|Subject: Re: New York eats|
With places often charging between $10 - $18 for a martini and between $8. - $12. for a glass of wine, I don't know if it's necessarily a cheaper alternative to dinner. Sure, there are places where drinks are less, but then, one can dine inexpensively, too.
The New York drinking scene and alcohol consumption has been way up since 9/11. I think that 9/11 had an impact on the social scene of the city and people are not waiting for a formal get together to be with friends. Additionally, with high real estate prices and the new, young first jobbers often living in other parts of the city, like Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding suburbs, it's often easier to get together after work for a few hours for drinks before heading home. You can order a drink and stay or 15 minutes or 2 hours, it's your choice. People dining around a table doesn't offer that flexibility.
Also, now that many restaurants have bar menu's or will let you order from the regular menu while sitting at the bar, there's again more flexibilty if one person wants to eat while the other doesn't.
Honestly, I don't think it's changed all that much. NY has been a drinking town for hundreds of years and this year has seen the opening of more new restaurants than in a long time. The hot restaurants still require a reservation, often a week or more in advance or even a month for the really 'in' spots. So, someone's eating out!
I'll be visiting Spain for the first time this summer so I can't compare it to the tapas bars. But I've been to the bars in South America - Buenos Aires, Rio, - and if Spain is more like SA than NY, then it'll be much more mellow than the NY scene.....especially the places listed in the NYTimes article.
Some of the places mentioned like Citerella and Blue Fin attract more tourists than locals, or they attract suburbanites that work in the area. Dos Camino's is very popular and any place that serves big margarita's and free chips will always attract a lively crowd, besides, Park Ave South is a hot area filled with tons of new bars and restaurants. It's easy to walk in and out of many. I've not yet been to Salt Bar or Verlaine so no comment on them. Amuse in Chelsea is popular, but then many places in Chelsea are.