Sure, speed dating in NYC might sound like a relic of the ‘90s, but hear us out. If you’ve tried Tinder, 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.
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Best places for speed dating in NYC
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.
They say love can come down to hormones and pheromones, so let physical chemistry lead the way. Brought to you by an organization called Guerilla Science, Sensory Speed Dating matches up pairs of any corresponding persuasion to explore one sense at a time. Participants are blindfolded as they go through activities that focus on sound, smell, touch and taste. (You might smell your partner, but don’t worry, you will not have to taste them). You will either find the love of your life or have a great story for your next vanilla date.
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.
If you live to read, why date anyone but a fellow bookworm? That’s the concept behind I Like Your Glasses, New York’s one and only literary speed dating event. Organized by Housing Works and held at its bookstore café, your ticket gets you 10 six-minute dates matched by age and book preference, a beer or glass of wine, and 10 percent off any book purchase. And just in case you need another reason to try it out, all the proceeds are used to help provide relief for homelessness and AIDS.
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 your basic dating categories of age, race and ethnicity if you’re looking for someone with whom you’ll have guaranteed common ground or who will make your mom happy. What’s nice is that if you have a bum night and don’t find a single date appealing, 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.