"The criteria is age appropriateness. We're focusing on that for now, and trying not to be too judgmental when it comes to, say, unclean bathrooms or unattractive customers."
What do you get when two 35-year-old friends, both named Sara(h), are frustrated with the young crowds taking over New York bars on Saturday nights? A blog called 35 Saturdays and the Age Appropriate Bar Project. Sara and Sarah are on a mission to find bars where they can spend a Saturday night without feeling like an unwanted guest at a frat party. Sara answered our questions on behalf of the dynamic duo.
Name: Sara & Sarah
Location: Manhattan (Sara) and Brooklyn (Sarah)
Occupation: Print/web writer (Sara) and national magazine editor (Sarah)
How did you two meet? We more or less dated the same guy some 15 years ago, not at the same time, and he inadvertently introduced us by never having time for more than one dinner whenever he came to New York City.
What inspired you to start 35 Saturdays and the Age Appropriate Bar Project? We were invited to a same-aged friend's boyfriend's birthday party at Pravda on a Saturday night. Pre-party, we sought a place where we were not the oldest people at the bar. We failed. So we went early to the party to mingle with peers, but couldn't find them. Turns out the boyfriend was turning 26. We knew immediately that Age Appropriate research needed to begin.
What is it about Saturday nights that are different from other nights out? Showers. Weeknights are an extension of your day--generally you don't shower and re-dress before going out. Sundays you don't shower at all. But Saturdays you shower, you straighten your hair, maybe you even shave. Saturdays are about effort. We're trying to lessen the amount of effort required to go out on a Saturday.
Tell us a little about the project guidelines and how you came up with them. We're the kind of people who benefit from the effects of alcohol, which is to say, we quite easily relax and get comfortable. Rule #4 is to keep us moving, and Rule #1 is so we can move the next day. Rule #2 is so we don't have to move out of our apartments. Rule #3 inspires us to mingle, and that's what the project is all about. Plus, it's a mini goal, and we get excited when we achieve it.
What are the qualities in a bar that make you include it as one of your best? The criteria is age appropriateness. We're focusing on that for now, and trying not to be too judgmental when it comes to, say, unclean bathrooms or unattractive customers.
Do you have a favorite of all the bars you've visited so far? Anotheroom in Tribeca is a current forerunner. But we also have a thing for dives. We like Joe's in the East Village, and, as we said in a recent post, Milady's in Soho could easily become our Cheers if we don't watch it (See: Bylaws).
Have either of you gotten a date from one of your blog excursions? Is that part of the goal? Or is it just about finding good bars to enjoy overall? The main goal is to identify bars where someone 30+ can walk in and not feel old. Feeling old is antithetical to relaxing. Getting dates, or attention, from age appropriate men is a bonus. So far there have been two kisses and one close call with a near-minor.
Best pizza in the city? A recent ramps and pancetta pie at Accademia di Vino won't soon be forgotten.
Best late-night eats? We generally eat along the way, but a bowl of soup noodles in Chinatown or Little Korea is a great way to end the night.
Guilty Pleasure? Connecting guilt and food is not for us.
Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours? My friend Patrick Allen is one.
What is the best recommendation he's given you? La Sirene where we celebrated Pat's birthday, and returned for my birthday (and took that lovely photo you see here). Memorable night because we convinced a fish-hating age appropriate friend to have escargot and she loved it.