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Foodie Restaurants to Eat for Singles / Solo Diners

I've lived in NYC for 7 years but rarely dine alone. I want to change that as sometimes I have a hankering for an excellent meal and my friends don't happen to always be available to dine last minute. I'd like to get a list of restaurants together that meet the following requirements:

1) Eat at the Bar available (preferably COMFY bar seats/stools rather than hard wood ones)
2) Excellent food - Prefer small bites to large dishes. Good wine options too.
3) Friendly bartenders and/or other single eaters around for conversation.
4) Not so crowded that I won't get a seat in the afternoon (btw 12 & 4).
5) Upscale, professional crowd - nice ambiance.
6) In Midtown (east or west is fine)

I'm a female in my late 20's but don't mind eating at a Steakhouse. Price is no object but expect food to be worth the cost.

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  1. > 4) Not so crowded that I won't get a seat in the afternoon (btw 12 & 4).

    Is this for the weekday or on weekends?

    1 Reply
    1. Just pick any restaurant you feel like eating in, and (in New York) it'll probably satisfy your criteria. Even Le Bernardin. Really.

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      Le Bernardin
      155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

      5 Replies
      1. re: Sneakeater

        Thanks, I forgot they had a bar there - from what I read there are only four seats though. Seeking a place I can go and be pretty sure I will get a seat… and also prefer the type of place where bar dining is not just where people get drinks but a dining destination (thinking of Craftbar and Collichio & Sons off the top of my head).

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        Craftbar
        900 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

        Colicchio & Sons
        85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        1. re: nycsmile6

          Understand. I've seen people eating at that bar. There are very few (if any) New York restaurant bars anymore where there aren't people eating. (It's gotten to the point where people who just want to drink are complaining -- since of course restaurants give preferential seating to people who are going to order meals.)

          After the lunch rush, I can't believe you wouldn't get a seat there.

          But my real point is, just about any restaurant you'd want to go to, probably has a bar you could eat at (with other diners nearby).

          1. re: Sneakeater

            I like Seasonal a lot, BTW. Eat at the bar there all the time.

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            Seasonal
            132 West 58th Street, New York, NY 10019

            1. re: Sneakeater

              Cool. Thanks. Will have to try it out.

              1. re: nycsmile6

                Without wanting to be cantankerous, I think your biggest obstacle to finding good places is more "Midtown" than "bar dining".

      2. I would suggest the Bar Room at The Modern. It fits all your criteria. I do think going there after the lunch rush, i.e., b/t 2 and 4, would better guarantee getting a seat at the bar.

        Bar Room at The Modern photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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        The Modern
        9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

        1 Reply
        1. re: RGR

          I second The Modern's Bar Room. That's the first place that popped up on my mind after reading your question.

        2. It's not Midtown but for years Union Square Cafe has been my go-to (when I worked at the MetLife building it was just a few minutes away on the 4/5). The food's always good and occasionally great; the bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable; and I've always had interesting conversations with other solo diners when I've eaten at the bar, for either lunch or dinner.

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          Union Square Cafe
          21 East 16th St., New York, NY 10003