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40th birthday, 6 friends, where?

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A friend is having a 40th birthday and will have 5 long-time friends in from out of town to celebrate.

Without breaking the bank, where should they go?
Requirements: maybe sort of upscale, perhaps colorful, not too noisy but not churchy, good food and wine, or perhaps something FUN and less upscale but still very good

My first thoughts:
-Mama Maria's
-Salts
-Lumiere
-Hammersley's
-Bistro 5 (Medford)
-Flora (Arlington)

but that's only a blink of a start

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  1. Eastern Standard, Green Street, maybe Cuchi Cuchi (can be crowded and loud, however) or Tapeo

    1. There are some great places on your list, but I don't put them in the "fun" category. For fun, I vote East Coast Grill and lots of alcohol.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Blumie

        Yeah, I'm sort of split on the idea -- you're right, East Coast Grill and plenty to drink can be great fun, but maybe they'd go for the nice food, nice wine thing and then go somewhere else (?) for more fun.
        Any other suggestions along the ECG/fun line of thinking?

      2. EVOO
        Union Bar & Grill
        Estragon
        Sage
        Prezza

        1. What does break the bank really man to you? Mama Maria is pretty pricey. A little more fun and in the same range (IMO) is Prezza in the north end. I agree with eastern Standard and Green St. altho those seem a little like a random b-day # and not the big 4-0. In the same vein somewhat, the Blue Room is kinda fun. I think Bistro 5 is really good and if you're in that area, a nice place but it has no scene. Davio's might work.

          1. Hungry Mother could be fun. Craigie Street's new location now perfectly lends itself to pre-dinner cocktails. Marliave (sp?) could be more on the special side (downtown, dinner upstairs with outstanding cocktails downstairs).