snacks and drinks for a group on a Saturday night?
I'll preface by saying that what I'm looking for might be impossible.
I'm trying to get together with a group of 8-10 people on a Saturday night. Somewhere with good food and drinks that won't be absolutely mobbed. We're slightly flexible with time - we could meet as early as 7 or as late as 9:30 or so, if that would make a difference,
We don't necessarily need or want a sit-down dinner - I don't think I can get everyone there at the same time - just somewhere we can congregate for appetizers and drinks. It can be a bar with good food, or a restaurant with a large bar area.
The location is flexible - the people I'm meeting live in Astoria, UES, UWS, Gramercy, and Tribeca/West Village... so nowhere is going to be convenient for everyone.
Any ideas for where this can be accomplished without a whole lot of stress?
Ilili? Great food, very shareable and you can eat by the bar, if you stakeout some space early on in the lounge area then you'll have an area for your friends to come and go.
Try Pierre Loti. I did this recently with about 6 people at the Chelsea location and it was great. We made a reservation and sat at a table, which may work for you (if there's a table/space in the back). There's also a location on Irving Place, which, if I recall correctly, is somewhat more loungy (with couches), so that might work also.
Ilili is also a good idea - I've done the same thing there.