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Girls night for 8 mid-20 yr olds: Where to eat?

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A friend is back from China for one night next saturday. We want to have a fun dinner that is moderately priced to celebrate and start the night off right. We like the atmosphere at places like The Orchard, Stanton Social, etc. Also, would prefer not a sharing place (i.e. no tapas) or ethnic. We are thinking Essex... would this place be fun? Any other recommendations? Please help, we want to make sure she has a blast.

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  1. Freeman's, maybe? Or Casablanca Tea Room? (stay away from the mezze if you don't want to share)

    3 Replies
    1. re: piccola

      Where is the tea room? And anyone else out there want to weigh in?

      1. re: dec132

        Freeman's is a cool place...if you can get a reservation which they only accept for parties of 5 and above.

        1. re: dec132

          It's in SoHo, don't remember the exact address. But if you google it you can even see pictures of the inside on their website.

      2. I went to a dinner at Essex with a similar sized group. I found the food to be entirely mediocre. Some of the apps were decent but the drinks and entrees were weak.

        1. One Little West 12th is trendy and fun and full of 20-somethings. There is a sharing portion of the menu, but plenty of other options as well.

          1. Fig & Olive's meatpacking location would be a good place for a bday. Their menu is reasonably priced and while some of the menu is shareable, plenty is traditional.

            1. Freeman's is a great suggestion. They are in Freeman Alley - which is off of Rivington, just East of Bowery - not quite Soho.

              Cafe Cluny would also be a fun place - food is good, but not great.

              1 Reply
              1. re: saloniere

                freemans is a great idea but we go there a lot. I wish there were more places like it in NYC. Fun, young vibe but not arrogant and over-priced!

              2. Pastis in the meatpacking is a great place too!