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. If you’re sick of being single in New York, 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.
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Our list of the top hookup bars
This relic of New York’s past is still surviving as a beauty parlor, with additional drinking and dancing options now added. Metallic, domed hair dryers and original salon-style chairs lined up against a wall make for a hyper-specific retro aesthetic. Sultry lighting and a robust drink menu, however, take Beauty Bar to the next level, making it an alluring destination for those looking to get it on. (Or those looking to laugh it off—there are weekly free stand-up comedy shows with appealing drink specials.)
Good for picking up: Well-groomed, hip humans.
Sexiest feature: Where else can you get a mani and a martini for $10 as you search for your soulmate?
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.
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.)
Take your desires underground and get your groove on at this former bean-sprout factory turned sweaty, eccentric LES bar. Gawk at the taxidermic rabbit, eagle and beaver behind the bar and sip a zesty cocktail while making eyes at the bespectacled cutie across the room.
Good for picking up: Guys who really, really, really like beards. Girls who really, really, really like septum piercings.
Sexiest feature: Four words: Friday. Night. Soul. Music.
Venue says: “Your week night spot for creative, American dining and speciality cocktails on our Rooftop. Summer Friday Happy Hour starts at 3pm every Fri”
Embrace your inner seductress when you enter this 1940s Parisian dream. Quench your thirst with a Devil’s Spring (Spring 44 gin, raspberry syrup and ginger syrup) and then meander on down to the underground dance club to rub up against the single-and-very-ready-to-mingle crowd. And pop some Dom Pérignon, if you’re feeling bottle service amounts of frisky.
Good for picking up: Tipsy young’ns that just inherited their grandmother’s rent-controlled LES apartment. Real estate privilege is hot!
Sexiest feature: Leather banquettes, mood lighting, airy rooftop….looks really do matter.
This sprawling, West Village beer garden boasts high ceilings, long communal tables and a variety of ales and lagers so great it’d make any beer-lover blush. Get gamey with a pong companion on a weeknight or get next-level promiscuous while gyrating to a Saturday night DJ set. The scene is buzzy but low-key, so bring your best wingman/wingwoman along for the grind-and-bumpy ride.
Good for picking up: Bros that just want to get down in a beer garden.
Sexiest feature: You can wink and clink beers at the bar and swap numbers plus more at the rear.
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!
By day, it’s a sunlit café, creative agency and fancy bike shop. By night, Kinfolk transforms into a hipper-than-thou hotspot for Williamsburg-dwelling kids in the know. It’s a breeding ground for freelancers, creatives, models and musicians—go for the streamlined aesthetic but stay for the cesspool of future hook-up buddies.
Good for picking up: Girls with Haim-like hair or guys in athleisure wear.
Sexiest feature: The tatted bartenders will make you swoon.
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
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.
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
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.
Saunter through dark, glossy hallways and throngs of potential flames to get to the heart of the beast: Southside’s well-equipped DJ booth. Move to the thrum of the music and revel in a cast of surrounding suitors that you would totally swipe right on. But first, order a plate of pigs in a blanket to really get the party started.
Good for picking up: The stylish and moneyed crew, like finance dudes in button-downs and svelte girls wearing body con-dresses.
Sexiest feature: Linger around the potted plants and see what kind of peek-a-boo mischief you get yourself into.
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.
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.
Repeat after us: brews 'n’ boys 'n’ brews 'n’ boys. Village Tavern is far from a hidden gem—it’s on the well-trodden, West Village path, located at the intersection of Bedford Street and Leroy Street near the hubbub of Bleecker Street. Beer wenches and bros, unite! It’s the spot to meet before sneaking off to your apartment together.
Good for picking up: Post-grad villagers with a fratty vibe.
Sexiest feature: If the sports games on TV don’t do it for you, the Jägermeister shot dispenser will surely help.