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looking for a good eating & drinking place/pub downtown

any ideas? i'm planning to meet up with a couple of old buddies later this week. i'd like to go someplace downtown that's comfortable for a small group of guys to chill out and have some beers/sake as well as some solid grub (any cuisine).

ideally the place would be located downtown (union square, east village, west village, nolita, soho, LES, etc) and have a pub-like atmosphere, something along the lines of old town bar or typhoon on st. marks. also, don't want a place that's too crazy or loud - doesn't have to be a morgue in there, but i want to be able to actually talk with my friends and hear what they're saying.

so that rules out a place like corner bistro, for example. looking for a place like that (good food + reasonably priced alcohol), but not so dang crazy and loud. i'd have picked croxley ales but i'm afraid i won't be able to hear/converse with my friends.

btw, it doesn't have to be a burger + beer place. i was thinking of the japanese izakaya eating + drinking places on st. marks, but all the ones i can think of (kenka, yakitori taisho, etc) are really loud and crazy.

really, i'm open to any cuisine so long as it has a comfortable, casual pub-like atmosphere. and not insanely expensive; just something that's casual, solid, and not excessively loud.

any thoughts about jimmy's on e. 7th street, btw?

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  1. Check out Kasadela in the East Village. It's a sake bar and Japanese small plate place. Small enough that it never gets too loud.

    1. I think Kasadela is a bit more date place then meet with the buddies place. Royale on aveune C is quiet and has great burgers and a few decent taps. Moe Pitkins might be a fantastic option - really different in terms of food with some great house drinks and the restaurant part is very comfortable. Phebes is a fantastic pub that you can have a great conversation in and the food is very good bar food.

      As you said most of the japanese places are small and pretty loud.

      2 Replies
      1. re: wingman

        agreed that kasadela is more of a date place. nice space and good light bites, but not really a place for the boys to meet up.

        phebe's used to be a dive bar, then tried to become a trendy velvet rope establishment, and now is attempting to be a kind of a neighborhood tavern. pretty funny. btw i haven't been there in a long, long time so i can't vouch for their food.

        tavern on jane might be ok for what you're seeking, though last time i was there it was awfully loud (not sure why). in general it's a nice place, though.

        also, daddy-o on bedford & leroy streets in the west village might fit what you're looking for.

        1. re: wingman

          second the opinion on kasadela, as well as on royale (your basic burger + beer)

        2. Puck Fair - 298 Lafayette St is alwys great.

          1. How about the Village Yokocho on Stuyvesant--the Japanese snack place connected to Angel's Share? It's casual and inexpensive and gets crowded, but I don't think it gets too crazy.

            --Sarah
            http://www.avenuefood.com

            1. If you're willing to go down to the financial district, Ulysses on Stone St. sounds like what you're looking for.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jdmetz

                I have alwys thought Ulysses as higly over rated - I was there Saturday afternoon to watch Boston College, the bartenders were never around. I finally got up and went to the Mechantile Grill.

              2. Molly's Pub (3rd ave. near 23rd st.) should fill the bill nicely. Sit near the fireplace.

                  1. If Tribeca is ok, then try Walkers.

                    1. Zum Schneider in the East Village...great array of German beers and great food to boot. Beergarden atmosphere.

                      www.zumschneider.com

                      1. thanks to everyone for the suggestions so far.

                        any opinions on jimmy's, tho? reason i ask is bc i'd heard it might be interesting, but i'm not sure about the food, prices, and so forth.

                        any opinions on the food at german places downtown?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: lebron

                          I like Jimmy's for beer. Nice little place. Feels like you could be in an old German bar down in the basement. The draw there is the beer. They have a good mix of imports and occasional micros on tap. The food there is really simple, and either complements the beer or fills you up so you can drink more beer.

                          Never very busy during the week. The music is usually good and not too loud.

                          1. re: Scott V

                            thanks for the great tip. do you have any food recs at jimmy's?

                            oh and thanks to everyone who gave opinions in general. probably leaning toward jimmy's, molly's, or the german places, but still waiting to see what other suggestions there are.

                            not in the neighborhood i specified, but just for the heck of it, has anyone been to cafe d'alsace on 2nd ave near 88th? there were some "downhill" reports about that place already but just wondering what you guys think. i realized that one of my friends is coming down from that part of the upper east side and thought i should at least look into some UES eating/drinking places just in case, tho the first preference is still for the downtown neighborhoods i specified.

                            thanks again

                            1. re: lebron

                              Just looked at the menu on the web site for Jimmy's and I don't see anything we ordered. I guess they were all from a specials page.

                              I had spare ribs in what was almost a thick tomato stew. Not a lot of flavor. My friend had a steak served over baby greens. It was decent, not great. Small steak. And we shared a cheese plate appetizer.

                              As for all the German places suggested, Silver Swan is far mellower and serves pretty good food at the bar - sausage and burgers for less than 10$. As long as you are drinikng you could sit at a bar table as long as you want.

                        2. In addition to Zum Schneider, the other German biergarten type places I've been to are Loreley <www.loreleynyc.com> in LES and Lederhosen in the West Village. In my opinion, Zum has the better food...menu has more than a good schnitzel and my boyfriend loves their weisswurst.

                          1. oh, one more thing i should probably specify: in addition to not being ear-splittingly loud, i'd like a place that won't mind if my friends and i linger for more than the "standard" 2 hours. a place that is a restaurant per se (but happens to have a bar) will often frown on lingering past that magic number; that's why i asked for "eating & drinking places/pubs", which generally are more lax about lingerers.

                            1. Zum Schneider is great for beer and sausage but can get really noisy/busy and not the place I would go to for a catch-up with buddies.

                              The Ginger Man on E.36th street btwn. 5th and Mad. has an awesome selection of beers on tap and bottles. Over 100 different varieties from all over. Has decent bar food too and has loads of nooks and crannies alongside its long, old style bar for quiet conversation.