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NYC, Sex and the City-style

friends and i are going to NYC for a few days. while we are students on a limited budget, we'd like to splurge on a nice place for drinks and appetizers. Someplace funky yet upscale. Gourmet apps, great wines and/or cocktails. My only point of reference is Cypress in Charleston, SC, where great ambiance, great service, 3 fabulous glasses of wine, and 3 amazing apps cost us $86. but well worth it for the good time and great food. any suggestions?


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  1. One fun place, with excellent mojitos, is Asia de Cuba. There was actually a SATC episode filmed there. Tao (also shown in SATC) is fun although I think the food is overrated. For something quiter, you could try Artisanal. They have over 200 types of cheese. You can get a great cheese plate and some interesting wines. I find the entrees to be so-so, but the cheese plate is lots of fun. It is more of a bistro than a trendy place, but I always hit it when I am in the area.

    5 Replies
      1. re: adewaal

        I third the recommendation for Artisinal. GREAT place!! Totally underrated. More people should eat there!

        1. re: NiKoLe1625

          And I fourth Artisanal but you have to stick to the cheese and fondue because that's what they do well, if not better than anybody else. The other items on the menu are like the non-hit songs on an album: they're just there to take up space.

          1. re: Gnu23

            Ditto that...although they do make some damn good French Onion Soup and mac & cheese. The fondue is great...you can pick the sides to dip with...this may sound heinous, but try the frites! What's better than homemade french fries dipped in cheesy fondue??

            1. re: LFeinberg

              oh, wow, upscale cheese fries! That doesn't sound heinous at all, it sounds delicious! I've got to try that next time I go there.

              Not really sure if it fits with the OP's idea of what the SATC gals would do though.

      2. Fun!!

        On my personal list for NYC, Sex and the City style:
        Brunch: Norma's, Balthazar, Stanton Social
        Snack: (people are going to roll their eyes) a cupcake from The Magnolia Bakery
        Lunch: Nicole's (across the street from Barney's)
        Mid-afternoon cocktail: (again, people will roll their eyes) The Central Park Boathouse
        Dinner: Spice Market, Kittichai, 5 Ninth, Buddakhan, Morimoto, Babbo...
        Go out/post-dinner drinks: Plunge @ Hotel Gansevoort, Cabana @ Maritime Hotel, Rue B, Kittichai/Bar @ 60 Thompson Hotel, Soho Grand hotel bar...

        7 Replies
          1. re: LFeinberg

            Great view, very expensive cocktails ($18, if I remember correctly).

            1. re: Pan

              I don't remember the cocktails being $18. Perhaps you're thinking of Plunge at the Gansevoort?

              1. re: LFeinberg

                Not familiar with Plunge, but my memory of the prices at 230 5th could be off.

          2. re: LFeinberg

            I second a cupcake at Magnolia bakery...fun to people watch while you're in line...and those cupcakes are sooo delicious.

            Spice Market and Asia de Cuba are great recs for scene-y restaurants. Babbo will be impossible to get into.

            And Maritime is a great suggestion for drinks. I would also add Bbar (Bowery Bar) for late night drinks. Have fun!

              1. re: Crepe Suzette

                Definitely Magnolia for a cupcake. Its more of a novelty thing, but the cupcakes are definitely good! Asia de Cuba is good, not GREAT, but it will probably be fun for what you are looking for. Its very LA and trendy. Babbo is fabulous, but i do agree with the above that it will be impossible to get into. You need to make a res a month in advance

            1. Stanton Social is perfect as is Highline.

              1. If you're interested in top-notch cocktails, Pegu Club is the place to go.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Katherine H

                  I second Pegu Club. Definitely "funky yet upscale", and top-notch is an understatement.

                2. You should probably note that most of those SATC type places are considered somewhat of a joke by actual New Yorkers. Many of them have mediocre to bad food and a suburban atmosphere/crowd.

                  You'll sell yourself short if you limit yourself to these kinds of establishments.

                  Also, adding SATC to your subject line or post will limit the number of responses from many of the knowledgeable regulars on this board. It can be a turnoff for some.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: CornflakeGirl

                    I, a new yorker, disagree! I think iit is fun to go to SATC places and some of the best restaurants were on the show. It may be a bit dated, but they did have 11 Madison on the show amung others.

                    one place that was on the show and might be fun (and resonible) is Sushi Samba. Good drinks, fun scene and good, interesting, food. The 7th ave one has a roof top bar.

                    I also think Bread Bar at Tabla would be fun.

                    1. re: maxine

                      Ditto Maxine! Going to SATC type places, for me, is fun b/c I love dressing up and checking out these new digs with awesome atmospheres. Actually, these places make me feel more "New York" sometimes than the anti-SATC places do!

                  2. Another great place to get a drink...MObar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Columbus Circle. AWESOME views and great drinks.

                    1. One of my favs on the lower east side is the Mermaid Inn. Young, good looking crowd, great tunes and yummy food (mostly fish) Not super expensive and a great jump off point for after dinner revelry.

                      1. For $86, you could can certainly fake the Sex and the City lifestyle. It will take effort, but it can be done. Remember, the gals on the show had gobs and gobs of money. I mean Carrie blew $400 on shoes regularly without batting an eyelash...LOL Samantha had a loft in meatpacking. Come on. But if you want to fake it, and wish to be a wannabe....it can be done.

                        Without the paycheck to back your fabulousness, I recommend:

                        go to any restaurant in Meatpacking, as I think that is where the girls would hang out nowadays. Buddakhan, Morimoto, Spice Market, Buddha Bar- they are all good.
                        Don't go hungry. Eat before you go. Have a slice of pizza, go chow down at a food cart in midtown for $4 (search for midtown food cart on this website for a billion suggestions on cheap grub). Then go and order one fancy cocktail and an app each. Or order one fancy $15 cocktail each and slit an entree and an app. For 3 girls, with tax and tip that should be around your budget that you mentioned. And the food is fabulous at all of these places, as are the cocktails..so it will be money well spent! I am sure your waiter will not be too happy about that, but who cares. Just tip him/her nicely.
                        That is how to fake your way through sexy Manhattan.

                        Or, you can follow my old tricks and not worry about money at all. Sit at the bar with your girlfriends and the boys will buy you drinks. Wink. That was my trick before I was married. My girls and I would sit at the bar and flirt with guys.... Cheap night out! LOL!!

                        1. This might not be "hot" enough for you guys but if you want to eat a really good lunch for only $9.50 ($2 or 3 extra for special stuff) go fill up at Arte Cafe on West 73rd St right off Columbus Ave. You can eat outside too. They have excellent Italian food, and for that lunch price you get a great soup or salad, and entree (great puttanesca, chicken parm, etc etc.) Same food costs a lot more at night.

                          1. Compass was used in one episode--you could have the 35.00 pre-fix menu or eat in the lounge...the food is quite good. One warning--old folks like me eat there pre-Lincoln Center, so it's best to go after 8:00 for a more lively crowd.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: David W

                              I put my vote in for Stanton Social too, i think that would be perfect for you guys. While i love Artisinal, i don't think it's the most sexy place.

                            2. 1) While your OP was for dinner, Cafeteria and Eatery are tasty and have very SATC vibes for brunch/lunch. Cafeteria is open 24 hours. Eatery might even work for dinner, and then you could walk up to the still-sceney Hudson Hotel (depicted as one of Richard Wright's--in the ep where Samantha cheats on Smith at the 30 under 30 party) for good wines and so-so cocktails.

                              2) I think the vibe you're going for exists at a handful of trendy boutique hotels besides the Hudson. Ian Schrager's current hot property is the Gramercy Park Hotel. The cocktails there are phenomenal, but after 9pm you'll need reservations for the swankier Rose Bar. Definitely check out THOR (might be over-budget) or at least the bars at The Hotel on Rivington, and depending on when your trip is, try the softly opening Bowery Hotel.

                              3) The Park in Chelsea might fit the bill.

                              4) If memory serves, I think Otto may have been in an ep as well. Otto is loud and sceney with good food and incredible wine. It would fit easily within your budget.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: D...DF

                                Gramercy Park Hotel would be a PERFECT place for these ladies to grab a drink!!!! Great call, D! I LOVE that place...

                              2. the east village is fun and more inexpensive but not very sex and the city -- orchard lounge, planet rose nd a few others. I absoutely love -- and it is fun, fun -- close to meatpacking district is Bongo on 27th street -- great drinks and kitshy.

                                1. 230 park is great for the atmosphere -- DON"T my any means eat there -- the food is SOOOOOOOO bad and the drinks not so good either -- stay with wine or beer.

                                  I just had an amzing dinner at Perry Street and went to this fun wine bar after called the other room. Perry street would be very new Sex and the City -- an very chic. or OMO is good too. For brunch go to Patis -- a must