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Bar seats for 1

Sugar Dec 16, 2007 01:35 PM

Here's the situation:

-- I just broke up with my girlfriend.
-- I took the week off between Christmas and New Year's to go to Florida with her.
-- I canceled the Florida trip but am keeping my vacation.
-- I just came in to some expendable income due to fantasy football success.

So I figured over during x-mas week that I would treat myself to some nice dinners for one. I really enjoy sitting, eating, drinking at the bar, and was looking for some suggestions.

I think one of the meals will be at Gramercy Tavern. I don't want a place that treats bar eating like no-reservations overflow, e.g. Babbo. I'm really looking for places that embrace bar dining and have the bartenders, menu, and cocktails to match. All-in for 1 person I'm looking to spend about $100.

What are your favorites?

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  1. c
    cricri7 RE: Sugar Dec 16, 2007 01:41 PM

    I will be in NY at the beginning of January and am looking to dine alone at some restaurants. This post could help me also because I started looking at some restaurants to go to. I would like your opinions on the following restaurants...and this could also help Sugar at the same time:)

    Bar Americain
    Brasserie 8 1/2
    The London bar
    Park blue
    Cafe des artistes

    Thanks in advance for your answers...They will help more than one person!

    1 Reply
    1. re: cricri7
      Simon RE: cricri7 Dec 18, 2007 07:57 AM

      the bar at Cafe Des Artistes is a fun, elegant place for a cocktail (jackets required for men), but the food is overpriced and not really worth a full meal.

    2. s
      small h RE: Sugar Dec 16, 2007 01:51 PM

      I had an excellent meal at the bar at Spotted Pig a while back - definitely felt embraced! Squished, even! I'd also recommend eating at the bar at Allen & Delancey, for more aloof (but still gracious) service.

      1. erica RE: Sugar Dec 16, 2007 02:00 PM

        Craft?? I did not eat at the bar but sat there for about an hour recently. It is a very comfortable space and I watched several people eating. Lots of attention from the bartender. I would eat there alone in a minute.

        1. BaconBits RE: Sugar Dec 16, 2007 02:10 PM

          I am a fan of Gotham for a solo bar dinner.

          1. steve h. RE: Sugar Dec 16, 2007 02:16 PM

            telepan is good at the bar. as well as gramercy tavern, esca, bar americain and a host of others. why not babbo? barkeeps are friendly and the food comes from the same kitchen.

            1. r
              RCC RE: Sugar Dec 16, 2007 02:19 PM

              Lupa. Very good food and lot's of Italian wine choices by the glass, plus the bar seats are some of the most friendliest as far as engaging with others is concerned.

              1. a
                acenyc RE: Sugar Dec 16, 2007 02:47 PM

                Go celebrate your new found "singleness" and the season with a fabulous cocktail in the tavern room at Gramercy or Gotham- both have some of the best food in town- Irving Mill is a new addition to the "eat local and cozy up to the bar" scene so grab a stool and a a classic cocktail. Enjoy!

                1 Reply
                1. re: acenyc
                  ricky7 RE: acenyc Dec 16, 2007 04:02 PM

                  i agree with Gotham Bar and Grill. Go and enjoy yourself and forget all about her.

                2. MB fka MB RE: Sugar Dec 16, 2007 04:38 PM

                  I just moved to NY and am long on time and short on friends, so I've been dining solo a LOT. My absolute favorite so far has been Casa Mono. Sit at the bar adjacent to the chefs and watch them work their magic. Service can be spotty but I've been back for a repeat visit and I'm still in love with the food. I find it to be lovingly and properly seasoned, though the chef once mentioned that some people suggest that it is too salty, so take that FWIW. Standout dishes so far were the grilled octopus and the sweetbreads. Also loved the side of fried peppers. But really, everything is a hit, those were just standouts for me. The ribeye looks fantastic, as does the foie preparation - those are next for me to try (but with reinforcements!). I was there this weekend with a friend and we ordered quite a bit and drank two 1/2 carafes and the total bill was still only about $100.

                  We were also going to sit at the bar at Gramercy Tavern but it was too crowded. Service - just at the host stand - was top notch and I look forward to going back solo.

                  We also had really fantastic bar service this weekend at Blue Ribbon. We only ordered snacks, but many seated at the small bar were enjoying full meals. It would be very comfortable to dine there solo and the menu is kind of all over the place, so there's something for everyone.

                  I've also dined solo at Gusto and had a good experience. Great looking menu, nicely priced, though some of the wines by the glass are - in my opinion - stupidly expensive (just upsell me on a bottle already then). It can be more of a drinks after work scene and so although the bar staff was very accommodating with diners at the bar, it could be a little bit more club-like and therefore less comfortable, depending on what vibes you enjoy best.

                  I'm in Brooklyn and I'll throw out a suggestion for Frankie's 457. The prices are so affordable, the food is great and the bar staff were extremely accommodating for this solo diner. I find that especially as a woman dining solo, I really appreciate gracious bar service.

                  Please do report back about your solo dining experiences!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MB fka MB
                    Sugar RE: MB fka MB Dec 16, 2007 05:07 PM

                    Casa Mono popped into my head right before I read your reply...good thought. It's on the list!

                    1. re: Sugar
                      cricri7 RE: Sugar Dec 17, 2007 02:17 AM

                      One of the times I went alone to NY, I ate at the bar at Casa mono and had a great meal. The barman was super nice and we chatted about Spanish wines which are my favorites. I love the concept of quartinos. I ate at Otto also, another of Batali's restaurants, and ate a nice meal there also. I went with my boyfriend and ate in the dining room but I prefered going alone and having dinner at the bar.

                    2. re: MB fka MB
                      mrnyc RE: MB fka MB Dec 16, 2007 05:17 PM

                      i like how you think mb. count me as on-board for every one of your suggestions for solo dining. CM is very good to solo diners. bonus is you can stop in on off or non dinner hours too.

                      i like the BLUE FIN idea that someone mentioned too. go to at least one very busy place like that over the vacation and be around people.

                      1. re: MB fka MB
                        MMRuth RE: MB fka MB Dec 17, 2007 03:38 AM

                        I've had a nice lunch by myself at one of the tall tables at DB Bistro Moderne - to check out the hamburger - which was good, but not, I thought, all it was billed to me. Very nice service for a solo dinner during a busy lunch hour.

                      2. i
                        idia RE: Sugar Dec 16, 2007 04:45 PM

                        A really fun place (even if you decide to just have light fare) is Blue Fin on Broadway.
                        And of course, I also highly second Gotham Bar & Grill.
                        Vice Versa has a neat bar as well.

                        1. k
                          kathryn RE: Sugar Dec 16, 2007 05:11 PM

                          What about sushi? You can do a nice omakase for $100 all in at a "nicer than everyday" place, assuming you like sushi of course.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: kathryn
                            Sugar RE: kathryn Dec 16, 2007 05:21 PM

                            Interesting thought...I've done Yasuda and loved it. I think for this mission though, sushi is out.

                            1. re: Sugar
                              kathryn RE: Sugar Dec 17, 2007 07:15 AM

                              OK, got it.

                              I might also suggest dining at the Bar Room at the Modern, at the bar, of course.

                              This article on lounge dining may give up some possibilities:

                          2. streamwise RE: Sugar Dec 17, 2007 02:26 AM

                            I would add Cru to the list. It has a really small but nice bar to eat at in the front room. The food is awesome and its relatively easy to get a seat at the bar most nights (its holiday season, and I've noticed that the more popular bar dining places, e.g. Gramercy, Gotham, Babbo, etc.., are pretty crowded most nights). However, be warned that you could easily top $100/pp depending on what you drink/eat. There is an a la carte bar menu, but you can also order from the prix-fixe or tasting menus too.

                            24 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                            1. b
                              bouffe RE: Sugar Dec 17, 2007 05:22 AM

                              Gramercy Tavern for sure. Excellent for single bar-eaters.
                              Lupa - but go early for a "late-lunch/early-dinner" around 4:00-5:00 on weekdays. Or go really late around 11. The bar becomes incredibly packed.
                              Prune - small bar but nice atmosphere and cozy.
                              Raoul's - Dark and quiet French fare excellent frisee salad.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bouffe
                                bronwen RE: bouffe Dec 17, 2007 07:19 AM

                                Gotham sort of specializes in it as they have trays at the bar which makes it very easy to dine.

                              2. e
                                Enfielder RE: Sugar Dec 17, 2007 05:04 PM

                                I've had some nice dinners at the bar at Aquagrill.

                                1. s
                                  Simon RE: Sugar Dec 18, 2007 07:55 AM

                                  While it doesn't have the same level of comfort as somewhere like Gotham or Gramercy, i've had many many fun solo meals at the bar at Lucien -- often very crowded, etc. but you are sure to meet many amusing people and the bouillabaise, though a very messy thing to eat at a bar, is very good, as is the endives salad and filet mignon. So you might keep it in mind for one of your dinners, esp on a weeknight (weekends are a zoo)...

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Simon
                                    cricri7 RE: Simon Dec 18, 2007 04:22 PM

                                    I had a great dinner there on a weekend night but the waitress was so nice that it made up for the zoo! We had to wait standing and she gave us a glass of wine and even refilled it. She never charged us for it, it was complimentary for the wait. The food is excellent also. I never went back but I enjoyed it very much!

                                    1. re: cricri7
                                      small h RE: cricri7 Dec 18, 2007 04:37 PM

                                      While Lucien is not part of the fine(ish) dining pantheon discussed on this thread, it has a special place in my heart for its mood-lifting abilities. Wander in on a weekend afternoon, park yourself at the bar, get a drink and a snack and prepare to be welcomed into one of the many conversations going on around you. You might remember the food (it's fine), but you'll definitely remember feeling like part of the family. And Lucien is a lot of fun to talk to. Man, this sounds like shill. It's not.

                                      1. re: small h
                                        Sugar RE: small h Dec 18, 2007 05:41 PM

                                        I had a few good meals there with the ex...everything said in this thread is true -- it's a really solid neighborhood spot with reliable food.

                                  2. m
                                    maxine RE: Sugar Dec 18, 2007 08:04 AM

                                    I have had great solo bar eating at both Cru and Blue Hill. Both places had great food and I felt welcome and comfortable there. (I posted on both in the past if you do a search).
                                    I also like Otto for more casual, and though I have never been solo I agree that the Tavern Room at Gramercy is ideal. Really it is one of the best deals in town.


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: maxine
                                      Sweatshirt Guy RE: maxine Dec 18, 2007 02:18 PM

                                      Gusto is Terrible. Raoul's Is great for dining alone. Also Tavern on Jane has Great food and a friendly atmosphere. Republic in Union Square treats solo diners well also.

                                    2. r
                                      rrems RE: Sugar Dec 18, 2007 02:37 PM

                                      Gotham, Vice Versa and Cru are all great suggestions. I would add L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon(not sure if you can do it for $100). I have not been there yet but if you search this board you will find some very favorable reviews and the bar is the place to sit. I'm not sure if Compass serves at the bar, but if they do, it would be a great choice for superb food and good value.

                                      1. p
                                        progressivenewamerican RE: Sugar Dec 18, 2007 03:13 PM

                                        If you're interested in going to WD-50 (which I thought was one of best meals of my life), they have a wonderful bar where you can get the whole tasting menu--and when I was there, one guy was getting the tasting menu solo at the bar with wine pairing and seemed to be really enjoying himself.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: progressivenewamerican
                                          Sugar RE: progressivenewamerican Dec 18, 2007 05:41 PM

                                          Good suggestion. I've had the tasting menu there so not for this adventure.

                                          1. re: progressivenewamerican
                                            MB fka MB RE: progressivenewamerican Dec 18, 2007 07:58 PM

                                            this is great to know - I had no idea.

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