No doubt about it, dating in New York is tough, but we say that the increased popularity of vinyl listening bars can help you figure it out. Although vinyl records have been around since the 1930s, it was the Japanese who popularized modern listening bars. The trend quickly spread to Berlin and then the US. The listening bar’s focus might be on sound quality, but we recommend that your focus be on deciphering your date’s musical tastes. From a chic cocktail bar to a laid-back craft beer and natural wine place, there is something for every kind of audiophile. Come for the sound, leave as a couple!

In Sheep’s Clothing is a listening bar and record shop where you might find an entire evening and conversation dedicated to one artist. For instance, on February 21st the listening session featured the legendary Japanese band Happy End. The unassuming space can help you have a casual date night that includes the browsing of vinyl and cocktails. You will find that they have a wide range of classics as well as a selection of rare records from around the world for sale. The bar itself is intimate, making it ideal for a meet up of fellow music enthusiasts. Walking away with a new addition to your vinyl collection is the cherry on top!

In Sheep’s Clothing, 350 Hudson St (betw Charlton/King St) Soho

Tokyo Record Bar is an experience unlike anything else in the city. They aim to get people excited about vinyl. What we love about this bar and restaurant is their dedication to the Japanese listening bar culture, which includes an unpredictable pre-fixe menu. Taking your date here means being surprised by the music and the food, which will tell you if they can go with the flow. The izakaya-style tasting menu ensures that all you really have to worry about is picking your music. For drinks they offer champagne, sake and special Japanese cocktails. It’s an all around groovy time. photo by Noah Fecks

Tokyo Record Bar, 127 MacDougal St (betw W 3rd/4th St), West Village

For an impressive and elevated experience choose Vinyl Steakhouse. The food and cocktails here are top-notch. The menu features familiar steakhouse favorites, plus market-fresh dishes like scallops, salmon, and even sushi. Their in-house sommeliers are more than happy to help with the wine selection to match your meal. With a 2,500 sleeve vinyl record collection this place likes a good request so think of a fun song to impress your date beforehand. Come here with a date that enjoys steak and easygoing atmosphere.

 Vinyl Steakhouse, 35 W 19th St (beta 5th/6th Ave), Chelsea

Listening bars are all about the atmosphere and Eavesdrop has plenty of it! From the lighting, to the choice of music, this Brooklyn bar will surely give you plenty to talk about. The sleek wood interiors include acoustic panels and the warm lighting makes this place feel like someone’s stylish home. Here you can get up close and personal about your musical tastes as you enjoy craft cocktails, natural wines and small plates of food. Whether on your own or together, the atmosphere and sophisticated sound system will certainly have you coming back!

Eavesdrop, 674 Manhattan Ave (betw Nassau/Norman Ave), Greenpoint

BierWax is one of the first vinyl record bars to open in New York. In fact they just celebrated their six year anniversary. The bar prides itself on their 5,000 vinyl record collection, craft beer from local breweries and natural wines. In fact, it’s what they love discussing the most. While there is a no requests policy, the DJ curated playlists will impress you. From Motown Mondays to slow jams, this place will have you grooving along to the beat. On some nights you will find that singing and dancing is encouraged. This is one cool hangout and coming here ensures a memorable date night.

BierWax, 556 Vanderbilt Ave (betw Dean/Bergen St), Prospect Heights

Studio 151/Ichi Go Ichi is a sushi and cocktail bar that offers a speakeasy atmosphere, and the occasional Omakase style menu. If you seek the full experience, make sure to book the chef’s table. This is an off-the-beaten-path bar with a DJ booth and diverse vinyl selection. They seem to know the perfect volume for listening, which makes this the perfect spot for pleasant conversation. If you want to keep the night going, grab a nightcap at their downstairs live music venue, Nublu.

Studio 151/Ichi Go Ichi, 151 Loisaida Ave (betw 8th/9th St), East Village