“Where Can I Be Sexy And Eat Fries By Myself?”

In this edition of our restaurant advice column Dear Hannah, we’re talking marble bars, martinis, and solo dining.
“Where Can I Be Sexy And Eat Fries By Myself?” image

photo credit: Emily Schindler

Dear Hannah: A Restaurant Advice Column image

NYC Feature

Dear Hannah: A Restaurant Advice Column

Dear Hannah,

I’m an introvert who resents the culture of needing to go out with others to have a lovely evening. I also have a closet full of beautiful evening gowns and dresses that I never have an occasion to wear. Where can I go to dress up, be sexy, have a cocktail, and maybe a plate of fries by myself?


All By My Lonesome

Hi All By My Lonesome,

Your question reads like a lost fragment of a Myers-Briggs test result that got washed into my inbox. I want to thank you for sharing a window into your staggering soul. (I’m guessing you’re an ISFP?)

When it comes to certain nights out, even as an extrovert, I agree that bringing other people is a severely overrated gesture. Imagine if you did invite a friend to dinner, and their outfit undermined your evening gown? Imagine looking less bewildering by contrast to the person sitting next to you, who dares to clog up all the sexy vibes? Imagine having to talk about domestic mundanities despite the fact that you simply want to swirl your martini and make prolonged eye contact with a 23-year-old waiter named Armond? In my head, I’m picturing one of your dresses to be emerald-colored and made of silk. And Armond definitely wants to f*ck.

The Solo Spots

photo credit: Emily Schindler



$$$$Perfect For:Eating At The BarPrivate DiningSpecial OccasionsFine Dining


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The restaurant that came screeching out of my frontal lobe is Gramercy Tavern. It’s fancy in the sense that rich people love it here, but not so fancy that you can’t feast on liquor and duck fat potato chips. Not to mention their tavern area is cemented as one of the all-time greatest bars for a solo dinner. If you’re hoping to make a reservation (recommended but certainly not required since they accept walk-ins and you’ll be just taking up one measly chair), specify the tavern area, not the main dining room where they only serve a five-course tasting menu. In the tavern, you’ll have agency to peruse an a la carte menu of sub-$35 dishes. Your dream of snacking on fries sounds nice, but take my word that the burger will be better. With a thick patty, smoky bacon, melted cheddar, and smoked onion aioli, eating this burger by yourself might be the most solo fun you can legally have above 14th Street.

If Gramercy Tavern is fancy in the sense that rich people love it, Bemelmans Bar is fancy in the sense that rich people with old money who occasionally wear mink love it. (Plus, Bill Murray’s been known to show up, too.) The iconic Upper East Side bar is located in the Carlyle Hotel, where there’s a pianist who plays from 6-10pm every night. While you’re at Bemelmans in your evening wear, the thing to drink will forever be a martini. Not only because each one comes with a sidecar, but because everyone in the room without a gin or vodka allergy will be drinking one, too. While Bemelmans does technically serve delicious fries, try a handful of the complimentary snack mix and see if that ends your search for something salty.

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightFirst/Early in the Game Dates

Mimi in Greenwich Village feels sexier than it does formal - not unlike a proper one-night stand or John F. Kennedy. The lights are barely on, the dining room only fits 20-ish people, and the handwritten menu changes almost every day. I used to come here with an ex for birthdays and anniversaries. Even though we’ve since broken up, I have chosen to partially numb those memories to keep Mimi in my dining rotation. For your own purposes, sit at the small marble bar up front where you can drink an excellent Negroni or French 75, and decidedly not talk to anyone else. Although you probably won’t find fries on the menu, since the French-leaning dishes rarely resemble classic brasserie food, there are usually snacks available like oysters or crudo.

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