From a certain point of view, a wedding is pretty bizarre. Your friends and family all come to watch you and your partner kiss and give each other magic rings, then everybody eats a big dinner and listens to old music. This happens somewhere every day!
It’s better to regard it as a chance to spend time with your favorite people. It’s freeing to consider a bachelor party in this way, too. You can just—you know—get together with your friends! As we head toward peak wedding season, then, let’s skip the strippers and Jäger shots and think outside the Vegas with these eight bachelor party plans.
If you’d like your bachelor party to feel like a mini game in Red Dead Redemption 2, look no further than Kick Axe. A new bar in Gowanus that’s decorated like the inside of an Ace Hotel in Montana—very tasteful plaid and taxidermy—Kick Axe is a great place to have a few drinks, relax in an armchair, and hurl hatchets at a wood target all night long. It’s like darts with axes—or bowling with axes. It even offers bachelor party packages; click here for info. 622 Degraw Street, Gowanus
Make like the Dude and just roll. For our money, the best bowling experience in NYC is at Williamsburg’s Gutter. Like some kind of nostalgic Midwestern Voltron, everything here is put together from other long-extinct bowling alleys the owners bought on a trip around the country. Bonus: Bowl Frames lets you order in any food you want. So summon a bullpen’s worth of pitchers, reserve a lane for a few hours, eat a pizza and some wings, and just relax. 200 North 14th Street, Williamsburg
Eat a Huge Amount of Hot Chicken
For some beautiful reason, extremely spicy chicken is suddenly extremely popular in New York. This is one of the world’s perfect foods, so please make the most of this moment by getting together with your friends and eating chicken until you sweat your face off.
While New York doesn’t have much in the way of true Nashville-style hot chicken spots, Peaches HotHouse comes pretty close. Visit its Fort Greene location for a spicy chicken platter or sandwich. 87 South Elliott Place, Fort Greene
Even more interesting is Koreatown’s BBQ Chicken. A Korean chain that specializes in boneless wings, you can grab an already prepared bucket of its golden olive Hot Spicy chicken and eat it in the cafeteria-like upstairs or sit in its relatively swanky underground bar. Just take note: This is one of the spiciest things I’ve ever eaten. 25 West 32nd Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), Koreatown
Jack in at midtown’s VR World Arcade to fight zombies; play 2016’s hit game, Super Hot; or walk a virtual tightrope. While in the area, you and your crew can chow down at one of these consistently tasty spots. 4 East 34th Street (between Fifth and Madison Avenues), Midtown
Book the Penthouse Suite
It’s easy to forget when you live here, but New York has some of the best hotels in the world. Lately, we’re especially into the newer ones in Brooklyn, whose upper floors have panoramic, unobstructed views of the entire Manhattan skyline. The Wythe Hotel, the William Vale Hotel, and the Williamsburg Hotel all offer similar rooms that are wildly luxurious and wildly expensive (get everyone to chip in). What you get up to in that hotel, well that’s up to you. Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg; William Vale, 111 North 12th Street, Greenpoint; Williamsburg Hotel, 96 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg
Imbibe Barbecue and Bourbon at Fette Sau
Williamsburg barbecue joint Fette Sau describes itself as one part central Texas and one part New York deli. This makes sense because you order slabs of dry-rubbed barbecue by weight, which is plopped on butcher paper on a plastic tray. This is great all by itself! But it also features one of the best and most reasonably priced whiskey selections in the city. For instance, it’s one of the only places in New York where you can find the suddenly ultrarare Kentucky bourbon Blanton’s (aka the one with the pewter horse on top). 354 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg
Ski the City
If you’re getting married in a warmer season, you can celebrate your impending lifetime commitment by taking a frankly insane ride on a water motorcycle! There are more than a few places in New York to rent Jet Skis, and a few different things to do on them. Companies like Jetty Jumpers and Sea the City offer guided tours of the city on the Hudson River from the back of a Jet Ski. For a bit of a more unstructured experience, Rockaway Jet Ski lets you rent by the hour and tool around in Jamaica Bay. Jetty Jumpers, 3939 Emmons Avenue, Sheepshead Bay; Sea the City, 84 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, New Jersey; Rockaway Jet Ski, 375 Beach 92nd Street, Rockaway Beach
Keep It Real
I’ve been trying not to focus on the gendered nature of a bachelor party, because honestly there’s no reason you have to identify as a man, or a straight man, to have one. So you know what? Invite everyone—invite your fiancée!—to get together at your favorite bar (here are some of ours), just like you would any other time you have something to celebrate. Your wedding should be done your way, and if this sounds fun to you, you should totally do it! After all, this will be your only bachelor party ever (knock wood).