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A New York City Bachelorette Dining Guide: Part 2

NYC Bachelorette Dining Guide: Where to Eat and Drink in New York City

First up, can I just say that writing an NYC dining guide is hard! There are so many choices and I want you to love your experience in my city. So take a look through the below, but make sure to also check out my first NYC Dining Guide! It includes many, many more recommendations.

Restaurants have to meet a few very important criteria to make this list. First, they can’t charge you crazy rates for being a large party. Some restaurant require large parties to have a set menu and buy things like “beverage packages” and meet “room minimums.” You just want to go to dinner! So if they have a policy that will end up costing you $75 a head just for the food or will force you to meet a $2500 minimum in three hours (I am not making these numbers up, they are legitimate packages I found while researching this article), they are out! Also, they have to accept reservations. If you have a group of six or more, you are just never going to get into a nice restaurant without a reservation. Not on a Saturday night. No way. Unless you wait, like, two hours. And you don’t want to do that. You have some celebrating to do!

For this list, I let myself go up a little bit on price point for you. My first list focused on restaurants where you could pretty easily get an entree for $15 and still enjoy some ambiance. This time, I’ve upped my price point to places that average around $20-$25 an entree. I’ve made sure that each of my selections still has lower-priced options, but we can look at a whole new group of restaurants if we open the price point a bit. Eating cheaply can definitely be done in New York—what’s difficult is finding cheap eats with atmosphere. Lots of incredible hole-in-the-wall joints are making amazing food in New York, but many only have counter service or have six chairs crammed up against the wall in a railroad-style eatery. They can’t accommodate a big group. Or they won’t have that urban, energetic New York atmosphere you desire. I’ve tried to pick places that deliver on atmosphere, will serve great food and can accommodate a big party with ease (no easy feat).

Also, note: Happy hour is your friend. A lot of these restaurants have considerable deals between the hours of 5 and 7pm.

Dinner Spots

Pagani: A beautiful rustic Italian restaurant with plenty of candlelight and leather banquettes perfect for seating a large group (they also have a private back room that can accommodate 13). The homemade pasta dishes are the star, like the ricciatelle with wild mushrooms and arugula ($19.50) or the gnocchi with gorgonzola and black truffle ($23).

Flex Mussels: This place focuses on doing one thing really really well: mussels. The menu offers over 20 preparations, from the classic white white with garlic and herbs ($21) to thai flavored with a curry coconut broth, lemongrass and kaffir lime ($24) or decadent Maine lobster with bacon and a creamy chowder-like broth ($26). And yes, they do offer a few non-mussel dishes (helpfully listed on their “Not Mussels” menu), and a good happy hour menu. Save room for dessert and try the key lime pie in a glass, a deep fried whoopee pie (sinful but delicious) or a selection from their donut “collection.”

Bacaro: The ambiance of this little Italian spot is pitch-perfect for a bachelorette party. A flight of stairs leads down to a wine cellar–like dining room lit by romantic candlelight. The location is a bit off the beaten path, tucked away in Chinatown, but a quick cab ride will bring you to the heart of nightlife just a few blocks north in the Lower East Side. They’re great with groups and the food is lovely and quite affordable—braised pork shank with polenta will run you $20 or try a whole wheat pasta with duck ragu for $17.

The Mermaid Inn: The perfect spot for the seafood-loving bachelorette, The Mermaid Inn feels like a New England home with a bit of New York City flair. A daily happy hour from 5-7pm offers $1 oysters, $7 specialty cocktails like a Mermaid Mary and a menu of delicious snacks, like shrimp corn dogs ($3) or fish tacos ($3.50). The dinner menu is a bit pricier, with entrees like linguini and clams running $24, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a seafood restaurant with this high quality at a lower price.

Burger and Barrel: The ambiance of this winepub is warm, urban chic, with dark wood booths, brick walls and low lighting. Entrees like duck lasagna or Southern fried chicken will set you back $20, but you can also easily make a meal for the table with their sharing plates, which include things like a kale Caesar salad, chicken lollipops with Asian BBQ sauce or rock shrimp hush puppies for around $14 each.

Momofuku Noodle Bar: OK, I cheated a little on this one. But Momofuku is a New York institution and a dining experience not to be missed. The restaurant is small and incredibly popular (for good reason), but reservations are not offered…unless you order the fried chicken. Yep, the only way to get a reservation is to order the Korean fried chicken dinner ($135, including a few sides, but no drinks or other dishes—those will cost extra). Since the meal will feed up to 8 people, the cost isn’t prohibitive, so I let this one slip onto the list. So sue me. It’s that good.

Unique Drinks

The Frying Pan: Set on a barge floating in the Hudson River (docked next to a historic ship that you can also drink aboard), The Frying Pan is the perfect place to spend a sunny summer afternoon. Order a bucket of cold Coronas and some Old Bay French fries and enjoy the sunshine and the breeze off the river.

The Met Rooftop: Want a rooftop bar without the a hefty price tag or bottle service? Or just a fun way to end your visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Grab a drink on the roof! Open during the summer, the roof features a sculpture installation plus stunning views of Central Park and midtown Manhattan. Sunset is the perfect time to visit.

Tequila Park: You like the name already, am I right? Located in a courtyard of the Hudson Hotel, Tequila Park looks like the coolest little Mexican eatery you’ve encountered. With ivy climbing the brick walls and plenty of inviting seating, this is the perfect place to kick back with a margarita and a few yummy and inventive tacos.

Yummy Treats

Momofuku Milk Bar: Oh man, this place. They do such crazy/wonderful things! Their inventive desserts remind you of childhood favorites but are totally grown up. Best known for their crack pie and compost cookies, which must be tried to be comprehended, they also mix up a mean frozen yogurt and naked cakes in unique flavors like cereal milk (way more yummy than it sounds). Not a sit-down joint, but pick up for a celebration in the hotel.

Dylan’s Candy Bar: Worth a stop for sheer color and sweetness overload. Dylan’s is the ultimate candy store, packed with every sweet treat imaginable, from nostalgic favorites to new creations. You can also hold private events here, making it a great location for a sweet-themed shower. Or stop in at the Candy Bar for a candy-themed cocktail, like a Pop Rocks Explosion made with vodka, melon liquor, lime and orange juices and, yes, Pop Rocks!

Sprinkles: Two words: Cupcake ATM. Worth it for the Instagram alone, am I right?

NYC Bachelorette Dining Guide

Win Custom Bachelorette Favors from Flhair Accessories!

flhair giveaway

Looking for the perfect custom favor to add to a bachelorette survival kit? Emma from Flhair Accessories and Ultimate Bridesmaid are giving away one set of 12 custom bachelorette favors from Flhair’s new collection. Adorable and handy, these would be the perfect party favor before a night out on the town—you know you’re gonna need to throw your hair up on the dance floor! The winner will be able to choose from four just debuted designs—an engagement ring, a diamond, lips or a cocktail glass—then select the perfect colored or patterned hair tie to match the bachelorette theme. Emma will create a custom tag with the bride’s name and the saying of your choice. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I particular love the “To Have and To Hold Your Hair Back” ones—too clever and cute. How do you enter? There’s seven ways below (each counts as its own entry, so share the love!). May the odds be ever in your (bachelorette) favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

flhair bachelorette giveawayTerms and conditions apply. The winner will be randomly selected using Rafflecopter. Valid for residents of the U.S. and Canada only. The winner may choose from the designs shown in the following links: Option 1, option 2, option 3, and option 4.

An Urban Chic Same-Sex Bridal Shower

I cannot tell you how long I’ve been looking for a same-sex bridal shower to feature here. I try to show all different kinds of parties and people, so finding a shower for two brides has been on my list for some time. So when this gorgeous styled shoot by Laura Dee Photography hit my inbox, I maybe freaked out a litttttle bit. Inspired by the idea that “Carrie Bradshaw fell in love with Charlotte York,” this shower is a dream come true of urban chic styling with pops of color and plenty of fun. Just check out the stylish ombre pink and purple hair, stunning jewelry from TheNOTCH, moonshine mixology bar by Onyx and the one-eyed pug named Tater Tot. But what really stopped me in my tracks? The stunning portraits of the couple sharing a few quiet moments together. So perfect and sweet.

In terms of the etiquette behind throwing a gay wedding shower, the “rules” are still very fluid  (i.e., who needs rules?). Many gay couples may choose to have a joint couples shower and may even celebrate their bachelorette party together. Others will want separate parties, especially if they have different groups of close friends or family in far-flung parts of the country. Follow the brides’ leads—they will discuss what they want and then share the plan with their bridesmaids and friends. 
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Photography: Laura Dee Photography | Stationery: AvantGarde Design | Dresses: Bliss BridalJulie Allen Bridals  | Makeup: The Beauty Bar | Jewelry: theNOTCH jewelry | Event coordination: ESTOccasions | Prop rentals: General Eclectic Rentals | Flowers: Datura: a Modern Garden | Cocktails: Onyx Moonshine | Cake: A Little Imagination Cakes

Our Favorite Etsy “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” Cards

It’s no secret that we spend a lot of time on Etsy. What’s not to love about a marketplace that promotes creative makers and artists? In addition to finding something beautiful and unique, you can feel good that you’re supporting a small business, many of which are female owned. Here, some of our favorite “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” cards recently spotted on Etsy.  
Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards

Don’t you just love a card that tells it like it is? The cute illustration and cheeky message on this card from Julie Ann Art will bring a smile to your future maids’ faces.

Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards

Add an element of surprise with this scratch-off card from Inklings Paperie. The metallic gold pops (excuse the pun) against the soft petal pink and the dainty illustration is so sweet.

Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards

We’ve become a little bit obsessed with gemstones as of late. (Have you seen our You’re a Gem party inspiration board? It’s perfect for a bridesmaid ask party.) So it’s no surprise we heart these gemstone-dotted cards from WildHeart Paper.

Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards

Allie Ruth Designs had been printing vintage hankies with “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” for awhile, but discovered that women had trouble incorporating the pretty linens into their everyday life with the bridesmaid message. Problem solved with this hand lettered kraft envelope containing a delicate heirloom handkerchief. Feel free to stuff in a few more surprises as well. Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards

Because honesty matters, we adore this card from Patterson Paper. Just don’t fall pretty to these overdone Pinterest-inspired bridesmaid poses!

Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Game: What’s in Your Cell Phone?

I have to admit that I’m totally guilty of spending way too much time on my cell phone. When I go on vacation, I intentionally “cell phone detox,” which means no email, no social media, no texting—and it’s awesome. That said, why not put all our obsessive Instagramming to good use? I’ve updated the traditional “What’s in your purse” bridal shower game for the smartphone generation. Ultimate Bridesmaid presents: What’s in Your Cell Phone?

bachelorette game whats in your cell phoneI’ve created two free printable games for you. One is appropriate for a bridal shower with mixed age groups (i.e., even your mom should be able to play). The second one is designed for a bachelorette party, with questions geared toward the younger crowd that include a few racier requests. I’ve also give you the full list of questions after the jump in case you want to select the questions that you like most and create your own printout.

Don’t just pass out the sheets and let people fill in their scores though. Have the host read each question aloud and then ask guests to share their answers when appropriate. Guests can use their sheet to record their score, but make sure you keep everyone engaged and talking. Share the photos you have to hunt down, make them admit if they have Candy Crush and find out who scores the highest on rounds that award multiple points.

Make sure to download the PDF versions from the links below for the best printing results:

Bridal Shower What’s in Your Cell Phone Game

Bachelorette What’s in Your Cell Phone Game

Bridal Shower What's in Your Cell Phone Game Bachelorette What's in Your Cell Phone Game

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Camping Bachelorette Inspiration Board

Inspired by this Hiking Hen Party in Andalusian Spain, I decided it was long past time to put together an inspiration board for one of my favorite bachelorette themes: camping (strangely almost always referred to as “glamping” in connection to a bachelorette party, no matter how glamorous or otherwise the accommodations). Whether you set out in a cool vintage trailer, pitch a tent or rent a rustic mountain cabin (like this renovated barn in upstate New York that I am seriously dying to stay in, hint hint friends and relatives), getting back to nature with your girlfriends is a relaxing escape from wedding planning and a time to recharge and reconnect. I’m slightly obsessed with this “coffee, mountains & cabins” sweatshirt (a perfect gift for the bride-to-be) and P.F. Candle Co.’s campfire-scented candle (send one home with each of your guests to remind them of your woodland retreat). Dress up the campfire area with these DIY floral camp chairs and a flower campfire mandala, and spend time cooking, sharing stories and secrets and stargazing around the fire. Find more ideas on our Camping Bachelorette Party Pinterest board. Camping Bachelorette Inspiration Board
From top to bottom, left to right: Cabin sweatshirt, vintage trailer, candle, breakfast, camp cooking, the barn, campfire drinks, mugs

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

We’re all familiar with the concept of “get the look for less.” Well, let’s call this “get the bachelorette for less.” Bachelorette expenses can add up quickly, so here are a few ways to keep costs down for everyone while still creating a memorable, kickass bachelorette party.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of hopping on a flight…
Pick a central location that’s drivable for most of your guests. The highest cost associated with a bachelorette party is usually the flight ticket. Choosing a location that is close to most of your guests will greatly help reduce costs for all. This may require you to do a little research and to think creatively to find alternatives to far-off locales that still offer the activities and vibe your bride is looking for. Instead of a getaway to Napa, look into nearby wineries—almost every state has them! Rather than booking a trip to Vegas, consider the nearest big city instead. From Charlotte to Nashville to Seattle, there’s plenty of fun bachelorette action to be had, without the Vegas price tag. Rather than a beachfront hotel in Miami, rent a lake house or choose a beach that’s closer to home (and more affordable). Keep an open mind and be creative. You may be glad you picked a less flashy destination when you find out how much the areas closest to you have to offer—and how much you’ll save.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of booking hotel rooms…
Host the guests at your house. The second highest expense for a bachelorette party is lodging. Hosting can be stressful but, if your group is cool with blow-up mattresses and crashing on the couch, it will ultimately save them a lot of money. If hosting isn’t an option as none of your guests live in the chosen destination, look at Airbnb and vrbo.com for vacation rental options. You’ll have more space in a home and will enjoy common areas like a living room and backyard. Plus, access to a kitchen will allow you to save money by eating in at least a few times. Just be sure to be mindful of hefty cleaning charges and refundable deposits and leave the place the way you found it.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of going out for a fancy dinner…
Cook a gourmet meal at home. Dining in can save you a ton of money. You can make a meal at home for a fraction of what it would cost in a restaurant. Just the savings on wine alone ($10 bottles at home rather than $25 bottles at a restaurant) will go a long way. Tasting Table has a few tips for planning a stress-free dinner party. The host can take care of the main dish while guests provide appetizers, dessert and drinks. Keep appetizers simple with a cheese board (who does not love cheese?), asking a few guests to bring cheese, crackers, bread, grapes, olives and/or cured meats. Assign other guests a bottle of wine or liquor (ask for a mid-priced option) and necessary mixers. For dessert, a store-bought cake or pie from a local bakery with a scoop of ice cream is all you need (or see our tips below to snaz up a grocery store cake).

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of splurging on a limo…
Plot a course for the night that is walkable and then take a taxi home. Renting transportation for the whole night can end up being a big waste of money if very little of your time will be spent in that expensive party bus or limo. If you’re planning to go to multiple bars or clubs, try to pick destinations that are close together so your group can just mosey from one place to the next. Then just have a local taxi company’s number in your phone or your Uber app ready when it comes time to call it a night.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of mailing printed invitations…
Send stylish (and free) evites from Paperless Post. These digital cards are as pretty as printed stationery, even arriving in your inbox with a custom envelope that unfolds to reveal the invitation. Paperless Post collaborates with lots of stylish designers as well, like Kate Spade, Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler and J.Crew.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of going overboard on decor…
Harness the talents of your guests and utilize what you have. Make flower arrangements by gathering blooms from a guest’s garden. A lacy tablecloth can become a photo booth backdrop. Wheel a bar cart outside and—boom!—you’ve got a sense of whimsy. Set the table with mismatched vintage dishes borrowed from friends and relatives. Make the cute bunting banner you see above in minutes.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of starting the night at a fancy cocktail bar…
Host a cocktail hour in your hotel or home. At $8–$12 a pop (depending on where you live), cocktails can add up quickly. Having a few drinks in your home or hotel room before you go out will greatly decrease the cost of liquor throughout the night. Create a specialty cocktail for the bride and ask around to see if anyone collects pretty glassware. Or, break out the paint pens to dress up inexpensive plastic cocktail glasses (time to channel your inner sorority sister, girls). You can also use this time to play a few bachelorette party games, like the Fiancé Quiz or a game of Most Likely To. You probably don’t want to be asking the bride what her favorite sex position is in a crowded bar or loudly declaring who is most likely to hook up with someone tonight as that potential hookup looks on.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of ordering a fancy custom cake…
Dress up a store-bought cake with a few easy tweaks. Dip a knife in warm water and then run it over the frosting to replace the grocery store look with a more rustic, hand-done finish. Then decorate with whatever you have on hand: herbs like rosemary, fruit like lemons or grapefruit slices, flowers, edible glitter, or a big pile of candy.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of buying an expensive shower gift…
Team up with a friend or two to create a wine basket for her first year of marriage. If you don’t buy a lot of wine, here’s a little secret: Good wine does not have to be expensive. My favorite section at my local wine store is entitled “Cheap and Delicious” and the wines are just that. Trader Joe’s wine shop is a discount wine dream or take a look at wine.com for highly rated but low-priced wines.

Photo credits, top to bottom: Sorella Muse Photography, Dyanna Joy Photography, Cameron Leung Photography, Tiltawhirl Photography, Paperless Post, Maru Photography, Sweet Root Village, Mintwood Photo Co., Ultimate Bridesmaid