If you’re searching for the perfect place to celebrate your birthday in NYC, whether you’re looking for a more low-key vibe or full on party, we’ve got you covered.
Maybe I’m biased because I have spent every birthday I’ve had since moving to Manhattan here, but ask anyone who knows it and they will likely echo my obsession.
The food is Just. That. Good. Pan-Latin classics like the Ropa Vieja and Plantains with Cojita cheese are staples of this menu, and though they don’t take reservations, it is well worth the wait. However, it might be better for a more intimate gathering rather than your big shebang B-Day meal. Open 24 hours and delivering until 2 a.m., this place will really check every box. Oh, and don’t forget to try their delicious cocktails. My favorite is the Gran Paloma — it’s the only tequila drink I can stomach!
Location: 207 W. 14th St. in Greenwich Village, Manhattan
This tapas-style Cuban restaurant is not only remarkably tasty, but it also has a perfect group-dining option. For $50 a head, you get four tapas per person and two hours of open bar (yes you heard that right). Try some of its best tapas and its famous mojitos, sangria, and beer and wine. We know it sounds like a lot for a little, but trust me, the one year we tried it, we had to ask them to not bring out the last round of tapas. It’s a feast for the ages.
Location: 324 Bowery St. in NoHo, Manhattan
Another excellent option for group dining is Zengo. Although it’s in a somewhat strange location, the food is absolutely out of this world, and will leave you utterly stuffed. We recommend trying this for a birthday brunch — $42 per person will feed you all the goodies, from the Korean fried chicken to the pork arepas to blood orange mimosas… Oh, and another plus! There are plenty of gluten-free and vegan options, as well. Your stomach and your friends will be thanking you.
Location: 622 3rd Ave. in midtown, Manhattan
4. The Delancey
Okay, so, clearly we have an obsession with good food for our birthday celebrations, but a fun option for a night out is The Delancey. It’s of the few places in Manhattan to grant reservations without table services or minimum purchase and has an upstairs and a downstairs with very distinct vibes. Down below feels like a standard clubby New York spot, and upstairs is a rather vibey lounge-type place with palm fronds adorning the walls and lovely views of the Williamsburg Bridge — if you can snag the corner table, that is. Definitely call ahead and make your reservation, and any guests arriving before 11 p.m. are guaranteed entry no matter what (though we’ve never had a problem after 11 p.m., either).
Location: 168 Delancey St. in Lower East Side, Manhattan
5. Beauty & Essex
Hidden behind their (rather fascinating) pawn shop, this is a spot that mixes feasting and partying incredibly well, and has a few different options. For a low-key, delicious BDay meal, just make a standard reservation — brunch, lunch and dinner are all delectable. If you want to boogie while you brunch, Saturday and Sundays feature a rather rowdy afternoon option for that. If you really want to go all out, the Pearl Room is available for rent, with customizable menus and cocktail lists available to fit all your wants and needs. This place is a little pricey, but if you have budget, it really is an excellent option.
Location: 146 Essex St. in Lower East Side, Manhattan