comment on men they’ve met via the app—and guys can’t see how they’re stacking up. Sounds pretty invasive and potentially slanderous, huh? It is. Even after I got past the shock of seeing intimate details about an ex (how he’s obsessed with his mother, how long he lasts in bed), I generally disliked the interface and lack of potential suitors. Besides that, the experience just feels too negative, catty and gross. #TooMature4This.