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Jul 21, 2006 01:59 PM

Good for a drink before Otto

Taking a few friends to Otto tonight and wanted to meet for a drink before our reservation. As if with Otto's wine list we need more booze! Anyone have any recs in the immediate area for a decent place to grab a pretty good drink, I think Employees Only would be too far of a walk.

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  1. Why not enjoy a quartino and some cheese/meat in the bar area, then settle down for some pasta and pizza in the dining room? Most of the bars in that area cater to an NYU crowd. Otto is an island.

    1. yeah, that's what I thought. I'd do that but our reservation is pretty early 6:45 so I really don't want to eat before then; maybe we'll just meet there anyway.

      1. The bar at North Square is pleasant and convenient to Otto.

        Then there's Minetta Tavern, about a 5 minute walk away from Otto on the other side of Washington Square. I discovered it in February when we were looking for a place to have a drink in the Village. I had done some research and settled on The Dove on Thompson Street. Unfortunately someone had booked the place for a private party so we had to do some scrambling. We wound up hitting Minetta Tavern, a former speakeasy that’s been open since 1937 and never saw the need to redecorate.

        From New York Songlines:

        “An Italian restaurant founded in 1937, it was a meeting place for Ezra Pound, e.e. cummings, Ernest Hemingway, etc. Joe Gould (who Joseph Mitchell often wrote about) worked on his Oral History of the World here; murals depict Village history. Until 1929 was The Black Rabbit, a speakeasy run by Eve Adams before Eve’s Hangout; Eugene O'Neill and Max Bodenheim were customers. Reader’s Digest was founded in the basement in 1923. The restaurant appears in the movie Jimmy Blue Eyes as La Trattoria, a mob-run joint ...”

        It’s a place that makes you feel like time stopped there 50 years ago. It was quiet when we walked in. A few NYU students at the end of the bar talking quietly. Satellite radio – Jonathan Schwartz playing Sinatra, Gershwin, Keeley Smith and Cole Porter, perfect for a bar like that in the late afternoon. The martinis were good – big ones for $9.00.

        More people came in later – a mixed crowd of all ages. They have a restaurant which looks really atmospheric. Very Bogey and Bacall. Little lamps with shades on the tables. I've been back for dinner 4 times since then - the food is really pretty good and the atmosphere is unique.

        Check out the bar. If you took the right type of person there for a drink they’d be extremely impressed. The wrong type would think it’s a dark dive.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bob Martinez

          Another thumbs up for Minetta Tavern - especially if you guys have an interest in "old New York".

        2. Given the heat and the likelihood of rain, I'd personally stress proximity to Otto more than anything else. How about meeting for drinks at the bar at Knickerbocker?

          1. i like the back lounge area of north square as well. and between 5pm and 7pm you can get six malpeque oysters on the half shell and an apple martini for only $12. it's great!

            north square
            103 waverly place at macdougal st

            there's also the bar area of the restaurant cru.

            24 5th ave at 9th st