Quiet bar in Manhattan?
December 9, 2018 10:08 PM   Subscribe

Where's a quiet bar (preferably that also has good food) for my friend and I to actually talk, on a weeknight?

A friend I haven't seen in years is coming to town on Thursday and her only request was to go to a "chill" bar with good drinks where it's quiet enough to talk. As I'll be coming straight from work, my only request is I would also like to eat some food. However, I'm having trouble finding a place that's not ridiculously loud and also looks appealing, and isn't $$$$$$$$. I know much more about this for Brooklyn, so I would appreciate the help.

We don't have any drink/dietary restrictions and we're both kind of artsy creative professionals in our 30's if that....helps....? Location doesn't really matter.
posted by colorblock sock to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Also, I meant to say Tuesday, if that makes any difference at all.
posted by colorblock sock at 10:10 PM on December 9, 2018

Le Cheile in Washington Heights! 5 minutes from the 181st St A.
posted by 8603 at 10:14 PM on December 9, 2018

You might want to look at some of the nicer hotel bars for quiet atmosphere and food. Otherwise, a few that come to mind are:

Jadis - cozy wine bar in the LES, with a lounge-y area in the back and a menu of small French plates
Dear Irving - cocktail bar in Gramercy that has a couple different decorated period-rooms, serves food
Lois - a wine bar in the East Village that serves food and is fairly quiet.
The Library Bar - at the Hudson Hotel, it's very cozy but I don't know if it has food
Angel's Share - on Stuyvesant Street, it's an old favorite cocktail speakeasy. No food, but it's attached to Village Yokocho restaurant.
posted by theory at 10:40 PM on December 9, 2018 [6 favorites]

What nabe?
posted by JPD at 3:06 AM on December 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

There's an app for that. (Just an article. No personal experience.)
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 3:09 AM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would totally go to the Russian Samovar on West 52nd. It is highly specific but matches your criteria.
posted by ohio at 3:15 AM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

FYI: Thursday is more or less when bars start to fill up after work. (Mondays are quietest, and thus traditionally "industry night.") If you want a bar that will be reasonably quiet on Thursday (especially circa 6:00), with outstanding cocktails and great food, a congenial and adult environment and comfortable seating, I'd suggest Pegu Club on Houston by West Broadway. It also happens to be one of the most important bars in the world for the cocktails revival.
posted by slkinsey at 5:32 AM on December 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Seconding SoundPrint! What a great idea for an app. Edit to add their curated "Quiet List"
posted by LKWorking at 7:43 AM on December 10, 2018

Another option, depending on just how absolute a silence you need, is Blue Ribbon Downing St.--it's not ultra quiet but you can certainly have a conversation without yelling. They have decent snacks. It feels very civilized without being excessively fancy.
posted by praemunire at 9:53 AM on December 10, 2018

You might like the aesthetic at The Up&Up, and if you're there on the early side, it should be quiet, with some nice seats for two. The cocktails are excellent and the bartenders are too. The food is mostly bar snacks and charcuterie, but there are quite a few places right on MacDougal if you'd want to eat something beforehand (Mamoun's!) or continue the evening with a meal, and you're right by Pommes Frites, which is absolutely worth a stop afterwards, even if you have to navigate the perpetual small mob of stoned/indecisive NYU students.

Good Night Sonny has a decent happy hour and, despite that, is still pretty quiet and cosy on weeknights. Music can be loud, but they'll turn it down if it's dead and you ask them to. Cocktails are not as stellar as The Up&Up, but they have a good oyster selection as well as a full menu.

Pig Bleeker also has a full menu, and generally better cocktails than Good Night Sonny, but might be a little louder, depending on the day. Ravioli is good, though.

Just a note on the Pegu Club: it does have a colonialist vibe. Like, literally colonialist: it's a re-imagining of a British officers' club in Victorian-era Myanmar. The staff are, of course, lovely, and the drinks are very good, and there are some comfy armchairs perfect for twosomes along the wall opposite the bar, but that is something to know, especially if you have a guest.
posted by halation at 10:10 AM on December 10, 2018

If you like Belgian beers and the East Village works for your plans, Burp Castle is for you! The noise is kept reasonable-conversation level by shushing monk-bartenders. They don't have a kitchen, but welcome outside food (and B&H Dairy is right around the corner).
posted by quatsch at 10:28 AM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Burp Castle is still there? 2nded as quiet. Worth going at least once for the experience.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 1:22 PM on December 10, 2018

I haven't been to the original Raines Law Room, but the midtown one (at the William) is pretty chill and it was good for conversation when we went. Lantern's Keep (also in a midtown hotel, the Iroquois) had excellent cocktails and a pretty quiet space, but the staff were way too precious when I went and I haven't been back so I don't know if that's just who and how they are, or if they didn't like the cut of my jib (initially they wouldn't let me sit at the bar even though I was solo and they had empty seats; after I ordered well for two rounds they apparently decided I was OK, but come on. Business travelers who happen to be staying in the hotel can also be cocktail people who had a recommendation to come to your snotty-ass bar). And yeah, Pegu Club is pretty quiet and an important part of the cocktail renaissance, but it's definitely a rosy take on the good old days of the British Empire.
posted by fedward at 10:21 PM on December 10, 2018

Doesn't get quieter than Burp Castle. Beer menu is very, hmm, advanced.

I like Dear Irving a lot, but cocktails are $17 there, which is now (sadly) about standard for craft cocktails in Manhattan, but still pretty pricey. Also, I just tried SoundPrint there on Friday night and it rated it as "loud." It was by no means loud, and I am quite noise-sensitive.

I definitely consider Good Night Sonny to be quite loud. Pegu Club was blasting 90's hip-hop (much to my surprise) quite loud when I poked my head in on a Friday night a couple of months ago (didn't stay).
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:22 PM on December 10, 2018

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions! We ended up going to Angel's Share and had a wonderful time, but I will keep this whole list in mind for the future, most of these places look great.
posted by colorblock sock at 7:20 PM on December 11, 2018

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