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I Like Your Glasses: Literary Speed Dating
Photograph: Jesse Chan-NorrisI Like Your Glasses: Literary Speed Dating

The best places for speed dating in NYC

Step away from the apps and find love IRL with the best places for speed dating in NYC—you’ll forget all about Hinge

Collier Sutter
Written by
Arielle Shorr
Collier Sutter

Sure, speed dating in NYC might sound like a relic of the ‘90s, but hear us out. If you’ve tried Hinge, Bumble and even the more obscure (though intriguing) dating apps but still can’t seem to swipe yourself in love, it’s time to think outside the app. NYC may be a city for singles, but when you’re surrounded by romantic restaurants and perfect date ideas, it’s impossible not to long for something more than the one-night stands you find at hookup bars eventually. When you’re open to finding a deeper connection but don’t want all the pressure of a blind date or setup, dip your toes into New York’s dating pool with the city’s best speed dating events.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best date ideas in NYC

Best places for speed dating in NYC

Whether you’re app-fatigued or just ready for some IRL dopamine and good conversation for the night, head to a speed dating event at a trendy bar or speakeasy in Manhattan with Ambyr Club, a new speed dating company in the Big Apple. What stands out the most? Members are vetted by Ambyr (yep, thats an application process to join, an interview and a background check) so you can have some peace of mind when you sit down at their monthly events. From Jazz nights to rooftop parties to Halloween masquerades, events and cost vary each month, but usually start around $150.

Maxine Williams, 26, set out to start We Met IRL after attending a speed dating event in New York and noticed the pool just wasnt diverse enough. We Met IRL was born to be a safe space for people of color between 25 and 35 years old to speed date. To start fill out their questionnare to get on the email list. While all are welcome, the founders during this stage also want to make sure our attendees are from diverse backgrounds. 


On Speed Dating offers some really fun and quirky speed dating concepts. There’s Celebrity Look-Alikes for those who are easily starstruck but ready to settle, Finance-ista for those looking for love in the financial district and Herbivore Night where vegans can discuss being vegan. There’s even a Save Me theme for women who fantasize about running into the arms of a firefighter or EMT provider. The company also provides meet-ups and mixers for a more organic setting than hookup bars.

Speed NY Dating, a British company that opened a second operation in NYC, claims to bring a certain European sophistication to the speed dating scene. Low-key and chic are the names of its game; each event is held at fancy restaurants or hotel lounges, and absent are the telltale name tags. Plus the management readily intervenes if a certain participant forgets their manners and starts to throw off the vibe. Events are exclusively for the twenties to thirties crowd.


Don’t wait for other services to offer the occasional gay speed dating night—this group holds several events a month that are only for gay men. The most common theme is Gay Professionals, but it also offers Millionaire Matchmaker, where men 35 and under are paired with guys 36 and over, as well as Poz Gay Speed Dating exclusively for men who are HIV positive. The group also hosts gay networking, theater events and more.

As one of the longest running speed dating services, New York Easy Dates is a smooth operation. What’s nice about this option is that you can choose the event format, not just the crowd type. So, for example, if you’re someone who firmly believes dating is nothing but a numbers game, you can choose an event where you get three minutes with 35 dates (35 dates!), or you can elect to enjoy a little more one-on-one time with a smaller number of potential matches.


NY Minute Dating offers a variety of dating nights based on what you're interested in, and just in case you need an incentive to head out the door, if you have a bum night and don’t find a connection with a single date, you can attend the next event for free. And while most speed dating companies have very strict cancellation policies, if you need to cancel, it will let you reschedule for a different event instead.

Ready for a first date?

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