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Alone in Manhattan on a Sat night / Sunday

Hi, I (female) am going to be in Manhattan for work in a couple of weeks. I will have a late night Saturday and most of Sunday free and have never been to NY. Any suggestions for fairly budget-friendly solo dining? Also for going out / mingling? I like all kinds of food but would love something ethnic or unique to NY that I wouldn't find in Dallas.

I don't have a place to stay nailed down yet but was thinking of a hostel (Continental?) so I can use the money I have for entertainment.

Thanks!

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  1. What would qualify as "budget-friendly"? More specifically, what are you looking to spend on your average entree, and what sort of drink prices would be ideal for the going out/mingling portion of the evening?

    There are plenty of options in every price bracket, although drinks for anything less than $6 a pop can be challenging if you're looking for anything beyond beer.

    1. New York is great for solo dining, at casual places. Go early if you're concerned.

      In terms of mingling, you might want to give us a better idea of what you like? Young crowd? Fancy, exclusive, hip? Dive bars? drinks can run anywhere from $4-$20 and higher, and there are great happy hours deals even at upscale places, but the atmosphere/crowd can be vastly different, so it's hard to suggest a place.

      I'd do your best to avoid a hostel in NYC if at all possible. Unless something's changed recently, our hostels aren't known for being clean or friendly.

      1. Hi! I like your adventurous spirit!

        As the other posters have said, you should prob specify your budget, as well as your idea of a fun crowd, as NYC is extremely diverse in the kinds of people you will meet in different areas and different venues.

        But...i'd recommend stopping in at Lucien, a French bistro on First Avenue between 1st and 2nd St...it's an East Village classic...on a Saturday evening it will be extremely busy, but it might be fun for a midnight drink&snack at the bar...or even better, it's a lovely place to while away a Sunday afternoon: entrees (like the excellent bouillabaise) are in the high-20's...but you can grab an endive salad and a glass of wine for about 20 bucks total and people are invariably friendly there and happy to chat w/ out of towners. If Lucien himself is there on Sunday, introduce yourself and he's likely to pour you an extra glass (or two or three) of wine or send over a dessert.

        Another fun place for a latenight drink is "n", a tapas bar at 33 Crosby: very crowded on a Saturday night, but you might meet some people.

        For a cheap and tasty brunch or Moroccan dinner at the bar, you could also try Cafe Mogador on St.Marks between First Ave and Ave.A -- another East VIllage standy.

        All three of the above places are a long long way from Dallas in vibe and could be fun.

        Have a great trip and please report back here and tell us how it goes.

        1. Thanks for the feedback so far! By "budget-friendly", I will have about $300-400 for the trip so really I just want to maximize my money. I will most likely need 3 meals (dinner, breakfast, lunch) and then whatever drinks outside of that (not picky but I do enjoy good foreign beer). I want to visit the Guggenheim but other than that, have no plans that include admission fees. Any advice on what to expect in taxi/subway fees would be great as well. I would like to walk wherever I can too. I will be starting on the upper east side and then going wherever my destinations dictate.

          As far as the hostel goes, I am really just planning to sack out for a little bit and be on the move for the rest of the time so I am not too concerned unless it's unsafe. I was thinking it could be a place to meet people also.

          For mingling - not too snobby or exclusive; don't want to pay a cover if possible. Just looking for interesting people to watch / converse / dance with (amateur dancing). I'm 30 and humble. I like all kinds of music (except country, but I wouldn't expect too much of that there). Whatever would make a memorable experience to take with me.

          Thanks again!!

          3 Replies
          1. re: crancherry

            Social:
            =Barrio Chino (at the bar)
            =Lil' Frankies/Frank/Supper (at the bar)
            =Bread - NoLita (bar or table)
            =Lovely Day Thai (bar or table)
            =El Quinto Pino (bar only)
            =Schillers (bar or table)

            =Wine bars would seem like a good place for conversation
            =Dancing on the cheap -- Home Sweet Home (Christie Street)

            Stick to downtown (East Village / Lower East Side mainly) for all the cheap goods (eat/drink/dance).

            1. re: skicrew

              skicrew has some great suggestions...esp. Bread and El Quinto Pino. Red Cat's food hasn't impressed me lately as it once did, but the bar scene is fairly friendly. You could stop by there before going to El Quinto Pino.

              Artisanal also has a friendly bar scene on occasion and can be done relatively inexpensively.

            2. re: crancherry

              Yeah I would agree with the suggestion to stay East Village/Lower East Side, and I'll add Williamsburg. Diner in Brooklyn is a reasonably priced nicer place in an old train car, and Marlow & Sons around the corner is worth a pop in. Happy hour at Verlaine in the LES goes to 10pm and the lychee martinis are $4 and strong.

              As for Hostels - there's one on the Upper West Side that's part of one of the bigger chains, which I hear is safe and clean. Many of the hostels here do double as SRO hotels, or just attract a weird crowd unlike what is expected of a hostel. I just read about a brand new place in the East Village called The Village Inn which is $40-50 a night, on a nice block a few doors down from a great old bar called McSorleys. I'd really encourage you to splurge and check this place out.

            3. Ino in the west village on Bedford just west of 6th ave. Plenty of people here will attest to the food. The place is tiny which is why eating here alone is a plus, especially if you can grab a bar seat.

              Ino is a winebar with small plates and paninis. I always order the 3 cheese truffle panini or the truffled egg toast (seeing a pattern here?). I don't know if they have the eggs at dinner but the 3 cheese panini is still my fav panini in NYC. The bread they use is fantastic as are the other paninis if you're not into 3 melted cheeses with truffle oil (what's wrong with you?)

              The wine selection is big and the bar staff is knowledgeable. I don't know how crowded it'd be on a saturday night at the bar. It's not a bar scene bar, just big enough for maybe 8 people to sit and eat. The rest of the place probably seats 26.

              Anyway it's a must go to if not this trip then next time.

              1. If you want Greek for lunch on Sunday, try Snack- not Snack Taverna, but the original Snack (I assume it's still there?) - in Soho. It is tiny but has delicious Greek food and is reasonable for lunch. Also, if you wanted to get a few oysters at the bar, you could try Aquagrill if you're downtown, or it might be fun to drop by Grand Central just to check it out and grab a few oysters? Anyway, sounds fun.

                1. Dinner or even brunch: The Kitchen Club (Prince and Mott Streets) in Nolita. If you opt for dinner take a walk back to the Chibi Bar for a tasting of sakes.

                  Dinner: Resto (29th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues) for Belgian comfort food and great Belgian beers.