I recently went with a group of 8 to the revamped Leshko's (Ave. A @ 7th) on a Friday. We got there around eightish and had a 15 or so minute wait for a table, but I think if you got there earlier you wouldn't run into that. At first I thought the atmosphere would be too trendy, but they seem to have hit a nice balance and though she was harried our server kept track of everything and was quite friendly. The menu ranges from sandwiches (great mushroom/arugula burger and very good pulled pork) to more substantial entrees (the seared tuna and the roast chicken were deemed excellent by several in my group), with prices topping out around $16 or so for the latter. There's a small bar, and they mix really fine, strong cocktails.
PS- If you're partial to veggies, try the ginger roasted beets - I don't know exactly what they do to them, but wow...
it might help people out a bit of you indicated preferred neighborhoods and types of cuisine.
Despite not knowing - my first response - for eight people - cocktails- reasonable- good food - and available today Wednesday for this weekend - - - Astor Restaurant and Lounge in the East Village. It's essentially a bistro - its not FABBBBBBBBulous but it is good on a scale of poor/fair/good/above average. They have a stocked bar and they made me a great vodka martini (also lounge downstairs),very reasonable prices and BEST OF ALL - Booths big enough for eight people - BIG LEATHER BANQUETTES - a true party seat!
I have eaten there twice and been very happy with the food and ambiance and service and drinks and price. I have never "done" the lounge but it looked okay and not too snotty on a Saturday night when I went down to use the ladies room about 5 months ago.
Also, you will be in the east village with a million places to go when you are finished with the restaurant!
Enjoy wherever you go - eating in celebration with friends is always the best of meals!