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Fairmount area recs for a group (early) on New Years Eve

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OK, so I'm trying to organize an early (say, 5:30-6pm) dinner on New Years Eve for about 15 people. Mostly they are all out-of-towners planning on going to the Dada show at the North Star Bar later that night. I'm basically the only Philly person in the group, but I'm not overly familiar with the places in that area. Anyone have any recs on restaurants that would be good for this bunch? I've had one request for Italian food, but will take anything that is decent and likely to appeal to a broad crowd (and not be too expensive). I know a lot of places are doing special fixed-price menus that night, but maybe not until later in the night which is fine (I doubt most folks want to spend more than $20-25 a head, not counting alcohol). I just want to be able to get in and out with this group in about 2 hours time, and preferably somewhere with a bar (no BYOBs).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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  1. The price range and non-byo request is a tough one. Brigids will probably work. Can't comment on the food cause it seems that they may have changed chefs/concept which is a good thing. Bishops collar is popular and I have heard that the food is pretty good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: joluvscards

      Illuminare is in Fairmount and does a nice pizza. Also has other italian dishes. with a price range of 12-18 dollars.

      St. Stephen's Green, Belgian Cafe, Rembrandts and Londons are four other options to consider.

    2. Could you possibly go to Northern Liberties? The options are much better.
      Illuminaire is good for pizza, but pricey - overpriced, IMHO, otherwise.
      London gets thumbs down these days. Haven't heard much good about Rembrandts, either.
      Jack's Firehouse is good but pricey - you can look at the menu online.
      Can't comment on St. Stephen's Green or Belgian Cafe - check the menus online.
      I thought that Bishop's Collar is more of a hamburger place, but maybe that's fine.
      If you could do byob, you'd have better options - L'Oca and Trio (Asian) are both good.
      There is a good and attractive Indian restaurant on Callowhill, not too far.
      Sorry to be so negative.

      5 Replies
      1. re: sylviag

        No problems being negative - this is not a "foodie" crowd, I'm just trying to find things that will please a crowd just wanting to eat decently before a long night on their feet listening to music. From past experience at similar events, efficient service, affordable variety, and fair priced drinks outweigh culinary prowess - and it needs to be quickly walkable to the venue as these are hardcore music folks from out of town who want to line up early before the show and park their cars in the area. BYOB would definitely be a no-go as would anywhere beyond the immediate vicinity.

        Jack's FIrehouse is the only place I've been to around there and it was my first possible choice. Was thinking of potentially Bishop's Collar as well.

        1. re: sockii

          Jack's is way out of your price range, unless you only order off the bar menu. I personally believe it has gone down hill after it was sold.

          Illuminaire has gotten mixed reviews. I personally believe the pizza in and of itself justifies going there.

          London's has received mixed reviews, but does do some nice food.

          Personally I believe St. Stephen's Green might be your best bet Truly a gastropub with a wide range of food, you arent stuck in the burger/sandwich type of food that Bishops Collar has, but you arent being pushed much higher in prices.

          Belgian Cafe and Brigits are two good options if you want belgian type food, though Brigits these days is less and less about belgian food. Another option might be Zorba's though its a bit small for that big a party.

          1. re: cwdonald

            I tried to suggest St. Stephen's Green to the group but now it all seems like it was all a wash - now they just want to meet up early at the NorthStar and eat the bar food there (sigh). So my efforts to plan anything more interesting/better have been for naught.

            THAT said, my SO and I might choose to just meet them all later for the show now and enjoy a nicer meal ourselves since we don't get into the city that much these days. So maybe we'll look into some Northern Liberties possibilities that night just for the two of us.

            1. re: cwdonald

              Thanks for mentioning St. Stephen's Green. We've never been there, and a good gastropub nearby sounds inviting. You can learn all sorts of things on this Board!

            2. re: sockii

              Sockii, if your group is still open to efficient service, affordable variety and fair priced drinks Little Pete's in The Philadelphian , the rear of 2401 Pennsylvania Ave might fit the bill. You would have to make reservations ahead of time, but Pete's will provide a very different experience, and great value . The phone number is 215-232-5001. Full bar, fast friendly service; he may have a special menu for NE"s eve, but it will still be reasonable. Parking can be tight here, but the 32 practically stops at our door, and it's not a long walk from the 48.

          2. bishops colar will definitely fit the bill or the kite and key. i go to little pete's a lot and they definitely give you a lot for your dollars...most dinner specials are under $15 and come with soup, salad, non-alcoholic beverage and dessert...and yup, full bar....i know domestic beer is $2.50, imports may be $3ish and mixed drinks are $4, wine is $5, no draft beer.