The Matchmakers' Guide To Love In NYC

Photo: Courtesy Of Union Pool.
Sometimes, online dating seems to be the only way to meet someone new in this town — unless you’re brave enough to chat up a fine-lookin' stranger on the subway. But, the digital game isn't for everyone. Though we could list plenty of great places to take someone, we were stumped when it came down to getting that date in the first place. So, we asked two of NYC's best matchmakers to give us some advice on finding love in real life. Amy Van Doran and the ladies behind The Dating Ring set us up with the best spots for meeting someone. Ahead, 10 perfect places to meet cute IRL. No missed connections, here.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Barclays Center.
A Basketball Game
Van Doran says basketball games in particular are a perfect spot to meet guys. "People ask me where the dudes are — they are at the Barclays center," she says. Um, noted. It's also a good place to talk, as it's usually not too loud, and you'll both be with groups of friends. Plus, the action on the floor is a great conversation starter.

Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Avenue; 917-618-6700.

This Lower East Side spot has a nice neighborhood feel to it, and Van Doran points out the venue's quality beer list attracts craft-brew lovers (and therefore clientele with discerning livers palates). "The boys behind the bar are like your brothers who always look out for you," she says. "And, there's a weekly rotating art gallery, so there are lots of opportunities for ice breakers."

Culturefix, 9 Clinton Street (at East Houston Street); 646-863-7171.
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Photo: Via Noah Devereaux/Brooklyn Oenology Winery.
Brooklyn Oenology
Van Doran highly recommends this Williamsburg wine bar: "Cozy environment. Good, unpretentious ambiance. Helpful staff. Huge drink list. Intimate seating. Perfect place to get to know someone." You had us at huge drink list.

Brooklyn Oenology, 209 Wythe Avenue (at North 3rd Street); 718-599-1259.

The Heath
Van Doran describes this Chelsea spot as "very stylized" and "perfect for an evening of amazing food and potential intrigue." Of course, it's also where you can catch the Sleep No More act.

The Heath, 542 West 27th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues); 212-564-1662.
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Photo: Courtesy Of New York Cares.
Volunteer Event With New York Cares
There's a lot to be said for someone who uses their free time to help out their community. And, The Dating Ring says it's also a great opportunity to meet someone if you're shy. "You won't have to get up the nerve to approach anyone since you'll be working on a project together already!"

New York Cares, various locations; 212-228-5000.

105th Street Dog Run
The Dating Ring knows the key to many a woman's heart is a hairy drooler with boundary issues. So, the dog run is a great place to meet someone who owns one. "If someone is capable of caring for another living creature, it's a pretty good litmus test that they're mature enough for a relationship. Or, at least a conversation. And, dogs are a great excuse to start chatting! Everyone looks hot with a dog." Or, at least hotter.

105th Street Dog Run, West 105th Street & Riverside Drive.
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Photo: Keith Huang/The PIT.
The People's Improv Theater
We admit that taking an improv class isn't for everyone. But, if you're feeling brave, The Dating Ring highly recommends it. "It's an easy way to get to know people and get comfortable really quickly. And, fortunately these span over many weeks, so you can make friends (that will inevitably turn into pretty substantial crushes)!"

The People's Improv Theatre, 123 East 24th Street (between Lexington and Park Avenues); 212-563-7488.

Brooklyn Boulders
The Dating Ring praises this particular spot for being friendly and low-key. Plus, as the matchmaking service says, "Anyone who approaches you while you're being such a badass is someone worth knowing." Or, if you're skills aren't so hot, switch things around and be the initiator.

Brooklyn Boulders, 575 Degraw Street (at Douglass Street); 347-834-9066.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Union Pool.
Union Pool
Van Doran lauds this Williamsburg spot for its clever mix of food, drink, and events. "Awesome taco truck in the back. Great live summer concerts." She warns, however, that timing is everything at this place. "The weekend can be too crowded for my taste, so to strike up a real conversation, I would stick to weekdays," the matchmaker says.

Union Pool, 484 Union Avenue (at Meeker Avenue); 718-609-0484.

The Wash House
The Dating Ring is pretty enthusiastic about this choice: "You can do your laundry, drink beer, and eat grilled cheese at the same time. AT THE SAME TIME, you guys. Bonus: Anyone you meet there will have at least one week's worth of clean clothing. This is a huge deal. Also: grilled cheese. It bears repeating." They forgot to mention the amazing espresso chocolate-chip cookies, too, but in any case, we're sold.

The Wash House, 44 East 1st Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues); 301-367-2301.