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Good bars to head to if not in our 20s?!

I will be travelling to NYC Sept. 2 - 6 with my mom and my aunt. This is their first visit and this will be my 3rd time. We are coming from Toronto and Montreal. I have a pretty good idea of where to eat after reading these boards, but I am stuck on places to go out at night. I'm in my 30s and they are in their 50s. Don't want to go anywhere too stuffy but not wanting to hit up dance clubs either. Any recommendations for bars to go to (preferably not pubs) would be appreciated. Can be a wine bar, place with good cocktails, live music. We are staying in Midtown, but open to places in Soho, Greenwich, LES.

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  1. pegu club on houston has a nice, mixed clientele. so does brandy library in tribeca. id avoid these types of places on the weekends. the weekdays, you get a better crowd anyway.

    one of my favorite bars is the blue ribbon wine bar on downing. its small but the bartenders always make room for you and its a great place with a small group.

    two other places that would be perfect would be turks and frogs in the west village and entwine...a new wine bar on washington near the meatpacking area (but more west village). very casual. turks tends to have huge markups on their wine but i guess its common. i have yet to find a dedicated 'wine bar' that had an excellent selection with good value.

    like i said, the key is weekday nights. on the weekends, linger at the restaurant bars after or before dinner.

    4 Replies
    1. re: sam1

      I second Pegu Club and Blue Ribbon. The cocktails at pegu are pricy (like $20) but they are amazingly good. Neat, relaxed atmosphere.

      i had a great time at Blue Ribbon. Friendly crowd, cozy & simple atmosphere and great bone marrow, oysters, etc.

      Another suggestion - Rose Bar at Gramercy Park Hotel. Very similiar to Pegu. Great crafted cocktails.

      I know someone below suggested Please Don't Tell (PDT) - I thought that was the most ridiculous place. Really, to stand in a phone booth in a hotdog joint and wait to be beckoned in the bar by a snotty hostess - weird! The atmosphere is very dark, low ceilings and just not comfortable at all. It's all about the gimmick, IMHO.

      1. re: lynnlato

        I agree that certain hostesses at PDT can be rather rude and abrupt with some people. It seems like it's not an uncommon problem.

        But while the drink quality at Pegu Club compares pretty favorably to PDT, the Rose Bar isn't even close, despite their high prices.

        1. re: lynnlato

          I don't understand how PDT could be characterized as "all about the gimmick." They're putting out some of the best cocktails in the entire country.

          Pegu's cocktails are $13/$14, like almost every other cocktail bar at that level in the city.

          1. re: daisy17

            The cocktails we had @ PDT were decent, but everything else was corny. Again, IMHO. Perhaps the cocktails were overshadowed by our wait in the phone booth. My friend really enjoyed the bacon-infused bourbon. Bon Appetit interviewed a couple of their bartenders for a piece about fizz cocktails in the August '09 edition, fyi.

            At Pegu, their Red Pepper cocktail was deliciously sweet & spicy. Pepper infused tequila blanco mixed with yellow chartreuse, St. Germaine Elderflower liquer and fresh basil - mmmm.

            I liked the mosquito cocktail I had at Rose Bar. Again, tequila blanco, elderflower liquer, fresh basil, cointreau and agave syrup.

            But, if we're just talking cocktails, the pear cosmo at Bar Boulud was my favorite. GG pear vodka, elderflower, lime juice, white cranberry juice and a garnish of crystalized jellied pear.

            These cocktails were so good, I took notes. :)

      2. Temple Bar is very civilized, but not stuffy at all. I also like The Ten Bells, which is a little louder and more crowded (wine and beer only).


        1. I stopped by N, 33 Crosby @ Grand St., a few months ago. The drinks were tasty, as were the tapas, and the scene was pretty agreeable. By way of generational and foodie credentials, this was with my wife (we're in our 50's), and with a friend of ours, a pastry chef in her 40's. The place opens daily at 5PM.

          1. Thanks for all the suggestions. They all look great.

            1. For a sports bar, if you have any interest in that. Blondie's tends to attract a older 30+ crowd. Sometimes you will get a few 20 something in there, but its not as common. Oh yeah http://blondiessports.com/

              1. In the midtown area are a few good wine bars. Casselula on 52nd and 9th is a fantastic place if you also enjoy cheese (it's a wine and cheese cafe), or just to stop by to sample some wine. Another nice spot is on 9th just north of 46th, unfortunately can't remember the name of it, but it's a wine and small plates place. Also check out Bar Central: call for a res if you want to go before or after broadway show hours, or just pop in if it's during the shows. Hidden up above Joe Allen, it's a jazz-era feel that makes classic cocktails. Also happens to be where many B'way people go to hide from throngs.

                1. I always recommend The Oak Bar at The Plaza because it's feels like you stepped back in time. I've never felt it was stuffy and we've had a lot of good cocktails there. The patrons run the gamut from late 20s to early 100s : )

                  1. For good cocktails and a mellow scene, my recs would be:

                    Angel's Share - one of the original "hidden" bars before they became all the rage, Great cocktails, quiet crowd on weeknights - they have a rule that no groups larger than four are allowed, so it keeps the noise down.

                    Death & Co. or Apotheke - I'll say the same thing about both: go on a weeknight, as the weekends tend to bring out the loud crowds. Apotheke, especially, can get very d-baggy on the weekends. But make a rezzie at either, just to be sure you get seated. You never know what random night things'll get busy.

                    White Star - great little joint tucked away on one of the few not terribly popular blocks left on the LES. Cozy with a really friendly staff and great cocktails. A little out-of-the-way, but smaller crowds because of that.

                    WD-50 - a little outside the box, but there's the small bar area up front, and Tona's cocktails are as good and creative as any you'll find at D&C or Apotheke or any of the other hip new spots. I think he's one of the great underrated "mixologists" (or "bar chefs" or whatever they like to be called nowadays) in the city. Also, if you find yourself a bit peckish, you can always order a couple appetizers or, if it's after dinner, a dessert or two. Living around the corner, I've found myself there for drinks and dessert many times.

                    50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                    Angel's Share
                    8 Stuyvesant St, New York, NY 10003

                    Death & Co.
                    433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

                    9 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: sgordon

                      PDT is also in that class, and as a bonus, I was there for 7 hours (I know, I know) Saturday night and it looked like there were always a couple of seats open. And hey, hot dogs!

                      There was, until fairly recently, a blog called the "Age Appropriate Bar Project" run by a couple of mid-30s women, but it appears to have been taken down.

                      Please Don't Tell
                      113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

                      1. re: craig_g

                        Raines Law Room on West 17th is fantastic for cocktails and a cool atmosphere!

                        1. re: craig_g

                          The "Age-Appropriate Bars" blog is now called "30 to Midnight"


                        2. re: sgordon

                          It's true that there's a significant difference between weekdays and weekends at these and other bars. Best to stick to restaurant bars like Gramercy Tavern if you want to avoid the sub-30's.

                        3. turks and frogs winebar - west village (2nd vote for)
                          grammercy tavern bar room - flatiron
                          campbell apt. - grand central
                          bill's gay 90's - midtown east (a little pubish, piano player's a lot of fun)

                          1. tbouch, did you find anything good?