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Where Should I Take a Large Group in Manhattan?

Photo: Elizabeth Raab

If there’s one thing Katie Longmyer is good at, it’s herding large groups of people. At one point in her long and illustrious career as an “experiential creative producer,” she owned Brooklyn bar the Yard and launched the city’s first food-truck festival, Parked. She currently co-owns and serves as creative director of both the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival and the invite-only Select Summer Fridays party at Le Bain. And on top of all that she leads the experiential team at Steve Stoute’s Translation and runs her own enterprise, Good Peoples, which once required her to plan a wedding taking place on an M14 bus.

“I am surrounded by large groups of people at all times and usually we need to be going somewhere,” says Longmyer. “A lot of that time we are either entertaining each other or a client, we are celebrating, or we are communicating a purpose.” And a lot of that takes place over long, winding dinners at places that can accommodate six people or more. So, Grub asked Longmyer to share her favorite places for a group hang in Manhattan. Here’s what she recommends.

The Standard Grill
848 Washington St., nr. 13th St.; 212-645-4100

“It is one of my favorite restaurants in all of New York. They have one of the best classic American menus that I have had. Also it is absolutely humongous, like, I have rolled up there ten-people deep before. You might have to wait, but the beauty of waiting is that there is the Standard Beer Garden next door, there is the patio bar, and then there is the small bar inside. So even when you are waiting you don’t have to go anywhere, you can just stay in the infrastructure of the hotel. And it is also affordable, which makes it approachable for people who want to go to a dinner, but don’t want to spend a bazillion dollars.”

The Creative Edge Tasting Room
110 Barrow St., nr. Washington St.; 212-741-3000

“One of the things I always tell people when they’re entertaining is to think nontraditionally. So Creative Edge is a catering company. People think that with catering companies there’s a price barrier for entry and that it’s something you would only do for a wedding or something super premium. But Creative Edge actually has a tasting room that seats anywhere from two people or — I think I had a 22-person dinner in there. And the best part is their chef will cater to your desire so when I had my birthday party there, the menu was a curation of all of my favorite foods and colors, and I got to collaborate with them. Best part: Depending on your price point, they can be flexible, so they can adjust the food ingredients that they’re working with. They’re kind of the best in the game.”

The Garret East
206 Ave. A, nr. E. 13th St.; no phone

“They have a bar in the front with really amazing cocktails and there are some booths. And there’s kind of a living-room vibe toward the back of the bar, so it’s really easy if you get there early enough to post up with a squad. And then in the back is a little taco restaurant. So, if some people are hungry and some people who are not, or you want to eat, but you don’t want to post up at the restaurant, that’s a good way to sort of split it up.”

The Wayland
700 E. 9th St., at Ave. C; 212-777-7022

“The Wayland is really great because they have, in my opinion, some of the best cocktails on the far east, downtown side of New York, that are really accessible. And they have a full menu that they serve all night. I travel a lot, and I’ll get off a plane from L.A. at like, 9:45 and get home by 11 and all I want is to see my best friend and have a good cocktail and tell stories, and she’ll meet me there. And we’ll have a late dinner and a cocktail, and I get everything I need. They have live jazz music sometimes and really long tables, so you can roll with large groups there, too.”

Tokyo Record Bar
127 Macdougal St., nr. W. 3rd St.; 212-420-4777

“This one’s one of my more exclusive. It’s modeled after underground vinyl record bars in Japan and they do two seatings of 18 people a day for a $50 seven-course izakaya dinner. (They’re not celiac friendly, so heads up to the celiacs of the world.) It’s really unique experience so if you plan ahead and you can get in, a group of people will have a really special time there.”

End of Freeman Alley, nr. Rivington St.; 212-420-0012

“To get here, you walk down the alley and for people who are new to New York they’re like, ‘Wait, what the hell is happening?’ Along the alley, there’s some galleries and it feels like you just turned around a really quick corner and all of a sudden you’re in a weird place and at the end of it is this like, very classic spot with cocktails. They have a really large group dining room that actually is very, very easy to book — I’ve like booked it the same day and another time I walked in and they just didn’t happen to have someone booked and they set up a large table for us. They have all kind of décor and nooks and crannies and classic elements that make it really really unique. The aesthetic there is truly special.”

Where Should I Take a Large Group in Manhattan?