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Afternoon eating and drinking for a group

Yet again I am heading to New York for not nearly enough time, and am trying to catch up with a lot of people. I think the best way to do that is to find a bar with good food, or restaurant with a big bar, that's open on Saturday afternoon-evening. I figured we could go at 4:00 or 5:00 and have some drinks and snacks - then a few of us will maybe move elsewhere for dinner, or just stay there for a while. (Alternately, we could do this later - at 9:00 or 10:00, but most places will be way too busy then, I think).

There will probably be about 8-12 people.

The location doesn't really matter as long as it's subway-accessible... people will be coming from a bunch of different neighborhoods. We're staying on 28th and 2nd, though it doesn't necessarily need to be close by.

We're definitely looking for something casual and affordable - drinks in the $10-12 range and snacks/appetizers around the same price, if possible.

Any suggestions?

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      1. re: Bob Martinez

        Thanks to both of you. I like Otto a lot, but I've been there a million times over the years - I was hoping for something different. Any other ideas along those lines?

        1. re: nyc_to_ma

          I'll give you 3 other suggestions that fit different niches.

          Terroir is a well regarded wine bar with a variety of different snacks. They open at 5:00PM. Multiple locations around the city.

          http://restauranthearth.com/terrior/T...

          Loreley is a German cafe with lots of easily shareable small plates. While they specialize in beers there's a full bar.

          http://www.loreleynyc.com/menu_manhat...

          El Quijote restaurant, located in the Chelsea Hotel, has tons of fun kitschy atmosphere. Real old New York - it opened in 1930. Plenty of small plates available. I think your friends would get a kick out of it.

          http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

          Scroll down to the dinner menu to see the full list of apps.

          http://www.elquijoterestaurant.com/

          1. re: Bob Martinez

            Thanks again - Loreley is a great idea for this... I've organized similar gatherings there in the past.

            This is maybe a different question altogether, but what about somewhere that does dollar oysters on Saturday afternoon / early evenings? That could be fun. I suppose that's something I can look up easily enough myself...

            1. re: nyc_to_ma

              Five Points does dollar oysters. (Or at least they did last year. You should call and confirm.) And a bonus for you - from 5:00 to 7:00 well drinks are $5.

              Very nice atmosphere.

              http://www.fivepointsrestaurant.com/

              1. re: nyc_to_ma

                Ten Bells on the LES is great for Saturday late afternoon oyster and wine consumption. The oysters are $1.25 though.

              2. re: Bob Martinez

                +1 for terrior- the OP is actually very close to murray hill location and going close to 5pm would be best- there's a good long table towards the back and the food options are actually very good.

        2. Gramercy Tavern is very good at this.

          1. Mermaid Inn opens at 4 PM on Saturdays and they have a great happy hour from 4-7 on Saturdays at all their locations. They take reservations for happy hour, though I'm not sure how they would handle a group that large. They have $1 East Coast and $1.75 West Coast oysters included in the happy hour.

            I went to a gathering at Ninth Ward in the East Village this weekend and they can accommodate large parties. They open at 1 PM on Saturdays. Their cocktails are in your price range and they have some interesting Abita beer (my husband liked the Grapefruit IPA). The food menu is mostly New Orleans inspired fare-- limited but good drinking food! Oh, and I almost forgot- draft beer and well drinks/wine are 2 for 1 until 8 PM!

            1. I spent a very happy afternoon/evening recently eating and drinking at Cannibal. Very close to where you will be staying and it was good for drinks, food, atmosphere and service.

              1. Thanks again for all of your suggestions. I still haven't figured this out - I need somewhere in Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, or the Upper West Side, as we need to be somewhere else in Hell's Kitchen later that evening.

                We'll probably now be meeting at about 6:30-7:00.

                Any thoughts?