Big Birthday in the Big City
December 8, 2010 6:27 PM   Subscribe

I'll be turning 21 in a couple of weeks in New York City! Give me the secrets to the big 2-1 in the big N-Y-C.

Complicating factors:

I would like to celebrate on a Wednesday night (aka, Thursday at midnight) and Thursday night.
It would be great if my friends who are still 20 could join us for soda or something (babies!).
Cheaper is also preferable.

Would love suggestions for particular places or neighborhoods/areas.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Some of these places look like you might be taking the express train to Douchetown, but it's a starting point.

Can you narrow down what you're looking for a little more? Your request is basically "cheap bars that won't card my friends," of which there are MANY.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 6:33 PM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: Can you narrow down what you're looking for a little more? Your request is basically "cheap bars that won't card my friends," of which there are MANY.

Yeah, that's more or less what I'm asking. But your FAVES. I want your faves.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 6:52 PM on December 8, 2010

If you're into laidback dive bars, you might like Fat Cat on Christopher St. in the West Village is fun. Live jazz and lots of games like ping pong, pool tables, shuffleboard, table games like chess and checkers, etc. It's basically like being in a giant basement rec room with a bar and a band. Under 21's are allowed in but I'm not sure they'll get served. (Last time I was there -- a couple months ago -- they carded and gave out wrist bands to the over 21's.)
posted by Majorita at 7:34 PM on December 8, 2010

This would work in any city, but first thing when entering a bar, ask the bartender if you get a free drink for your 21st. Some people will say yes, some will say no. I guess it depends on how good looking you are. When I turned 21 and we went barhopping, we went to a lot of bars, and maybe 5 or 6 of them gave me a free drink. Doesn't hurt to ask. And TIP generously if you do get one.
posted by zardoz at 8:34 PM on December 8, 2010

Fat Cat is a great suggestion! So much fun stuff to do there.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:58 PM on December 8, 2010

It will probably still depend on how the bouncer/bartenders are feeling, but you might have better luck getting your whole crowd in if you stick to pub-type places that serve a full food menu in addition to the bar. Get some appetizers to share if need be, and as long as your underage friends stick to soda (or sneak sips discreetly, shhhh) they should be OK.

I agree that you are probably going to have the densest acceptable bar ratio in the Villages (East, Greenwich, West) but where you should go depends on what you're into. If you want a laid-back night with friends and session drinking: off the top of my head, Half Pint in Greenwich Village skews NYU undergrad heavy on weekends but has a more neighborhoody crowd on weeknights. It's fun and cozy if you want to hang out and talk over a bunch of rounds.

If you want to dance, there are a profusion of dance clubs in the Meatpacking district - I'm not down there too often so I can't namedrop particular clubs, but maybe someone can chime in.

If you want a sporty bar/rowdier/more traditional meat market atmosphere, Murray Hill may be your go-to spot. It's not my jam personally, but football games/friends who live in midtown east occasionally compel me to head down there, and it's definitely a big party every night of the week. On the occasion of your 21st, you will get free drinks from most bartenders and probably from some patrons as well. For my money, The Wharf is the best of the Murray Hill bars, with good specials and a heated back deck that's almost never crowded even when the main bar area is. Steer clear of Joshua Tree and Bar XII.

I probably spend too much of my life in NYC bars (and I'm just a scant handful of years older than you) so if you have specific questions feel free to memail!
posted by superfluousm at 9:15 PM on December 8, 2010

My Open Bar is a site that lists bars in NYC where you can enjoy free booze. It is kind of amazing.
posted by forkisbetter at 9:45 AM on December 9, 2010

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