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This week on Ask the Critic: a "manly" bachelor party on a budget.
Good Steak, Good Whisky
I'm helping to plan my friend's bachelor party and I was wondering if you could help me out. My friend requested spending a fun day or night in the city doing 'manly' activities, but no strippers or stip clubs. We thought the outing could include good steak and good whisky, but it can't be too expensive because all of us are on a pretty tight budget. Any suggestions? Or any other ideas?
Good steak and whisky: easy. Good steak and whisky on a budget: pretty tough. There's no way you'll escape Keen's, say, after a night of Porterhouse and Macallan 18, without a bill well into the triple digits, each.
So head over to Williamsburg and dine at St. Anselm. The caveat, because of course there will be a caveat when you're looking for the impossible: they don't take reservations. But since you stipulated "fun day or night," start the festivities off early. Post up at Spuyten Duyvil, the adjacent beer bar from the same owners. Enjoy the end of a summer afternoon over a few pints in their spacious backyard. Then walk a few paces to St. Anselm, as soon as they open, and get yourself their biggest table, an eight-top. Why? The $15 butcher steak, for one. The unbelievably good lamb saddle, for another. An ax handle ribeye, if you're really into the meat. And the fact that you can eat like a gluttonous viking without the sticker shock such eating usually entails. From there, it's a short stroll down to Post Office, which will do you right as an American whiskey bar whether you're in for a $5 pour of Old Overholt or something a little pricier.
Alternate ideas: Prime Meats, then whiskey at Char No. 4; or Resto, then Blue Smoke for bourbon or the Flatiron Lounge for any brown spirit (the latter will be a little more buttoned-up); or Minetta Tavern, then Highlands for Scotch. All of the above restaurants do take reservations. But all will be pricier. St. Anselm has the value going for it, the laid-back feel, and leaves you perfectly positioned for bar-hopping—and the late-night eats that inevitably ensue after bar-hopping. And generally more affordable mischief than Manhattan.
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