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Where to eat and see in New Year's Eve for my bf's 30th??

Hi All,

We are heading out to NYC from London on 28th and I have no idea where to take him for his milestone birthday! We want somewhere to eat, time and price no problem, but the food cannot be too fussy as he is terribly so! He likes steak, burgers and general all american dining, but does enjoy a nice swanky restaurant.

If possible, it would be nice if we could stay in there for midnight or be near somewhere that we can go after that will be lively but not completely rammed.

I have looked up the russian tea rooms which looks amazing but the food is not what he would like, especially as he eats no fish! But i do like the idea of being able to head to the bar after.

We are staying at The Intercontinental, The Barclay - not sure if distance from the hotel would be an issue on NYE. As you can see, I need some help! All comments welcome and thank you in advance!!

Steph

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  1. Where is the hotel? Cabs are notoriously tough to get on NYE and its always freezing.

    17 Replies
    1. re: princeofpork

      Thanks for your reply - its on East 48th Street.

      1. re: stephisbell

        Go to Smith and Wollensky on 49th and 3rd or Capitale Grill on 42 and 3rd for a good steak dinner.
        Then you can walk down to 2nd ave and there are a ton of bars down there. Most people are in their 30s in that area. You can walk back to your hotel.

        1. re: princeofpork

          Thanks so much, that is really helpful, and S&W looks just like somewhere he would pick here in London! Would we have to book in one of the bars on 2nd Ave or could we just turn up on the night do you think?

          1. re: stephisbell

            Personally, I have never had a high quality steak @ Smith and Wollensky. There are much better choices for steak in Manhattan.
            If you want to experience the New Year Eve Times Sq excitement make a reservation at Ruby Foos in Times Sq. They block off a section of the sidewalk so tha thier patrons can see the ball drop @ midnight. I like the ambience and the food is pretty good too. The year before last Mike Bloomberg was at the next table.

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            Ruby Foo's
            1626 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

            1. re: Motosport

              That's great, thanks for that. Are there any other restaurants in Times Square that do that outside??

              Can you recommend a good steak restaurant then? Sorry to keep asking but this website and its members is proving very helpful!!

              1. re: stephisbell

                There are lots of great steak recs on CH.
                I like The Old Homestead down in the meatpacking area.
                I've only been to Ruby Foos for NYE. I am sure there are other recs.

                -----
                Ruby Foo's
                1626 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

                Old Homestead
                56 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                1. re: stephisbell

                  Other great steak suggestions are Keens Steakhouse (West 36th) and Wolfgang's - the latter has 3 locations in Manhattan - have been to the one in TriBeCa (Greenwich St) and found it much quieter than the one on Park Ave. Have not yet been to the new one on East 54th, so can't comment on the noise level there. Most of our British friends seem to favor "fillet steak", but I recommend you not order that here and select instead an aged Porterhouse or Rib steak.

                2. re: Motosport

                  I too had a disappointing steak at Smith & Wollensky last year. The desserts were lackluster too. I won't return.

                  I also think Ruby Foo's is a total tourist trap, and a crappy one at that (as some tourist traps can be decent, IMO.)

                  Sorry to rain on your parade! But I do think Times Square on NYE is a version of hell.

                3. re: stephisbell

                  A real old time New York steakhouse is Keen's.

                  Stay out of Times Square on NYE - it is seriously unpleasant.

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    Keens is wonderful and a great place for visitors to go. But you might want to call and ask what their NYE plans are. They do have a wonderful bar, though, and it's not super swanky but it is a nice place filled with history.

                    I would avoid going ANYWHERE near Times Square starting in the late afternoon because it's jam-packed, the police start blockading people in (and don't let them out until post-midnight PLUS there's no public restrooms so a lot of people use bottles), and you often have to walk very far out of your way just to cross the street. The blocks will be closed off as they fill up with people shoulder to shoulder going northward, street-by-street, as the police deem necessary, from about 42nd to 59th, which can add a lot of extra time to your itinerary and make you late for reservations, etc. If you stay away from 42nd to 59th, between 6th and 8th, you should be mostly OK though.

                    The trains will also probably be VERY crowded after your dinner -- you might have a great dinner at Keens and then not be able to get back to your hotel easily since Keens is just south of where the blockades start and your hotel is further east by Grand Central. There's not really a convenient, easy train route between both points. You could probably take the F to Rockefeller Center (which is 47th-50th and 6th Ave) and patiently try to exit to walk 10-15 min. east back to the hotel.

                    Also BTW since it's NYE, lots of places will be doing timed seatings (such as only at 6, 8, 10pm, etc.) with prix fixe menus and champagne toast. Expect higher prices than normal. Hard to say a dollar figure without knowing how much their actual prix fixe menu for dinner will cost and many restaurants don't figure this out until after Thanksgiving.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Stick with the steakhouses near your hotel. You will have a great night and not be stressed dealing with trains, cabs and crowds.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        But there SHOULD BE public restrooms in Times Square (although I can't vouch for them being open New Year's Eve, but I don't see why not). For the past few years "in season", the CHARMIN RESTROOMS have been on Broadway (east side) between 45th & 46th. The best seats on Broadway...! Haven't seen them yet, but expect they'll re-open soon.

                        1. re: boredough

                          The city does not provide portable public restrooms for NYE. Once you're blockaded in (on all 4 sides) on a particular block the police don't let you leave & come back to your spot.

                          http://www.timessquarenyc.org/nye/nye...

                          The Charmin restrooms are not open on NYE past 3pm.

                          http://www.charmin.com/en_US/enjoy-th...

                          People will bring in their own food and drink (non alcoholic), some wear adult diapers or urinate where they are standing. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near that mess!

                          Since the OP are staying by Grand Central, anywhere within walking distance on the east side will sidestep the entire Times Square business.

                        2. re: kathryn

                          Hey Kathryn (et al!), thank you for your really detailed reply, much appreciated!! Re your comments on transport, is walking a good option on NYE or does the subway run late (in London they shut the tubes pretty early so its either cab or walk!)?

                          Keens looks great actually but am now concerned about getting back to the hotel. I know we would both love to be at Times Square for midnight but it looks out of the question after what has been said on here - we both love a nice busy bar and restaurant but i certainly wont be feeling the 'festival vibe' with people peeing in bottles etc when it is below freezing and I can't even have a glass of wine or 2!!

                          Finally, re the post on the Waters Edge, I have heard that the River Cafe is also good. Are either of these two viable options to watch the fireworks or will getting to either of these and back be a nightmare??

                          Oh and I don't mind about the price - I expect everywhere to be massively overpriced but he is only going to be 30 once!

                          Thanks

                          1. re: stephisbell

                            NYC transit...buses and subway...run 24/7 365 days a year.

                            1. re: stephisbell

                              The subway runs 24/7 in NYC, every day of the year. The issue will be more about the one million people in Times Square who all want to use it at the same time. :) So yes, walking is a good option.

                              For Waters Edge and River Cafe, not sure if you can see the Times Square fireworks from there -- perhaps call and ask? Or post on the Outer Boroughs board.

                              For Waters Edge, getting back might not be a problem if you can take the 7 train to Grand Central. The trip looks pretty short on Google Maps (20 min). For the River Cafe, you'd be in for a much longer train ride with a transfer. Both trips appear to sidestep Times Square entirely, though, which is good.

                  2. The Russian Tea Room is an overpriced tourist trap with mediocre food.

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                    Russian Tea Room
                    150 W 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      Doesn't Times Square totally close down in the afternoon?
                      Truthfully, who wants to stand in a jammed-packed barricaded area for 6+ hours?
                      Who knows what the weather will be like.

                    2. Waters Edge LIC-and you can get there by boat I think from 23rd St.

                      1. Ruby foos in Times Square is usually pretty good on NYE. For steak, I'm a Morton's loyalist. You should Check Out Blue Fin also in Times Square. Whereever you choose, choose wisely based on your plans for the rest of the night. Once Times Square gets packed up navigating around it can be a headache. And within 5 minutes of the ball dropping, the barricades open up and the place is swarming with people.

                        A lot of places, especially in the Times Square area will require some kind of reservation. Does he like comedy clubs? Caroline is right under Ruby Foos and always does great NYE shows!

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                        Blue Fin
                        1567 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

                        Morton's the Steakhouse
                        551 5th Ave, New York, NY 10176

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: AYSConsulting

                          Why are you pushing Times Square so hard. It is the single worst place to be in NYC on NYE

                          1. re: princeofpork

                            SO had done TS another year and wanted to do it again so we did several years again. We were on an Indian food kick and ate at Basera ( on 8th I thinK?) waited 4-5 hours to watch the ball drop afterwards. We're extremely far away and it was dull and boring because we don't drink. It out of line to pee and had to start over. Never actually found a place and finally had a chance to pee at the bus station back to our hotel in jersey. I would never do TS again. My SO can go alone!

                          2. re: AYSConsulting

                            He does love comedy clubs and we were hoping to catch one while we were out there. Is Caroline a good comedy club? Couldn't find on google.....?? Have tried to Google Blue Fin and Ruby Foos but both appear to be owned by the same group and the web site is currently down.... :o(

                            On an aside point, he doesn't eat any fish so whilst i would love to hit a really nice seafood restaurant, it would be totally wasted on him!! lol

                            So I am now a little confused and, apologies for my ignorance but if the police barricade Times Square from mid afternoon onwards, how would we get to somewhere like Ruby Foos if we had reservations for say, 9:30?

                            -----
                            Blue Fin
                            1567 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

                            Ruby Foo's
                            1626 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

                            1. re: stephisbell

                              I wouldn't recommend Ruby Foos personally, it's too touristy. Also, I think you guys could visit Times Square but beware that on New Year's it is VERY crowded and since the streets are barricaded, you will probably have to walk along special areas. One year I took some friends who were visiting to Times Square- it took hours to get around that area!

                              Anyway, I digress.... My favorite steak place is Quality Meats on 58th Street and 6th Ave. I've never had a bad meal there and the drinks are great. It's the sort of place where you can get huge portions, tons of drinks, but it's CLASSY. As for celebrations at midnight, I've been to Pravda on Lafayette and it was fabulous. Champagne, balloons, 20-30s corwd, and you could smoke upstairs! We had 2 cigars...

                              As for Comedy clubs, I've been to Caroline's with my sister and it was nice. BUT what you need to know is that this place can get very expensive quickly since there are drink minimums plus the entrance fee. The acts were funny but I can't say that the price was justified and anyway, I'm not that crazy about comedy clubs to begin with so maybe my review is a little biased.

                              -----
                              Ruby Foo's
                              1626 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

                              Quality Meats
                              57 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

                              1. re: stephisbell

                                Ruby Foos is a tourist trap and you do not want to be in that neighborhood that evening at all.

                                Your hotel is on E. 48th St. You could go to The Palm.

                                -----
                                Ruby Foo's
                                1626 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

                                1. re: gutsofsteel

                                  I am not a fan of The Palm. My father has taken is for Christmas and claims the other locations are better. I was not impressed at all! Food was tasteless and mediocre and chairs were uncomfortable. My father actually cancelled our annual New York trip after so many of complained about The Palm.

                                2. re: stephisbell

                                  You'll find most NY-ers don't want to go to Times Square, but if you feel like you must experience it, go for it in spite of the warnings.

                                  A lot of restaurants in NYC do special New Year's events with champagne toasts and prix fixe menus, often with an earlier seating and a more expensive seating closer to midnight. Take a look at OpenTable.com -- they often have a list of places and what their special celebration is for the evening, along with the costs and the ability to make online reservations.

                                  As for comedy clubs I have never been, but research some of the smaller places online (try NYmag.com or TimeOut) for a more NY type of experience.

                                  1. re: stephisbell

                                    Carolines is on Broadway bw 49th and 50th. The Foo does a good job with issuing passes to get around the barricades etc on NYE and they do a champagne toast at midnight.
                                    I've done the NYE in Times Square thing ONCE and that was enough, especially since I'm a native NYer, but it could def be fun for an out of towner.

                                    Lets face it, anywhere in that vicinity will be a madhouse on NYE regardless. PRetty much anywhere in the city will be a madhouse on NYE. Tons of fun!!

                                    1. re: AYSConsulting

                                      No other part of Manhattan is nearly as bad as the Times Square District on New Year's Eve.

                                      1. re: Pan

                                        Agreed. You couldn't pay me to be anywhere near midtown on New Year's Eve. Hoards of screaming drunk tourists, barricaded in like cattle with no bathrooms...

                                        ....I do my best every year to be far, far from NYC on New Year's Eve.

                                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                                          As does just about every other New Yorker.

                                3. Well thank you to all of you who replied to my request. Some of you may think I am crazy but i have booked Ruby Foo's on the basis that he wants to be in Times Square on NYE so that delivers on that front and they have bathrooms to use!! I suppose if you were to ask my opinion on London I would say to avoid the West End like the plague and London generally on NYE but I guess most get like that about the City they live and work in......

                                  Thanks again for all of your opinions and Happy Xmas and New Years to you all!!

                                  Steph

                                  -----
                                  Ruby Foo's
                                  1626 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: stephisbell

                                    Please report back after your experience. Good luck!!

                                    1. re: stephisbell

                                      Awesome. I used to work there (many moons ago) and I worked a NYE and it was a really good time (especially when we popped a $300 btl of champagne for the managers). they do a good job and had a nice menu. Have a great time!! I can't wait to hear how it was!

                                      1. re: stephisbell

                                        Hi Stephisbell,

                                        Could you give me an idea of what Ruby Foo's was like? I am planning to go with my boyfriend and 2 friends for NYE and we too are travelling from the UK? Can you remember if they let you out onto the street at 11.45pm and what the food was like? I'd really appreciate it to help us make our final decision so we can book asap! x

                                        1. re: karao

                                          Ruby Foos blocks off a section of sidewalk for their patrons to see the ball drop.
                                          For what it is the food is excellent. Not EMP but that's not what you are there for. We have never had a complaint.
                                          One year we sat next to "Hizzonor" and company.

                                          1. re: Motosport

                                            Thanks for the info, do you know if you can actually see the ball drop once outside in the sectioned off area?

                                            1. re: karao

                                              5-4-3-2-1 Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!