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Jan 5, 2009 01:14 AM

Alternatives to the Ear Inn?

I meet my buddies at the Ear Inn weekly for drinks and dinner. About once a month, after we've all met up and had a drink, the crowd looks to me for an alternative dinner venue. So far I've led the group to Walkers, Broome Street Bar, Molly's and Tavern on Jane.

All of these places have gone over well and share a similar vibe.

I'm running out of suggestions. Looking to add to my list. The only requirement (other than a good burger and a decent pint of Guinness) is the ability to seat a group of about ten and preferably located below 34th.



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  1. Tips - that's a pretty good rotation - I'll just add some variation to your theme:

    Old Town Bar

    Perhaps some other contenders with slightly different vibe - not sure about the Guiness availability

    Irving Mill
    Stoned Crow - comes up in conversation, I've never been and have no idea if 10 would work.
    Spotted Pig - maybe if the number shrinks and you have some time to wait - but great burger


    7 Replies
    1. re: harrison

      Old Towne
      Stoned Crow

      All spot on choices.

      Corner Bistro, is good but the crowd is only interested in the burgers. Prolly can't seat 10. Fanelli's is small, and is my fav of the above 3. U could get 10 if they pushed the tables together in back. Fanelli's can get really crowded on weekends.

      Alot of the recs below seem to be based on the fact that the interiors have an old feel, but the crowd vibe will be way off. If you're looking for a molly's or Broome St bar I would def not rec The Smith or Lucky Strike.

      R.I.P. Chumley's

      1. re: 2slices

        Umm... McSorleys? No. That is absolutely not what the OP is looking for (i don't think). That place, while fun in its own way, is mostly a trainwreck. It's mostly tourists and the only reason people go there is to get rip-roaring drunk. I know they serve some food, but I can't imagine the burgers are any good.

        1. re: egit

          i loved mcsorely's in high school. back then the regulars were still complaining that they started letting women in

          1. re: egit

            I was going on the assumption they were looking for a real "dude" place. It's not all that touristy compared to Lombardi's or something. Though the kind of tourists interested in going to a bar are prolly the good kind. Always see a lot of hockey fans in the winter. I had a burger there years ago and have only been 2 other times. But it's a loud manly old timey joint.

            1. re: 2slices

              While McSorley's does have the kind of "gritty" atmosphere we like, it's menu is way too limited.

              We're usually all on motorcycles and wearing fairly bulky protective gear...not to mention toting helmets.

              We don't like to go anyplace where a bunch of guys (and a few girls) dressed in motorcycle gear would be out-of-place. I've been to both Old Town and Pete's many times...these are the type of places we're seeking. In my opinion, they're very similar to the four in my opening post.


              1. re: TipsyMcStagger

                Not in manhattan but the waterfront crab house in LIC is a good fit and it's just a couple miles off the 59th st bridge. Big menu of food that is just ok. Burgers, steaks, seafood. There's a bathtub filled with peanuts shells on the floor, a couple thousand hats hanging from the ceiling, FDNY stuff and lots of famous boxer's autographs. Old time joint.

                I'm in the steel business and our company xmas party has been held here forever. They're known for the giant prime rib which I do not like at all, overall the food is just ok but I've had some good shrimp dishes. Haven't had a burger but I think it'sd be pretty good. But for atmosphere I think you'll like alot. Plus plenty of parking.

                Another idea is Hill Country BBQ on 26th near 6th. It's huge, has a big downstairs bar with picnic tables, incredible ribs and brisket, but no beer on tap.

        2. re: harrison

          i echo the recs for rare, royale and resto.

          1. re: malibu

            No Guiness (or pints for that matter!) and 10 would be tough..

            1. re: harrison

              well, the CORNER BISTRO does have draft beer (and guinness in a can). closest they have on draft is the dark mcsorleys, which i usually get, but as we all know, it sucks. pilsner urquell is the best draft beer they have there.

              i'd say if they go early the group would be ok in the back, but if they go even a hair past 5pm, no chance.

              ps -- other options i'll throw in are the white horse tavern on hudson and the brass monkey in the meatpacking. plenty of big group seating at both of those.

          2. You could try McCormack's just up a few blocks from Molly's. It's a very nice irish pub. Their back dining room is a little nicer than the Ear.. it's carpeted, has nice wainscoating, etc. Most of their food is good, but I can never seem to order anything but their Shepherd's Pie.

            You may also want to consider Pete's Tavern on Irving Place and (maybe?) 18th St.

            I heartily second the suggestions of Fanelli's and Old Town.

            1. Just a little fun fact about the Ear's haunted by a sailor...

              1. Daddy-O on Bedford? Not sure if they can accomodate 10 (it's small) but if you're there at an early hour it could probably happen.