MANHATTAN — If you don't have a special someone, the holidays can be a lonely time, especially in a city that blitzes you with advertising images of smiling, cozy couples decked out in festive garb. Yet there are thousands of single people out there that feel the same way you do.
Whether you're looking for a festive fling, a holiday hook-up, or some merry monogamy, DNAinfo has you covered with our guide to the best bars in the city to find someone to kiss under the mistletoe.
Bar 21 (21 W. 52nd St.)
The new cocktail lounge in Midtown's ritzy 21 Club is a great place for fancier folk to meet. If you can afford the pricey drinks, you'll have to opportunity to chat up a potential partner on a cozy leather chair in front of the bar's roaring fireplace. Be sure to order your guy or gal an Apres Ski, the bar's new cocktail which has a healthy helping of Myers's rum, cinnamon, Tia Maria and Aztec chocolate bitters.
"Guests can stop by any night of the week for some holiday imbibing," said the bar's manager, Bryan McGuire. "Guests can warm up with their date by the fireplace or mingle with our great crowd by the bar."
Peter McManus Cafe (152 Seventh Ave.)
This Chelsea staple, around for nearly a century and more affectionately known as simply 'McManus,' is a great place to meet a match, due to the diversity of patrons it attracts. The old Irish pub gets decorated to the nines and draws everyone from NYU students to "Saturday Night Live" cast members.
Pull up a stool and the friendly veteran bartenders might even give you a tip or two about how to improve your game. While you're at it, order a pair of pints of McManus Ale, the house brew. Cheap prices and a regular buyback makes this bar an affordable place to meet someone under the mistletoe.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time, I'd never think you could meet a guy here — or a girl here," said Yvonne LeFleur, 28, who was sitting near the bar on Tuesday. "But the holidays bring out lonely people, and this is a great place for us to get together, I guess."
Entwine (765 Washington St.)
This dimly-lit, cozy West Village wine bar offers some tasty food, and is a great place not just to meet someone special, but to take them on a date. The more bar-like downstairs is a great place to sidle up to someone you like and impress them with your wine knowledge and an extensive menu of warming cocktails rounds out the menu.
In all, this is more of a place to take a date than to meet one, but locals say there's a steady stream of single people at Entwine during the holidays, particularly around the weekend.
Marie's Crisis (59 Grove St.)
Some might call the bright decorations at Marie's Crisis garish, others might call them fabulous, but either way this Broadway-themed piano gay bar in the West Village is nothing if not campy. The bar is typically packed with Broadway-loving guys and their hangers-on, listening to all kinds of show tunes being belted out by either a fabulous queen or an old stage star. It looks and feels like Christmas in Marie's Crisis all year, but there's a little extra sense of holiday camp during December. Chances are if you don't meet someone special on your own, the bartenders or singers will push you towards someone they think you'd be cute with.
Bar on 5th (400 5th Ave.)
A classic cocktail bar, this low-key Murray Hill lounge in the Setai Fifth Avenue Hotel has plenty of couches where you can snuggle up. Throughout the early evening, the bar caters to the after-work crowd, but it gets particularly busy during the holidays.
"It's perfect for singles looking to meet," said Magda Kruzycki, the bar's food and beverage director. "You can cozy up over a cocktail, and the nightly jazz makes everything very romantic, especially around the holidays."
The skilled bartenders (call them 'mixologists' and they'll like you) have even put together a twist on a winter favorite, transforming the hot toddy into a "Hot Jameson," which includes the Irish whiskey, drinking chocolate and whipped cream.
Cubbyhole (281 W. 12th St.)
Another bar that looks like Christmas year-round, but gets even more festive during the last few weeks of December, Cubbyhole in the West Village is known for its lesbian clientele and cheap drinks. Nearly any night of the week, this bar is packed, so there's plenty of opportunity to find a nice girl for a smooch under the mistletoe or a flirty conversation. Drink specials last at least until 9 p.m. seven days-a-week, and they range from $2 margaritas on Tuesdays to $4 bocce balls on Fridays, so it'll be a cheap night, too.
GILT Lounge (455 Madison Ave.)
Make sure you're wearing a suit-and-tie or a stylish-but-festive dress when you sit down at the bar at this ritzy Midtown lounge in the New York Palace Hotel. This is the place to go if you're hoping to find a holiday fling that might be able to buy you a present or two. Patrons often includes bankers, lawyers, and business-types from out of town staying upstairs. The lounge's artisanal cocktails and extensive wine menu will likely cost you a big chunk of your holiday bonus, so this might be the kind of bar to go to if you're expecting your new-found holiday beau to buy you drinks, instead of the other way around.
Milano's Bar (51 E. Houston)
If you want to meet someone to commiserate about how much you hate the holidays, Milano's is it. This famous SoHo dive bar is dark, the floors are sticky, and it has a jukebox you can set to play anything but the Christmas music blasting in every other part of the city. Like most dives, it has a tried-and-true, can-of-beer-and-shot deal if you want a bit of liquid confidence to approach that cute punk girl or guy sitting at the end of the bar.
"You'd never expect it, but it's great," said Douglas Ferndale, 34, who was waiting to meet a date outside the bar on Tuesday. "I actually met someone here last week. We got [drunk] off of cans and shots. It was good."
Bartenders here are friendly to regulars, so if you show up enough times and chat them up, they'll likely return the favor and could help you meet the holiday hookup of your dreams.