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cozy spot near Times Square?

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This might be an impossible question, but I have to try. Does anyone know of a relatively quiet place where approximately six people can meet somewhere near Times Square (the closer to 44th & Bway, the better) earlyish on a Thursday night (around 6:30)? It's a book club meeting that will last about an hour and a half. The noise level has to be sort of low so we can hear each other, and it can't be so crowded that we'd have trouble finding places for six. Couches would be a big plus. It can have food and drinks or just drinks.

We've met in the back room of The Art Bar (among other places), and that space works great (it's loungy and dark but not overly crowded, noisy or smoky) but the food there is excretable and this time we have to meet near Times Square.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. The "Lobby" at the Algonquin would be ideal for the book club meeting you describe. The Algonquin Hotel is between 5th and 6th on 44th St.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Peter

      I was also going to suggest the Algonquin. To start with, the hotel does have its literary bonafides, having served in the '20s and '30s as a meeting place for NY literati, especially Dorothy Parker's "circle." (I'm sure there are plenty of good sites on the subject, but my 2 second search yielded this address: http://www.bway.net/~kfitz/dot21.htm) Beyond its history, the hotel's Blue Bar is nice and typically quiet enough for your book club meeting. I'll add that the bar's Spanish? waiter (attentive and well-intentioned, but a bit confused)is oddly reminescent of characters from the Adam's Family or The Munsters and may interject a moment of solemn humor into your meeting.

      Most importantly, the Algonquin seems to be about the only Times Square area building not overrun by neon t-shirt waving, map-weilding tourists.

      1. re: Mike Grant

        Thanks, Peter and Mike--

        We did indeed go to the lobby of the Algonquin, which was so full that we had to wait a few minutes to be seated. Beautiful place, but the food is extremely expensive. Two cheesecake slices (too creamy, no hint of lemon and no graham cracker crust) and two unexceptional cappuccinos cost an incredible $33 before tax and tip!!

        But it was quiet and comfortable, which were the main things I was looking for. Chowhound comes through again!

        1. re: Beth

          Beth-

          Thanks for the update. That does sound a bit underwhelming for $33. Still, the bar is solid; Maybe I should restrict myself to posting on Drinkhound.com in the future.

          Hope your book was better than the cheesecake!

          -Mike