So, you're headed to the Romance Writers of America conference next week in the heart of New York City's Times Square. Yes, yes, it's for professional networking and improvement and bonding with your peers...but let's get real: 2500 romance writers in one spot means at least 2000 women who need to wet their whistle! As a season whistle-wetter and 11-year resident of the Big Apple, let me suggest a few places near the Marriott Marquis Hotel where you can let your hair down and say, "Bottoms up!"
1. Bourbon Street Bar & Grille. (346 W. 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Ave) Yes, I'm suggesting a NOLA-themed bar for while you're in New York. Because I am just that perverse. Bourbon Street is a huge space with Southern-inspired dishes and Southern cocktails. Hurricanes, Abita beer, gator sausage...let those good times roll! Bonus? It's on Hell's Kitchen's "Restaurant Row," where you will find a slew of prix fixe restaurants just rarin' to nab the pre-theater crowd.
2. Gossip. (733 9th Avenue) A standard pub with a great interior, not-so standard bar bites (the appetizers really are tasty!), and Happy Hour from 4-7 Monday-Thursday.
3. Deacon Brodie's. (370 W. 46th Street, closer to 9th Ave) Dive, dive, dive! This Scottish bar no longer features my two favorite accent-y bartenders, but it DOES have a ton of whiskey, bourbon and cheap cocktails. If you want a slice of no-frills, hometown dive bar in the middle of NYC, this is the place to go. They don't have a kitchen, but they will let you order food to the bar or bring stuff in from outside.
4. The Chelsea Grill. (675 9th Avenue) Not only do they have a great Happy Hour, but you will not find a better deal for good burgers in the area. I also really love their cavatelli and their pork chop. Confession: I used to go there all the time and sang karaoke every week at their original outpost in Chelsea. If you see a manager/owner type guy named James, tell him "Mala says hi!"
5. Riposo 46 (667 9th Avenue) Just up the block from the Chelsea Grill is their sister bar, a beautiful little wine bar and bistro that serves flat breads, luscious desserts and a metric ton of good wine. I know many of y'all are winos. Don't deny it. Just go here and indulge.
6. The Beer Authority (300 W. 40th Street, at 8th Avenue) It's just what it sounds like: a place for beer. The food is decent -- standard American fare -- but it's the beer list you want to go for. See also...
7. House of Brews (two locations: 302 W. 51st Street, 363 W. 46th Street), A great place to sneak out for lunch during the conference week, as they have $10 lunch specials till 4PM. You can also get these ridiculous beer tower thingies. I've never had one, but I think it has a tap. And they bring it to your table. And it's a lot of beer.
8. Chevy's (259 W. 42nd Street) I know, it's a nationwide chain. I'm not suggesting you eat here. What I am suggesting is that you go here for their $5.99 margaritas and daiquiris during Happy Hour. From 2PM to 8PM every day, you can get drinks as big as your head and a free basket of chips and salsa. Possibly the best bang for your buck in the area. I am just looking out for your wallet.
Go forth and imbibe with my blessing, my fellow romance writers.
This list would not have been possible without the help of Elizabeth Kerri Mahon's liver. You can also check out my gal Julia Kelly's list. Isn't it amazing that we managed to rattle off completely different places in roughly the same area? Welcome to the glory that is New York.