We were meeting up with old friends last Friday for the first time in many months. Two of us were leaving work early on Friday, around 2 or 3 PM, and we wanted to meet somewhere for a late lunch and, if we could, extend the meal into the evening when our other friends could join us.
It just didn't seem like there was a solution until we hit on the Church Lounge in the Grand Hotel in Tribeca. We noted in Open Table that lunch runs until 5 PM at which time dinner starts, so there is no closed time between lunch and dinner, an important factor for what we wanted to do. And we thought that us lingering for an afternoon over some wine and food would be far more acceptable in a hotel setting than in a traditional restaurant.
What a great choice!! My friend and I met about 3 PM, ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir, some sparkling water and a cheese platter, and we sat, happily conversing until almost 6 PM, when our other friends showed up. We still had half the cheese platter in front of us, and we were just finishing the Pinot. The staff was laid back and quite accommodating, never made us feel anything except totally at home. When our friends arrived we all decided to stay and continue to nosh and sip wine.
We all liked the dramatic space very much, and the seats were comfortable, although the tables were small enough that it was challenging to find room for food and beverage. Besides the cheese platter we had the pita bread dipping platter and an assortment of grilled meats on skewers. There wasn't anything really outstanding about the food, but it really fit the bill for us, allowing us to nibble at our leisure with a minimum of service interruptions.
The one sour note was that as the place started to get crowded, around 6:30 or so, they began playing loud rock, which effectively drowned out the conversation. Fortunately, after about an hour they turned it down to much more tolerable levels. Even at its most crowded there were still tables available, so we never felt like we were overstaying our visit.
All in all it was a great experience and it really answered a need for a particular type of New York afternoon. We all enjoyed it so much that we're gonna do it again.
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