Best dates for: The indier-than-thou

By Jonathan Shannon


Get inked
Up your cred at divey Buttermilk Bar (577 Fifth Ave at 16th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-788-6297) with your skinny-jeaned genie, knocking back $3 beers and well drinks during happy hour (weekdays 6--9pm). Numbed to the impending pain (but be sure not to get too numbed—drunks get turned away), head to Hand of Glory Tattoo (429 Seventh Ave between 14th and 15th Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-832-5020, for the $30 walk-in Script special—it takes only 20 minutes. If you're not ready to commit your date's name to skin just yet, make do with a crazy animal-head T-shirt ($20) designed by the shop's tattoo artists. Sport your new tat (or tee) at The Bell House (149 7th St between Second and Third Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn; 718-643-6510, The joint serves beer from independent and local breweries (you drink nothing else, right?), which you can quaff while enjoying a gig by that night's indie darlings.

Make a mixtape
Remember when you used to make mixtapes for your crush? Spend an afternoon crafting one for the monthly themed NYC Mixtape Exchange at Double Down (14 Ave A at Houston St; 212-982-0543,; first Sunday of every month 8--9pm; free). The next chance to show off your encyclopedic musical knowledge is Sunday 5, when you can swap tapes and CDs with others on the theme of the number seven. Since your date might end up comparing your sonic wisdom with that of other potential mates, boost yours on the sly by scouring the imports and rarities at Other Music (15 E 4th St between Broadway and Lafayette St; 212-477-8150, Finish the date with a snack and show at indie haven Cake Shop (152 Ludlow St between Rivington and Stanton Sts; 212-253-0036,

Form a band
Everyone is in a band these days, so get your own started over a lunch of local, organic food at Eat Records (124 Meserole Ave between Eckford and Leonard Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-389-8083, While you're waiting for your pancakes with seasonal fruit ($9), browse the record racks on the walls for influences and inspiration. The next step is instruments: Find your perfect ax with the perfect look at Southside Guitars (742 Driggs Ave at South 2nd St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn;; 718-218-8201,, a specialty vintage shop that's outfitted the Smashing Pumpkins, the Hives and ZZ Top. A classic Fender Esquire from 1962 may be out of your price range, but you can still earn cool points by noodling around on the guitars for free (no one can resist a musician). For an encore, scope out the scene at your future gig spot, Death By Audio (49 South 2nd St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn;, and dream of rocking that stage. Then arrange your second date: songwriting.