The Mixed Bar – Myth or Reality?by Frank Paiva on May 23, 2020
We’ve heard the lie: “Oh, you should totally come! It’s going to be a mixed crowd.” When we arrive, we’re the only lesbian in a sea of gay men or the only black person for miles or the only woman who couldn’t double as a cast member on Jersey Shore.
Is there even such a thing as a mixed crowd in New York?
It’s not that the city as a whole isn’t mixed. It’s gigantic. Chances are, if you wanted to find someone who’d be into licking your shoes while talking dirty in a Korean accent and wearing a sombrero, you could. Likewise, if you just wanted a nice man with a job and most of his hair, you could probably find that, too.
But would you expect to find these things in the same place? Of course not. That kind of logic is on par with assuming H&H makes great sushi because they make great bagels. New York nightlife is – for the most part – rigidly segmented along these lines. Sushi. Bagels. Steak. All separate spots.
However, there are a few places where you can go to meet people from all walks of life. Here’s a sampling…
204 Varick Street at West Houston Street
A few times a year you get that flight of fancy to go to a real salsa club in Queens and dance the night away. Then you go and everyone is so amazing that you become intimidated and leave. S.O.B.’s is full of people like you. Sure there are a few big fish in a small pond show off types, but don’t let them ruin the fun. The crowd here ranges from just out of college to just out of the nursing home.
281 West 12th Street at West 4th Street
This tiny, predominantly lesbian bar seems to be the one-thing lesbians, gays, and straights can agree on. If the joint becomes ultra-crowded, security will let ladies who like ladies in first, but that almost never happens. Also, we’re just going to throw this out there: Whiskey sours are $3 all the time. And they have lots of crazy lights, party decorations, and Lord knows what else hanging from the ceiling. Avoid the ire of the bartenders by not selecting Gaga on the jukebox.
59 Grove Street at 7th Avenue South
The other trick for a mixed crowd? Find a theme night that will bring out the nerds. Marie’s Crisis is a pretension-free piano bar in a small West Village basement. It’s just a bunch of people standing around a piano singing showtunes with no irony whatsoever, and certainly no lack of enthusiasm. It’s one of those great test-your-date’s-true-mettle icebreaker places. If they’re willing to sing along, they’re probably cool.
Where else do mixed crowds convene?