NYCGuide

Where To Take Someone You Don't Like Talking To

When you're planning a night out with someone who excels at tedious conversation, choose one of these spots.

We all have people in our lives that are anything but a joy to talk to. Maybe they only talk about themselves, or worse, maybe they're incapable of discussing anything other than their job. (It's not that important.) The next time you can't get out of an IRL meetup with such a person, plan an outing at one of the spots on this guide. They all provide distractions that make extensive conversation challenging.

THE SPOTS

You keep wondering why your coworker insists on picking you as the person they complain about their neighbors to. After all, you two share the same boss—you'd much rather grumble about them. Take your coworker to Swingers, a mini golf chain that started in London. Your conversation will be dominated by all the fake flowers and missed three-foot putts, and you can grab some quick bites from a food court with vendors like Miznon, Mah-Ze-Dahr, and Sauce Pizzeria. This place is cheesy, but you'll have a good time.

Loud music is like kryptonite to a conversation. At this Haitian spot on the Lower East Side, there's always either a DJ or a live band playing in the dining room with rainbow globe lights going every which way. Order the griot with tender chunks of pork shoulder and the Barbancourt mussels in a garlicky broth. After a few songs, your companion will realize that Rebel isn't the best place to keep talking about how planning their wedding is taking over their life (and yours, every time you two get together).

This restaurant in Bed-Stuy serves a four-course, prix fixe Nigerian meal in a room where you'll sit at a communal table with strangers. If you don't want to talk to the person you brought, you can converse with the other people at the table, and the chef will suck up some time by explaining each course and telling some funny stories. The whole experience feels like a dinner party, and like at any dinner party, you're not supposed to spend your whole time talking to the person you're with.

Chino Grande is a spot in Williamsburg that serves great cocktails and interesting dishes—like lobster with Szechuan au poivre sauce—that you can always use as a topic of conversation when your acquaintance keeps talking about crypto. Be sure to come around 10pm, because that's when the karaoke starts. It's difficult to chat while someone is screaming the lyrics to Mr. Brightside right in front of you. If the person you're with insists on talking, you can always put a song in yourself and get on up there.

photo credit: Emily Schindler

Sushi W review image
7.7

Sushi W

Perfect For:Dining SoloLunch

Possibly no other place on this list is more suited to suppressing conversation than Sushi W on the Upper West Side. For $63 (including tip), you'll get 17 courses of high-quality nigiri and handrolls—but you have to get in and out within an hour. Every time your companion starts to talk about what they've been watching on the History Channel, the chef will interrupt with an explanation of the next course. Before you know it, your meal will be over, and you'll be disingenuously saying something like "I wish we could have had more time to catch up."

Bring someone to Break Bar in Astoria when you need a variety of things to distract you from having any kind of meaningful engagement with someone. Not only are there pool and ping pong tables, but there are also mini bocce courts and games like giant Connect 4. If all else fails, there are tons of TVs and projectors, so your focus can shift to whatever game is on. If you come during Happy Hour, you can get beers, waffle fries, churros, and other things for $6.

Rooftop Reds is a vineyard on a rooftop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that shows outdoor movies during certain times of the year. After a few "Sorry, but I really like this part" sentences come out of your mouth, your companion will probably give up trying to talk to you. For $25, you get a movie ticket, two slices of pizza, some popcorn, and, if you come on the right night, Penny Lane saying, "It's all happening." Go here for the full movie schedule.

At Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, a KBBQ spot in K-town, it's never too long before someone comes to your table and starts flipping marinated boneless short ribs or pouring beaten eggs into a moat around a tabletop grill. When you're done eating, you will, in theory, have time to talk. But this place always has a line, and the staff might give you the stink eye if you linger too long, so a "People are waiting, we should go" declaration is a perfect out.

Someone you've already cancelled on three times still wants to meet up, and they insist on doing it on a Saturday afternoon. This is what you get for lying about having to work late on that random Tuesday when you actually had nothing else going on. Squarrel Cafe, a few blocks from Barclays Center, has hundreds of board games, any of which you can play for $5/person for three hours. This cafe has bubble tea and coffee drinks as well as snacks like popcorn chicken, and you two will be so busy trying to think of words that contain a "Q" or a "J" that talking will be at a minimum.

Your friend used to be a lot more fun. Now, they insist that they need a kid-free night, but every time they're with you, all they talk about is their kids. At Somewhere Nowhere in Chelsea, you'll both be too preoccupied with the gnome sculptures, the view from the open-air rooftop, and the very loud DJ sets to do a lot of conversing. Even if you meet up here before the DJ starts, there might be a live jazz band or a burlesque show happening.

You know the person you're meeting up with is just going to talk about the two-week trip they took to the Maldives and all the famous people they thought they saw there. Suggest an evening at The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Gowanus. (Shuffleboard apparently exists in places other than the deck of a cruise ship.) You can rent one of the 10 courts here by the hour, and there are two bars in addition to a food truck. You have no idea how to play shuffleboard, but you know it involves hands, which means your friend might forgo the whole scrolling through vacation photos thing.

North River Lobster Co. is a restaurant on a boat that leaves from a pier near 41st Street on the west side of Manhattan. Being on a boat doesn't prevent you from having conversations, but mostly you'll be walking around saying things like "Look, there's that bridge" to each other. You can get lobster rolls, beer battered fish and chips, and oysters on board, and the whole trip only takes an hour. Once you disembark, you'll be back where you started (i.e., in a place with nothing else to do), so going your separate ways will be the most logical next step.

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