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Belly up to Midtown bars and eavesdrop on pickup lines

Even in the open-minded, artsy world of Midtown, approaching an attractive person in a bar can be nerve-racking. Our writer set out on a quest to discover how locals attempt talking to sexy strangers. Here are the best (and worst) pickup lines and anecdotes she collected while gallivanting around de Vere’s Irish Pub, Shady Lady Saloon, The Mercantile Saloon, Old Tavern and Zebra Club.

“A guy was sitting at the bar while I was bartending, and he said, ‘I wish I was a glass.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Because then your hands would be all over me.’ He threw up right after he said that.”
—Aimee Chilson, 25, bartender

“Well, it’s not so much of a line as an icebreaker: You give someone a balloon animal and they’ll remember you for the rest of their life!”
—Robert Pepple, 25, law student

“I wouldn’t approach anyone at a bar, but I go with my tried-and-true method of drinking and dancing—or flailing about wildly—until someone finds it attractive … or spilling something on someone! That always works!”
—Kate Alloway, 21, artist

“Say something that’s going on around us: a game, or where she’s from, or what she’s drinking. Or make fun of someone else!”
—Aaron Taylor, 33, business owner

“Find some common ground: ‘Hey, I’ve seen that bag before. Did you get it at …?’ Or ‘Is this place pretty cool?’ Just something to get the ball rolling so that first jab is out of the way. I’ll be honest, though. Once that part’s over, I’m good.”
—Gavin Littles, 27, bouncer

“You have to make eye contact and then wait until they’re alone.”
—Steve Hansen, 31, law student

“You put yourself in their conversation and be fabulous. Also, you can look on Grindr and see who’s around you.”
—Matt Sigl, 28, Broadway Public Relations rep

“I like going to a bar where there’s dancing. Dance close to where they are and make yourself visible. If they don’t want to dance close to you, you don’t want to have anything to do with them!”
—Rebecca Sigl, 26, actor

“This guy came in [to the bar] who was, like, 21—and I’m obviously not 21—and said, ‘Did it hurt?’ I already knew what he was going to say, so I just got impatient and said, ‘What!?!’ He said, ‘When you fell from heaven?’ I said, ‘Save it for the skinny girls!'”
—Jesse Green, 33, bartender

“I have this uncle who says stuff like, ‘Well, we’ve never swung from the same branch, but are you from the zoo?’ or ‘My zodiac sign just changed. Have you changed out of your pants yet?’”
—Vinny Gonzales, 22, Safeway cashier

“Well [points to a random girl in the bar], she’s coming home to me anyway, so our story’s already over. Shall we move on?”
—Aaron Buhrz, 40, bar owner