Pop-Up Café Helps You Find a Date Too

Customers can browse for potential dates on the café's iPad. Baristas help make introductions

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Nancy Slotnick

“What about that handsome stranger over there?”

Matchmaker Café in New York City’s Financial District serves up a little something extra for its patrons – a shot at finding love. Less than a month old, the pop-up café lets single customers browse potential dating matches on an iPad as they leisurely sip their lattes. It’s also the physical outpost for the service’s online dating app, which launched last November and offers in-person introductions by a matchmaker, according to DNAinfo.

Like another dating service that launched in the spring of 2012, Coffee Meets Bagel, the Matchmaker dating app uses people’s Facebook profiles to suggest potential dates. The difference? Matchmaker has an actual, albeit temporary, coffee stand staffed with friendly baristas who will let you use their iPad to browse other singles in the area, then help arrange dates. Until Labor Day, when the pop-up cafe closes, guests can pay $5 for three phone introductions or $10 for ten. They can also pay for a subscription to the Matchmaker Cafe app, which has more than 3,000 members.

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“There’s nothing like real human connection,” Slotnick told the New York Post. “You can have all of the online stuff, and technology does make it much more efficient to connect — but ultimately you have to meet.”

Slotnick believes the café can differentiate itself from competitors because there’s already a “vetted party” as the middleman. She’s already a pro at blending dating and coffee shops: She founded Drip Cafe on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in 1996, which let customers search physical binders filled with dating profiles. Once guests found someone they wanted to meet, the cafe would help arrange a meeting for a small fee.

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So far, the pop-up dating cafe has gotten mixed reactions. Megan Zilis, a 29-year-old account executive, said, “I would be open to this only if the barista was a close friend and all the other café patrons were also close friends.” Meanwhile, Sharon Nord, a 56-year-old customer, told the Post that she was enthusiastic about the service. “It seems like they have a good list of people,” she says, “and really, it’s another way to meet people.”

It also makes it really easy to decide where to meet for coffee.