Hill Country is a good spot to know about because it works for just about any situation, assuming it’s a situation when you’re looking to eat dry-rubbed, slow-smoked meat off of butcher paper. The upstairs at this massive spot in Flatiron has outdoor, bar, and communal seating, all with a direct view of at least one TV playing sports. It works for casual group dinners or drinks and a bite after-work, when there are $6 well drinks and shot-and-beer combos during Happy Happy (4-7pm and 10pm-close). There’s also an equally large downstairs with a stage for live music. No matter who you come with or where you sit, you order food at a counter upstairs, where meats are sold by the pound and sides change daily. There’s a pitmaster special - brisket, pork ribs, chicken, sausage, and two sides for $32 - but we recommend focusing your attention and stomach space on the peppery ribs and spicy sausage, which, along with the cornbread, are the best things here.
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I once saw a man at Shake Shack, dressed in a suit and setting a formal table. On the small metal table he placed a white tablecloth, fine silverware, a candle, and some flowers. For a moment, I was overcome with joy at the beautiful event that was about to unfold before me...this man was about to propose to a burger.
The Flatiron location of this Spanish tapas chain has a casual space that’s good for groups.
Gramercy Tavern is an incredible restaurant. But you already know that. The bar is the move you want to make here, and you want to make it often.
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The Uptown Garrison
The Uptown Garrison is an all-day spot in Washington Heights that works for coffee at 8am or cocktails and bar food at midnight.
Fedora is in the basement of a townhouse in the West Village, and it feels like a dinner party in a speakeasy that your friends happen to own.
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John Brown Smokehouse
While we enjoyed our time with John Brown Smokehouse, we didn’t quite go crazy over the BBQ the way others have. Though if you and your crew appreciate trays full of BBQ and massive bootfuls of beer, John Brown should be on the radar.
Holy Ground is a below-ground Tribeca spot that looks like an old-school steakhouse, but actually specializes in slow smoked meats.
A long time Infatuation favorite. Blue Smoke is still serving some of the best BBQ you can find in NYC.
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