Doing anything in New York with more than four people can be a pain in the ass. Going to a nightclub? That’ll be a two-bottle minimum, pleaseandthankyou. Dinner with a large group? Weeks of advance notice, credit card to hold the reservation, per-person minimums and a prix-fixe menu (which eliminates any of the items that led you to choose the restaurant in the first place). We generally dodge these situations and opt for going out with small bunches of very cool people who like very cool places. But, once a year, we’re willing to make an exception—on our birthday!
For all the reasons listed above, birthday parties are also a pain in the ass. You’re stuck at a restaurant you barely like/have never heard of. You over-order booze because you showed up late and have the fortune to sit next to someone so terrible that the only remarkable part about them is how they’re completely oblivious to it. So, in an attempt to avoid financial and social hardships this year, I decided to forgo the birthday dinner, and go for a more family-friendly locale. After much consideration, I settled on the most American tradition of all time…Hooters. Sure, it’s in mid-town Manhattan, a far cry from where kids my age spend their valuable non-working weekend hours, but there are wings, an unlimited supply of beer and an absolute abundance of cleavage on display. How can you really take issue with an institution whose slogan is “Delightfully Tacky, Yet Unrefined”?
Not convinced yet? This weekend, they also allowed moderately-inebriated twenty-somethings to bash a piñata right around the dinner rush. They even participated. It was just like the parties that my parents would begrudgingly host for me as a child at Chuck E. Cheese, Discovery Zone, the local arcade, etc. But this time with media moguls, aspiring fashion frontrunners and très sérieux financiers in attendance. And orange hot pants. By the end of the evening, I came to realize that tater tots with melted cheese, bacon and sour cream could make any party a real party.
Other low-maintenance New York hearty party ideas: I have a friend who’s hosting an event at Dave and Busters next weekend (never a dull moment there), and there’s been talk of having cocktail parties at the Olive Garden (hors d’oeuvres you just can’t say no to). TGI Fridays in Times Square has the “it’s always Friday” mentality, good for celebrating. And you’d have to have the stone cold heart of a terrorist to turn down an invite to a Cowboys and Indians party at Brother Jimmy’s.