Dear PoPville – Where are the Good Places to Meet Singles in their 30s?

Photo by PoPville flickr user random lady

Dear PoPville,

A friend of mine who is single and in her mid-30s asks me often where are the best places (restaurants or bars) to meet single men of a similar age in this fair city of ours. I have tried many times to pinpoint a good place, but my ideas always seem to be busts.

Where can singles in their 30’s and upwards go to meet singles in DC?

128 Comment

  • Grad school

  • Baltimore.

  • Bwah ha ha. Is this a serious question?

    • i think this is a completely serious question — i’m turning thirty this month and find it difficult to meet singles who are not 22-25, and would love to hear suggestions.

      • as would I. all the men I keep meeting are in their early 20s or in their late 40s. I’d like to meet someone around my own age.

      • If I were in this situation I’d look into classes– either grad school like someone mentioned, or less serious ones like art, exercise, or learning a new language. Or I’d do some volunteering or find some meetup groups that look interesting. These places are good for meeting people who have similar interests, and even if you don’t meet anyone you might make a friend or at least do something useful or learn sometihng new.

        • Cooking classes too.

        • Classes of any kind — cooking, running, tennis, French, you name it — are excellent places to meet women. But the only men I’ve ever seen in any of these classes that I’ve taken have been boyfriends being good sports.

    • Why is this so funny?

  • Church

    – Clarence from My-T-Sharp

  • Off topic, but I like the photo on this post – that is one of my favorite rooms in DC.
    (I was originally not happy about enclosing the courtyard… I admit, I was wrong.)

    • Thanks — it’s my photo! So glad you like it. The Courtyard is one of my favorite places, too. Great for reading and drinking a glass of wine. But maybe not so great for meeting peeps…..

  • Why is this question funny? Now I am terrified of reaching the end of my 20’s. O_O

  • Echo-ing the suggestion to look in to classes. Another suggestion…look in to social sports that aren’t kickball. I have many friends ranging from mid-20’s to 40’s who play bocce and know a lot of people who have met significant others through it.

    • Oh, good idea. I’m the one who mentioned classes and I was thinking they work more in the favor of men (since they’re usually mostly women that take them). Sports might have a better male-to-female ratio.

  • Hiking groups, neighborhood cleanups, classes, workshops, volunteer events, running groups, biking groups, hashing.

    NOT BARS!!!!!

  • Bars that do not have Miller Lite specials.

    • This.

      Single men in their 30’s still like to go out and have a drink, but prefer adult drinks like Scotches and dirty martinis, not penny special drafts.

      • Good place for meeting a guy that’s (possibly) a little more mature and likes decent drinks… the bar at Churchkey before they get too busy. Sure, some may be married, dorky or both (points at self) – but I bet there’s some older single guys there too. And the interesting beers w/ high ABV lend themselves well to good conversation. Always 100% acceptable to lead with “what are you drinking, is it good?” there.

      • because hard drinking men are the kind of guy you want to meet?

  • This is a completely valid question and the responses posted just reenforces the precarious position of single people. I met the love of my life on jdate. It was the only good date I ever had facilitated by the site. My advice is to keep trying internet dating even when the road ahead seems bleak.

    I also think that older people (read 30’s) hang out at Marvin and other upscale bars. Room 11 is another great place with many people on dates, but a few hanging with friends and looking. The Washington Happy Hour and the Chinatown scene at 5 PM (Poste, Jaleo) is prime with professionals. I’m posting again after consulting friends; I feel that there are many lovely singles out there. Good luck!

  • and how about the LGBT folks out there – any thoughts?

    • For LGBT I’d probably just stick to gay bars. Anywhere else and your odds of finding someone are incredibly slim.

      • Seriously? Are you from 1950? There are lots of bars that cater to a mixed crowd, ignoramus. Furthermore, you could meet plenty of LGBT people at house parties, at a restaurant, wherever. I am offended by the assertion that we should just “stay in the gay bars.” So tacky.

        • The message was delivered poorly, but it’s probably the best advice due to the higher concentration. Certain bars cater better to certain crowds. A lot of my friends are white and I’m not. I don’t typically date white ladies, so their favorite bars don’t have my preferred ladies.

        • I’m saying this as a lesbian in her 20’s. Yes, of course there are bars with mixed crowds, and we don’t stick to strictly gay places when we go out. But if you’re specifically looking to meet someone of the same orientation it’s a lot harder to do in a mixed crowd. There simply aren’t as many gay people to choose from, and you really can’t tell who’s gay and who’s not (not that you necessarily can in a gay bar either, but it’s a little easier to make educated guesses). I have NEVER been approached by another woman unless it was in a gay bar, and I would probably not feel comfortable approaching a woman in a mixed-crowd venue. With men, especially, it’s really risky to assume someone might be gay or be ok with you thinking they could be.

          You sound like a straight person who thinks all LGBT people are impossibly easy to pick out in a crowd, but we’re really not.

        • Um, I’m pretty sure you’re overreacting. The comment “stick to gay bars” means that if you are actively looking for somebody who would describe themself as “a single” and is looking for a date, then a gay bar is your best bet if you are gay. Seeing as less than 10% of the population is gay in a normal bar and I’d venture to say that’s much higher in a gay bar, this makes perfect sense. It’s a sad truth that gay and straight don’t mix enough (I’d love to hear where these awesome bars are that cater to a mixed crowd!), but it’s already 2 strikes against you if you’re gay since such a small portion of the population is actually gay. I’m positive the person doesn’t want gay people to only frequent gay bars, but I’m also positive that if you’re gay and you want to get a date quickly, it’s your best bet.

          • If you don’t want folks to overreact to your posts, you shouldn’t make statements that label straight bars as ‘normal bars,’ which insinuates that gay bars (& possibly their patrons) are not normal. Just saying…

          • I’m the Anonymous whose comment was so offensive, but not the one you’re replying to who said people were overreacting to it. However, as a LGBT person I think it’s silly to get all worked up because someone called a non-gay bar a “normal” bar. If you truly think the implication is that we’re NOT normal, then you need to take a deep breath and remind yourself not to read too much into things.

      • Oh, and another point I forgot to mention that’s specific to the age thing…. I think it’s more acceptable/common for LGBT people to go out to bars and clubs when they’re in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, etc. A lot of people here are saying a bar isn’t a good place for a straight woman to find a straight man in his 30’s, but I think it’s still a good place to go if you’re gay because a lot of post-20-year-olds are still going out (hell, some of them are still coming out) at that age.

        • You know one place single women desperately seeking a man shouldn’t be? Gay bars. Seriously. Go somewhere else.

        • I’m also somewhat mystified by the age-old assertion we should head to the bars to find mates. Online dating is a good option for us LGBTers, but there are also a zillion volunteer opportunities in our community for meeting people, ie. burgundy crescent; HRC volunteer night, Mautner Project volunteer things. Also there are a number of communities of faith that have pretty significant gay populations.

          I think we should have a LGBT PoP happy hour! Anyone interested?

          • I would be, but judging by some of the reactions here I’d be afraid of accidentally making someone angry. I really don’t do well with people who deliberately try to misinterpret things just for the sake of starting a fight.

            (You seem cool though! 🙂

      • Well, besides bars, there are LGBT meetups (and yes, I think is great) for all manner of interests – dancing, board games, sports, music – oh and if I may put in two cents for Gay District – an excellent group of guys in the 20 to 35 range. You can Google them.

        Myself, I met the love of my life at a Scrabble group which because of its Logan Circle location had several LGBT members.

        You don’t have to go to a bar to meet the guy you’re looking for. 🙂

    • The gym obivously.

  • This is a great question! It seems like alot of people (incl myself) in this town are in the same boat: past the age of bars and lame hookups and looking for something long term, but where can you find the non-alcoholic, non workaholic (yet employed) hotties? DC Men, grow a pair – we are out there looking – you just gotta ask!

    • I’m sure you are really cool, but I can’t say that about your average woman in DC. I’d say 1 out of 100 women here meet my standards for long-term dating. I’m sure the men here suck too, but I don’t spend much time thinking about them. What do women think of the average DC man?

      • Wow. Only 1 in 100 D.C. women meet your standards?? What exactly are your standards?

        • I don’t have “standards” in the way some women have checklists. It’s just more of a vibe I get. Honestly, I’ve only met a couple of American women in DC that I would consider dating were I single.

        • He has very high standards…First of all, someone has to like him.

          • Some guys claim to have high standards and thus justify not approaching women or dating them. That’s not the case with me. I have been married for a good while, and I am very sociable. It’s just that DC seems to draw the worst types of American women, and everytime I go out and see what most of them are like, I’m happy to go home to my wife.

      • Not very highly, it’s sad. As documented in alot of publications our generation is in a weird place. The female are well educated and independent while most of the men take alot longer to grow up. I think DC is the epitome of this because there is such a bad ratio of women to men and we have to settle. I don’t know where all the good ones hide. Girls just want someone who is stable, not a douche, preferably clean, and a normal human. But it seems most men in DC are in a prolonged state of frat boy life.

        I really don’t like to bitch but its been 2 years here, I never get dates. All my girl friends are in the same boat. We are all self sufficient, fit, motivated, and down to earth people….its kinda tragic. I think men have stopped approaching women unless they are hammered, why?

      • Women in DC notoriously complain about how the men suck (not my experience, though)–so the feeling may be mutual.

        • Well I guess since we’re all transplants it depends on where you are from. I’ve lived all over the country and never had a problem getting a date, until now in DC.

        • I figured it was mutual. People’s dating/relationship expectations have been unsettled throughout the country in the last 20-30 years, but I think DC makes it particularly hard. Everybody is confused about what they want, what they deserve, and what they can really get. Gender roles are in flux, and the whole thing seems too complicated. Perhaps some people are just giving up.

        • I think it’s largely becuase a lot of people come here straight from college. And it’s a lot harder to meet people in the real world than in college.

      • as a 30-something year old guy, I agree… at least, in my opinion, they don’t meet my deal-breaker type standards, like not insanely wrapped up in work, not materialistic, wants to settle down, wants kids, etc.

    • Try not hewing to old stereotypes of women and men and ask yourself.

      • Ask myself what? And what “stereotypes” are you talking about?

        I am making a simple point: I have met very, very few American women in DC that I would find desirable for a serious, committed, long-term relationship. I know you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I have been around long enough (in DC, and on the planet) to sniff out character traits pretty quickly, and it’s pretty easy to disqualify most women as a potential mate. There are men who don’t shag every woman who throw themselves at him, and they don’t waste their time dating women below their standards.

  • Some recommendations from a 41 year-old guy who has lived (and gone out quite a bit) in DC for about 15 years:

    Penn Quarter restaurants/bars: Poste (esp. in the courtyard), Oya, Oyamel, Zaytinya, Zengo.

    Also, 18th Street Lounge. The “new” Cities (19th Street between Eye and K).

    U Street: Marvin, Lost Society, Tabaq, Chi Cha Lounge.

  • I smell a POPville singles group forming…..

    • That wouldn’t be a bad idea!

    • This has been suggested a bunch of times and I really like the idea. I was out on a first date last night and the best conversation we had we about a couple stories we’d read that week on PoP. Honestly “do you read Prince of Petworth?” is a good question to use to weed people out.

  • Wow, I kind of thought this was a joke as well. I mean 30? You are having a hard time finding a place to go and meet people who are in their 30s? Wow…..try it in your 40s my friend.

  • Washington City Paper listed Local 16 as 2012’s best singles bar. (And PoP as best blogger!)

    • From my experience, Local 16 trends very young, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. Like early/mid 20s, guys just out of fraternities, girls just out of sororities. Your mileage may vary.

      • I agree

        • Seriously?! That makes me lose faith in City Paper. Local 16 may be the worst bar in DC if you’re not a fan of spaces so packed you can’t avoid touching at least three people at all times and music so loud you can’t order a drink or talk to anyone in your party. For those hoping to avoid the frat scene, I’d steer clear of Local 16.

  • Work – either people in your org/company/agency or friends of co-workers.

  • Craigslist personals. Just be savvy.

  • Soccer leagues (seemed to be older than the kickball crowd). but honestly, online is your best bet. When I found myself suddenly single at 34 this was the best option and felt less depressing than being the single girl at a bar. And now I am happily married to my online guy.

  • All of my 30-something good friends who are dating/married to someone met their S.O. through mutual friends, which I realize isn’t very helpful to the OP. Even if taking a class or joining a group (bocce, church, meetup hiking or book club, etc.) doesn’t result in a direct connection, you might find yourself meeting people through the people you meet in those groups. I’m dating someone I met online right now (and no, I’m not the bar type, and I haven’t been since I was 23), so I’m a big proponent of online dating as well.

    • +1 for online dating. Is there seriously any stigma still associated with that? You need to sort through the d-bags and freakoids just like anywhere else, and there are lots of amazing people who have realized it’s the most likely way to find somebody in a city full of overworked people.

      • Agreed. I met my ex on okcupid and we dated about a year and a half. Took a cooling off period and now that I’m dating again, okc has been pretty good. I’ve been on four first dates and really liked a couple of people. The site’s algorithms do a decent job of matching you with someone you can at least sit through a drink with.

  • you know, any time I ever took a class or joined a group, it was all single women looking to meet men. There were never any men! EVER. And I met a lot of terrible men in bars, but I met my husband on match. If you have the fortitude to wade through the skeazy dudes and go on some awkward dates, you can meet some quality people.

  • binpetworth

    For those men on this site who recommended specific bars/restaurants: which women do you approach? Are they alone or with others? My experience with many restaurants/happy hours in this town is that people tend to congregate in groups of friends and never speak to strangers (unless they’re friends of friends), so I’m honestly wondering what the likelihood is of meeting someone at one of these places.

    • The best way to answer is to give some general pointers. Try not to isolate yourself from the rest of the establishment. Don’t sit down at a table, form a huddle, etc. Try not to have too large a group. If you do have a large group, break it up. Hang out at/near the bar (or any other place where there’s traffic). Don’t be afraid to start a conversation yourself. (“Hey, didn’t you go to _____’s party?” etc.) If you’re by yourself, just hang out at the bar. Don’t get (or at least act) absorbed in your iPhone, etc.

    • if you see someone you’re attracted to, go up and introduce yourself, even if they’re in a group. if they think you’re attractive or interesting, it won’t be awkward. if they aren’t interested, you talk for a few minutes and head back to your seat. why is this so hard for people?

  • It depends on what kind of guys you like. My girlfriends and I have always met cuties at the bar at Citronelle in Georgetown, Agaiin, PX and Vermillion in Old Town Alexandria, Poste, The Passenger, a sports bar that makes good cocktails, and at The Phillips Collection when they have their Thursday night thingys

  • Sporting events and poker games. I met my fiance over a round of Texas Hold’em.

  • Clarendon Grille

    Sorry, I felt like making a joke today. Carry on.

  • POP should host a a singles event. There were enough people empathizing with the OP to populate a good event.

  • Not to be cliche, but no one has said improv classes yet? Washington Improv Theater (WIT) and DC Improv have great classes that really allow you to interact with classmates. It’s mostly a 20- and 30-something crowd, though you get some older folks, too. Plus, WIT offers free shows and improv “jams” on Tuesday nights so you can meet up with your classmates and meet even more people. There are always single guys in the audience…guys like comedy, I guess!

    I met my boyfriend through WIT and I could not be any happier! I can count about five other couples who have formed as a result of being in the improv community. Worth a try?

  • Reading all this makes so, so glad I’m gay. Thanks for making this validation Friday.

  • novadancer

    I met my husband at pub trivia…

  • PDleftMtP

    Meet people first. If you meet new people, some of them will be datable. I met my wife (when we were both in our 30s) because I put together a big happy hour with some friends and we just invited tons of folks. Groups are also a good idea; I’m in a singing group that has resulted in a couple of marriages, and another friend met someone on a retreat. I always found it easiest to put myself in a situation to interact with new people and take it from there.

    Oh, and women – you can ask too. What is this, 1900?

    More focused stuff like online dating can work, though to me that always felt like we were all digging through the produce bins at the end of the farmers’ market looking for the tomato that wasn’t too weird. The bar where 30s and 40s are all hitting on each other? Not sure it exists.

    Good luck to all.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I think the Prince needs to tell us how he met his Princess. What tips does he have? (Also I’m nosey and like a good story.)

  • Finding M. Right is something that is so random. Do things that make you happy now and also put you around other people and eventually you will find him or her…and you will have fun in the meantime.

  • Thank you so much for all the non-bar suggestions — I will pass them along. Though no one’s mentioned it here, several of my several of my single friends and I are planning to check out The Hamilton tomorrow night, as I heard today that the crowd is a good mix of ages. Concur?

    • Was the repetition a subliminal hint to the single guys out there? YOU’LL NEVER KNOW.

    • My girlfriend and out checked out the Hamilton for the first time last week and had a blast. Great intimate music venue – sound system is great, food comes out fast (though the music area menu is limited), very nice decor, reasonable (DC standards) drink and food prices. I strongly recommend.

  • I love this city. So many single women in their e early 30’s, and the dudes mostly suck. Its paradise for a half-scrub like myself. BTW, me and my crew hang out at Stetson’s, Millie & Al’s, and Dan’s Cafe. Then we get sad for being fat and having no shot w/ 20-year-olds, so we pick up on the 30’s. Ha!

  • Running joke among my circle of friends is that all dc men are average at best (at least the single ones left that are age appropriate) and short!! Under 5’7″ Short and usually in politics!

    • tonyr

      George Carlin’s thoughts on people being average; I paraphrase …. when you think about how dumb the average person is, remember that half the people are even dumber than that.

      • tonyr

        Also – age-appropriateness – when I turned 50 the best line I heard was “Congratulations, you’re 2/3 done”. Dating is the least of my issues. At least I’m taller then 5’7″ (just) and not in politics (at all).

  • Get one of the group camping sites at Assateague or somewhere for a weekend, invite your women friends and get them to invite possible men, who should each bring a buddy or two. Organize some happy hours, group meals, bring toys. At least you’ll have fun, and see the real person from the very beginning. Half of my friends met their spouses that way, and the other half met at their weddings. (Although the couple that got lost at sea for 6 hours on a tipped catamaran never did speak again!)

  • Met my husband of many years on It’s just a place to meet people. We didn’t want to date anyone from work and didn’t do bars.

  • For those of you willing to try online dating, is a great site where you can meet people based on the dates you actually want to go on. Great alternative to bars.

  • Kramerbooks, from 7pm to 9pm on Thurs thru Sat. Lots of singles hanging around the bar area, pretending to read but really checking each other out.

    • But still, still only 26ish-30ish folks there. If I were 35ish-40ish I’d go the Meetup route as others have mentioned.

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