Low-key in lower city
May 18, 2012 9:07 AM   Subscribe

NYC: Low-key non-dive downtown Friday night bar?

I have a friend visiting from out of town tonight (Friday night), staying in a Manhattan neighborhood that is far away from my Brooklyn neighborhood, and that of my other friend’s other Brooklyn neighborhood that will be joining us. We have all decided that the East Village (or Flat Iron-ish or LES-ish) is the most convenient place for a meet up. We will probably be meeting around 8 or 9 in the evening and would prefer a more low-key quiet non-clubby atmosphere where we can actually have a conversation: somewhere tasteful, not dive-y or sportsbar-y or touristy, not full of college kids or party types (we are late 20’s/early 30’s), where we will be able to sit down and not have to crowd around a bar standing up, and where we can get decent cocktails/good beers/tasty wines for under $12.

If it were during the week and not on a Friday night, I would suggest something along the lines of Marshall Stack, Ten Bells, or Pink Pony--something nice but not super-swanky or full of Wall Street types. I’m also looking for somewhere that is more of a bar than a restaurant because we will have all likely eaten dinner before hand, but if there's a good restaurant with bar suggestion that you have, I'll take that too.

Any recommendations? Yes, I understand Brooklyn might be a better bet for what we seek, but the two Brooklynites of the party of three don’t want to make the non-New Yorker have to navigate transportation in the very short window of time we have to actually see each other.

Thanks for your help!
posted by greta simone to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The Immigrant (9th St. between 1st and 2nd Ave.). Casimir (Ave. B between 6th and 7th St.).
posted by John Cohen at 9:27 AM on May 18, 2012

posted by deanc at 9:56 AM on May 18, 2012

Response by poster: deanc- I appreciate the previous link, but many of those places will be swarming on a Friday night, which is why I'm specifically asking this question. It's important that where we go won't have a huge crowd.
posted by greta simone at 10:05 AM on May 18, 2012

Best answer: Mmm. Angel's Share, on 9th and 3rd. Look it up - it'll probably be very busy, but also very quiet and talkable.
posted by suedehead at 10:10 AM on May 18, 2012

There really is no such thing as a non-crowded bar (one that's any good, anyway) at 8 PM on Friday evening in downtown Manhattan. That said, many of the places referenced in deanc's link start to limit the door once they are at capacity. So, for example, there is no such thing as "three deep at the bar" at PDT, Death & Company, Pegu Club, etc. The issue you are more likely to run into is that the smaller places will probably already be at capacity by 8 PM on a Friday evening -- meaning that you will have to wait for space to come available before you can get in. The only place I can think of that (a) limits the door, (b) is large enough that you have a high probability of getting in at 8 PM on Friday, and (c) has an adult atmosphere (meaning no loud thumping music to shout over, nor scores of 20something hipsters) is Pegu Club. On the other hand, you could go to the East Village and take your chances with the half-dozen or so small cocktail bars of quality, with a reasonably good chance that there will be room available at one of them.
posted by slkinsey at 10:24 AM on May 18, 2012

Best answer: Seconding Angel Share. Nearby and easily as awesome, try Booker & Dax.
posted by 168 at 10:50 AM on May 18, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks slkinsey. I know bars are crowded on a Friday. Totally aware, hence the question, to see if people have a recommendation for bars that AREN'T. I know it's a tall order, but again, that's why I'm asking. We don't have a ton of time to catch up, so I don't want to take my chances wasting time crawling around the East Village.

I love Angel's Share, but yeah that place can get crazy. Might still give it a whirl just to see. And Booker & Dax seems like an idea. Never been there.

Thanks guys! Keep 'em comin'
posted by greta simone at 10:57 AM on May 18, 2012

Booker & Dax may not be the best because it'll be full of people waiting or a table at Ssam Bar, next door. The host will usually direct people there after taking down names.

I think slkinsey's suggestion will work quite well. I was at Pegu Club on a Friday around 8:30pm a few weeks ago. There were still some tables available in the lounge seating and we immediately snagged two bar seats. Getting there at 8pm will likely mean you can grab a table, as some people use it as a pre-dinner spot.
posted by kathryn at 11:06 AM on May 18, 2012

Art Bar (is the West Village close enough?) is reliably pretty calm around that hour.
posted by zvs at 11:24 AM on May 18, 2012

Burp Castle. They will ask you to knock it off if your conversations get too loud.
posted by swngnmonk at 4:44 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

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