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1st time in Manhattan with 12 yr old

My wife and I are bringing our 12 yr old son to Manhattan for three nights in early March (Fri Sat Sun 8-10th). He's a cool kid, socially precocious, loves big cities, classic rock and is a fairly adventurous eater. Primary focus of the trip is to see the Allman Brothers at the Beacon on Fri and Sat nights. So we need two early dinners/happy hours on Fri and Sat that are not hours long and then a dinner on Sunday that can be at any time at a more leisurely pace. The concerts are on the Upper West Side, but I don't want to be tied to that neighborhood for dinner as long as its not too crazy far away to make the 8 PM shows.

None of us have been to NYC before, so we want to do some of the classic NY stuff (Jewish deli, NYC pizza) for lunches and already have a good list of recs for that kind of thing. We would also love to get some outstanding Indian, Turkish, Afghani or similiar food if you have any recs.

My wife and I love classic cocktails and our son enjoys hanging out with grown ups. Can we take him to Death and Co (opens too late for Fri or Sat nights, so that would be on Sunday) or places like that since they serve food or do they still have a 21 and up only law for those spots? We'd like to find either bars like that that we can bring him to or restaurants that have solid cocktail programs. Probably looking for modern American, French, or seafood cuisine. Happy hours work because we are light eaters and often share several apps for a meal.

We are staying at the Eventi on 6th Ave and 30th St and wonder if its too far to get to breakfast spots like Clinton Street Baking?

I hope that's not a too scattered bunch of requests, thanks for any ideas you might suggest!

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  1. The first time in NY query has been covered a lot here so you'll get some links on that sooner or later if you don't dig them up yourself.

    On taking your 12-year-old to a cocktail bar, I think D&C on a Sunday would be fine if you sat at one of the tables. The bartenders would probably be willing to mix him up a non-alcoholic concoction.... Also, while not in the same league as some of the other cocktail destinations, the Campbell Apartment might be an interesting spot as well for NY first timers. Although, they do have a dress code so they may have a kid code as well...Raines Law Room might be cool too...I would just make sure he's not dressed like an Allman Bros roadie or something and they'd probably be fine letting him into these places, but you might want to have a back up plan jic.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Silverjay

      For classic drinks there is also Lanterns Keep. They will conjure up a magnificent non-alcoholic drink. Give them a call first to make sure it's ok for a minor to sit at a table.

    2. There is really nothing that is too far from 6th and 30th. NYC has fabulous subways and your son will love the subway ride.
      Clinton St Baking can get busy on weekends so be prepared to wait. It's in a cool area.
      Katz's Delicatessan is close by and not to be missed for a true NYC deli experience. I love the hot pastrami sammich on rye (ask for fatty). The sammich is big enough for two adults to share. Share a knish and an egg cream.
      For middle eastern it's a short walk to Byblos on Madison and 28th. They may even have a belly dancer and music one night.
      Pizza!! Check the site for the many "best" recs.
      Walk down to Madison Sq Park (Shakeshack) and venture into Eataly.
      My advice to visitors is always: "Get out and walk!" weather permitting. Take in the sights, sounds and characters of Manhattan.

      1. I don't think any of these cocktail bars will be appropriate for a 12 year old. Better to go to a restaurant with a great cocktail program, such as The NoMad (mind the capital M), Empellon Cocina, Momofuku Ssam Bar.

        The Eventi is very close to the F train at Herald Square. The issue will be the wait once you arrive. You'd probably need to leave the hotel at 8am to get there by 8:30am, they start serving hot food by 9am.

        8 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          i'm not so sure any bars like that would allow a 12 year old in

          1. re: MRS

            I am not sure what the actual rule is. I'm pretty sure a child can not actually sit at the bar but may be able to sit at a table in the area.
            Anyone know for sure??

            1. re: Motosport

              Neither New York state nor city law explicitly forbids minors in bars, although state regulations say children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

              1. re: Motosport

                You can't serve them alcohol. That's the law. Other than that, I think it is up to the establishment. But sitting at the bar would probably be awkward....If the kid is cool and socially precocious and first time for all in NYC, I say why not at least try. I'm assuming it would be on the early, tamer side of the evening anyone...It's a different scene than these places, but I've seen kids at Maison Premiere younger than 12 and I have friends who bring their kids to beer pubs on the early side of things.

            2. re: kathryn

              Thanks for the comments and suggestions so far. Truly not intending to be contrary, but curious as to what you mean by not appropriate, kathryn. I know its unusual to consider taking a 12 year old to a bar, but he is an unusually precocious kid who loves to hang out with adults and we are unusual parents who walk to our own beat when it comes to teaching our kids about responsible drinking. If its legal and the bar allows it, I don't see anything inappropriate about giving a kid who can socially handle it a good time doing stuff he thinks is fun and eating and drinking in a dark speakeasy bar with formality is something that he would love. For example, we've taken him to La Trappe, the basement Belgian beer hall in San Francisco and he was totally thrilled. That place is mostly about beer, but they also serve food, so it worked perfectly for us.

              Sure we could just go to a restaurant, but the involved mixology part of the experience is one of the things that is attractive. I'll probably have to call the bars and find out. I will also check out those restaurants you recommended, if they are dark and cozy, they could fit the bill, although coming from the Southwest, we won't be doing any Mexican or Latin in NYC and Asian food is not what we are seeking out, either. NoMad looks pretty good in lots of ways, thanks for the suggestion! I really appreciate your highly informative posts all over Chowhound, kathryn, so again, I thank you.

              1. re: mwest9

                Death & Co is not as busy on Sunday nights usually but the seating is rather close together. You're elbow to elbow at the bar. And the banquette, which is usually populated by couples, is pretty tight as well. It's very dark, very cozy. If you can't sit at the bar, you'll miss out on the bar "show" anyway. Never seen any kids there either -- they may not allow them.

                See also:

                FYI: the D&C menu also has a few quotations glorifying drinking (“I feel sorry for people who don't drink, when they wake up in the morning that's as good as they're going to feel all day” - Frank Sinatra) with some double entendres thrown in, IIRC. I can't recall if it's on the current menu, but I'm fairly certain they had the famous Dorothy Parker "four martinis and I'm under the host" quotation on there at some point.

                1. re: kathryn

                  kathryn, I would agree with you that D&C is not appropriate, dare I say, unwelcoming to a minor of that age. There are "pubs" and "restaurants with bar seating" that might be ok with a 12 year old, but I don't envision places along the lines of a D& C being cool with that. Just saying. And truthfully, I'd not like to be sitting on a bar stool next to a 12 year old...precocious and awesome though he may be.
                  NY has a unlimited variety of cool places that a young man like this would be soooo happy and sooo welcomed.

                2. re: mwest9

                  It's been my experience with my son (who is now 14) that places that serve food have no problem with a kid that age at the bar. The only places I had problems bringing him was if the place did not serve food. And some places when it is crowded. For the most part, they are better with a kid that age who is not going to try to drink, than an older teenager. My son and I have had many meals at bars around the city. That said, I always try to keep other patrons in mind and don't bring him places where I feel that other's might be uncomfortable by his presence.

              2. Cafe Talluleh just opened near the Beacon on Columbus and 71. Have not been yet but it looks and sounds great.

                1. Firstly: it is legal in NYC for a child to sit at the bar.
                  Some restaurant/bars won't let anyone in without ID showing they are of drinking age i.e. Spitzers.
                  Personally, i've taken my kids to bar type restaurants, but to sit at table,,,i didn't want my kids surrounded by drunks.
                  You didn't say where you were coming from .
                  Do you have dim sum cart type restaurants where you are from ? if not Golden Unicorn is a good place to go.
                  Megu has a fantastic ice Buddha and good cocktails, great looking place.
                  Ippudo is a fun spot to go to with a kid
                  Otto would be a fun pizza/italian food place
                  I don't think NYC is "famous" for Afghan or Turkish food.
                  Katz's is a must.
                  Pig and Khao is a small, lively Asian food place that might work.
                  Sushi of Gari will be a creative style of sushi , you all might like.
                  Buddakan is a huge place, good bar, interesting "Chinese" food.
                  Nish Nush has good falafel sandwiches.
                  St Marks place has some interesting spots, worth a walk down that street, then good places on E 7th street and of course the Japanese places on E 9th Street.
                  Maybe Veniero's for italian pastries and cappuccino's
                  or Chickalicious for desserts

                  1. It might be legal, but I highly doubt any place with a doorman is going to let anyone under 21 inside. That would rule out D&C, Mayahuel, Pouring Ribbons, and most of the speakeasy type places. Of course, you can try anyway. But your best bet is probably an upscale restaurant with a great beverage program. Kathryn's suggestions are good.

                    1. Having raised three children in NYC, I can honestly say this. Take him anywhere. A.N.Y.W.H.E.R.E. in the city. Don't overthink it. Go. Have a great time. Dress up for cocktails. Put him in khaki's, a white shirt, a rep tie, weejuns and a navy blazer and hit the town a 'la East Siders before getting your West Side on! Allman Bros. I'm jealous! (OK. shameless plug. If "Bad Man Yells" is playing anywhere downtown whilst you are visiting. Go see them.--it's my son's band!)

                      1. Any 12 year old who likes the Allman Brothers needs to be introduced to late night living on his first trip to NYC. Loosen the reins a little Dad!! And keep taking the kid to hear great music!!!!

                        1. Katz's deli is an absolute (note the spelling)

                          Yannah Schimmels near by for the authentic knish.

                          Not too far from there are Italian clam bars (a shrinking ethnic neighborhood)

                          Up in the village is John's pizzeria. Which has been in continuous but changing business for decades.

                          DO go to Chinatown, and DO eat in some of the small dim sum places for something you won't find elsewhere.

                          Hip aside, if you are in NYC for the first time with a 12 year old and skip the American Museum Nat Hist, you are foolish.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: law_doc89

                            just curious as to what nyc-only forms of dim sum exist that i "won't find elsewhere"? i seriously would like to know, and i would consider it destination worthy. . .

                            1. re: afong56

                              You have a very large, thriving Chinese community, probably more people living in Manhattan's China town than all of metro SF. The restaurants that are for the Chinese have huge selections, much, that you will never understand, as they bring you a dish and say: "Dim Sum." You ask for more, they bring you something else and ask what it is, and they say: "Dim sum."

                              1. re: law_doc89

                                "Won't find elsewhere" (in the world? country?) is probably a stretch. Have you eaten dim sum in and around the greater LA area?

                                "Won't find at home in Phoenix," maybe, as I believe the OP lives in Phoenix.

                                BTW, your population figures are pretty off.

                                Manhattan Chinatown population = 90-100k according to Wikipedia
                                City of San Francisco population = 812,826 as of Jul 2011 according to Google

                                Both Sunset Park, Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens now outnumber Manhattan's Chinatown.

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  Have you actually eaten in the Manhattan Chinatown?

                                  Wikipedia is neither authoritative, nor accurate,which is why any student of mine who cites it flunks automatically if there is no disclaimer about why citing it.


                                  There is an important issue about the size of the Chinatown, and its actual living vibrancy. Manhattan Chinatown is actually the largest Chinese community in the Western hemisphere.

                                  Have you actually eaten in the Manhattan Chinatown?

                                  And, do you know the difference between SF metro and SF county?

                                  Besides, Have you actually eaten in the Manhattan Chinatown?

                                  1. re: law_doc89

                                    OK. I read your statement quickly. You mean there are more people of Chinese descent living in Manhattan Chinatown than people of Chinese descent living in the entire SF Bay Area (not total population, which is how your phrasing COULD be interpreted).

                                    But I'm not the Chinatown expert, though, scoopG is.

                                    I've been eating in Manhattan's Chinatown for 10 years. No need to be rude and ask three times.

                                    1. re: kathryn

                                      Gee, I was just asking a question. I have been eating in Manhattan for over 60 years. Anyway, the point here is to give useful advice to the OP and anyone else reading these, I thought.

                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                        This sub-thread is getting a little testy and a little far afield from Manhattan. Let's move on from it -- anyone have great dim sum to suggest?

                                        1. re: The Chowhound Team


                                          For someone of middle adventure, a first time experience I would say that Jing Fong on Elizabeth St or Vegetarian Dim Sum on Pell St is way to go. JF's does the whole cart thing. Both have their share of tourists. Sunshine 27 on the Bowery is fun, if you don't mind strangers sitting at your table.

                              2. re: afong56

                                SF has some good dim sum. Boston has maybe 1 ok dim sum restaurant. Chicago ummm maybe some hotel has potstickers. Seattle and Vancouver , can find something OK.
                                afong, I don't believe the OP is from any dim sum area, as he indicates he is from the Southwest. There is no dim sum in the SW, worth talking about, again maybe frozen potstickers.. I agree with law-doc in recommending dim sum ( especially with carts) in NYC.
                                I would not recommend Mexican food, as the OP indicated, they already have that.

                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                  i'm not disagreeing with the suggestion of dim sum. just wondering what nyc had that others "won't find elsewhere". that is all.

                                  i have eaten dim sum far and wide, and am actually coming back to nyc next month, so i am totally interested in finding new and unique dishes that i may not have tried before.

                                  . . .also, i'm not worried about dim sum dishes being anything i "will never understand". . .i've eaten it for over forty years, so i recognize almost everything.

                                  so again, and i'm not being provocative, i am genuinely interested to know what nyc-only dim sum exists, because i want to try it.

                                  1. re: afong56

                                    You might like some of the dishes at Red Farm. Like the pastrami egg rolls. Chef Ng's dim sum is also great, and creative, but I'm not sure it's especially "New York-y." Maybe the Pac Man dumplings?

                                    1. re: kathryn

                                      thanks for the red farm suggestion. . .maybe we'll grab some dim sum there as unusual apps before dinner at keste and some treats at bosie tea parlor. cheers for that.

                            2. super excited you're taking your 12 year old to see the allman's. my dad took me when i was 14 for the first time, and we've now made it a yearly ritual (going on our 18th anniversary this year!)

                              that said, our standard move is to get an early delicious steak at keen's and then head up to the beacon. we used to go to yogi's beforehand, but that closed down, so now we just grab a beer at amsterdam ale house.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jon

                                Glad someone finally mentioned Keen's. It's right in their hotel area and a 12 yo boy should really like the painting over the bar! We usually eat in the pub and have never had a problem getting seated on Friday or Saturday without a reservation, especially if you go early. For a drink before dinner they have a classic cocktail menu and a very extensive whiskey selection and the restaurant is very family friendly. I would grab a taxi to the theater from there too. Cabs are cheap and a fun way to see the city.

                              2. For some delicious Indian food, try Anjappar. They serve Chettinad cuisine from South India. I've been there 3 or 4 times so far, and each trip has been delicious. They serve both vegetarian and non-vegetarian items, including seafood (though their crab curry comes in the shell and is messy to eat). If you're in the neighborhood while Kalustyan's is open, go up to the 2nd floor of that store and order some mujadara. It's wonderful! Also consider getting some medjool dates at Spice Corner. They're the best I've found in Manhattan.

                                Definitely don't miss Katz's, as others have mentioned.

                                1. mwest, did you write a trip report? I'm headed to NY with my 10-yr-old soon; look up my posts and you'll see that I have a lot of the same questions you asked here. I'd love to here how it went.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: saacnmama

                                    I did not post a trip report, frankly because I lost my enthusiasm for this thread after the discouragement I received (some of which I thought was unwarranted and a little bit selfish and stuffy, in spite of several very encouraging replies which I did appreciate very much). But I did appreciate the thoughtful replies and since you asked, I'll report very briefly in case you find it at all helpful.

                                    We all had a great time in NYC but there was not enough time to eat at all the places we wanted.

                                    We had excellent breakfast at The Breslin, good Naples style pizza at Don Antonio, good French pastry at La Maison du Macaron, lunch at Chelsea Market after walking the Highline, a nice seafood lunch at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, a great donut and coffee at the Doughnut Plant right next to the Chelsea Hotel, and a superb dinner at Balthazar followed by a jazz show at the Village Vanguard, which our son enjoyed very much. He did great on the subways, helping us figure out which trains we needed to board and all that, it was a lot of fun.

                                    We tried NoMad, but it was very crowded on a weekend early evening and we were ignored for about 10 minutes while standing in the bar so we left.

                                    We ate at Ali Baba Turkish that had just OK food, but the owners and staff were Turks so I got to chat with them in Turkish, always fun for me. I was surprised the food was not better, like I've had in San Francisco at La Turca.

                                    We did not make it to Katz's or any other Jewish deli/sandwich shop.

                                    Overall, I found Manhattan to be friendlier and safer-feeling than a recent trip we took to Chicago. I didn't really comment on all the non-food stuff we did, but everything worked out pretty great for taking our son to NYC for the first time. I hope you, too, have a great trip!

                                    1. re: mwest9

                                      I just took your notes down for a niece coming to NJ in a week. Thanks, mwest9.

                                      1. re: mwest9

                                        Too bad for your reaction. Going to the Chelsea Hotel for doughnuts misses a gem, namely El Quijote, a Spanish restaurant founded by members of the Spanish Republic when the fled to NY after Franco took power. Furthermore, NYC is just not a spot for Turkish, but it is for Chinese, Italian, and Jewish. There is a lot of history and tradition in NYC that hipsters who arrived 10 seconds ago don't know.

                                        BTW, you missed seeing T Roosevelt's boyhood home in Chelsea, Washington Irving's, Aaron Burr's, Edna St Vincent Millay's homes, and the Communist speakeasy, all within a short walk from where you visited. Also, going to Chelsea, you could have visited the Clement Clark Moore park, seen where he wrote the Night Before Christmas, and visited the spot where Dvorak wrote the New World Symphony, among other things.

                                    2. The Museum of Natural History's a must .I'm 68 born in NYC and continue to go there when ever I can .They have hold you over noshes also.http://www.amnh.org/plan-your-visit/v... coffee was good if I remember

                                      1. Thanks, Mwest!

                                        The snottier comments here remind me of a few years ago when I was flying back from where we were living overseas for a conference in Vegas and people refused to comment constructively on things to do with a 5-yr-old there. They just kept telling me it was no place for a child, as if I had a choice. Reminded me of the knock-knock joke about Annoying Cow.

                                        Anyway, I'm back on your post because I just got one of those comments on a request for suggestions on nice rooftop bars. I'm thinking of the top of the Met, the Hotel Americano, or the View at a Hilton.

                                        I'm glad to see the comment on food at the AMNH, because I've been trying to figure out where to eat before the overnight there.

                                        Thanks for your quickie trip report!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. Oops--don't want to unfairly accuse Chowhounds--that recent rudeness I mentioned was on Fodor's. Maybe I'll try the same post here and see if I get any more thoughtful responses.