best bar to have a small party?
I guess it depends on the sort of place you are looking for. I've been to zanzibar and wasn't so into it. From what I recall, it didn't have a great drink selection outside of a million different variations of the cosmo. But I wasn't so into the glittery look to it either, so your milage may vary.
I like Dove Parlour on Thompson in the Village. Totally different from just about every other bar in the neighborhood. Not a loud college bar. Very laid back vibe, nice staff. I've been a semi-regular since they opened a couple years back.
Also in that area is Madame X on Houston, which has a private space upstairs for parties. It's got an old-time bordello look to it, a nice selection of beer and cocktails and usually some pretty good music on.
My 30th isn't for another couple months, but I'm considering the Pegu Club on Houston just off West Broadway. It's more modern than the other two and may appeal to you more if you liked the look of Zanzibar. it has a great selection of just about beer and wine and specializes in old fashioned mixed drinks. I've read they even make their own bitters.
Pegu is also just upstairs from the downtown Dos Caminos, so post-party dinner is readily available.
Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
I like Luca Lounge in the East Village. They have a room full of couches and comfy chairs that spills out onto a little outdoor terrace. I had a party there once and it was fun, the only problem was that there were 2 other small gatherings taking place. If you end up booking there, I'd try to get them to guarantee that you'd be the only party that night.