Thursday, January 24, 2008

Meet Up

Due to the fact that Allison and I have very few friends in Astoria, I decided to join an online networking community called "Meet Up". Outside of work it's extremely difficult to make new friends. In school you're constantly meeting new people whether it be in your classes, in clubs, at social events, apartment/dorm neighbors, etc. But this is no longer the case once you are thrust into the "real world". So sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. Hence my piqued interest in "Meet Up".

Now before you go judging me, let me explain how it works. Basically this site is a venue for people to join social networks based on common interests or neighborhoods. You can browse through tons of groups ranging from politics to skiiing and so forth. Each group has a host and that host plans events for the group to attend. For instance, I am part of the Astoria Social Group. The group leader has planned multiple "meet ups" including dinner and drinks and a bar crawl. Anyone can join these groups but the group leader has the choice to be selective at the same time. My group is only open to young professionals ranging from mid-twenties to mid-thirties living in Astoria. After reading the description I thought, 'why not?'.

Since joining Allison and I have attended 2 "meet ups". They've been great events because (1) we're checking out new places in the neighborhood and (2) we're meeting new people. But there is down side to all this seemingly perfect match. After attending our first event, dinner and drinks at Indigo (which was delish by the way), we noticed that everyone in attendance was at least 8 years older than us, ie: in their 30s. Don't get me wrong -- I don't have anything against the 30 years but those lovely individuals residing in their 30s are not usually included in my inner circle of friends. We're often just at really different places in our lives and I'm sure they see Allison and I as "kids". It's been great chatting with everyone but our initial intent of making good friends in our neighborhood might not be going as planned.

Last weekend we participated in the bar crawl which, of course, took place on one of the coldest nights thus far. I'm pretty sure it was in the teens with a wind chill in the single digits. Lovely. Allison and I braved the cold for 3 of the 4 scheduled stops.

The first was Rapture Lounge. I'm not sure why they went with the name 'rapture' but they got the 'lounge' part right. It was a pretty cool place with some comfy couches and pillows. It seemed like it could easily double as a hookah lounge -- it was that type of place with lots of cool lamps and lights included. Their prices were reasonable ($7 for White Zin) and have a decent food menu which serves until 4 AM! I was impressed.

The second stop was my favorite. It's called Bar 36. I had actually passed by it before and thought it was worth a stop inside sometime. It reminded me a lot of 101 Downtown in Gainesville, also one of my favorites. The price menu was almost identical to 101, which easily rival Manhattan prices. $10 for a champagne drink which the bartender whipped up for me. They served food here as well but, of course, a much more delicate list of options with matching price tags. Honestly, just the atmosphere in there alone was enough to make me fall in love.

I found this picture so you can get an idea of what it looks like inside. Apparently they shot a few scenes here as well for the new "Sex and the City" movie.

The last stop that we made it to was Brick Cafe. From the outside, it looks like an Italian restaurant but inside was a different story. Lots of exposed bricks, a bar area, and a separate dining area. It wasn't very large in size but they used their space well. It even had a small stage area although at the time it was being used to host tables. This place served food as well of course but it felt more like Greek snacks than anything else. But I guess that's what you'll most commonly find here in Astoria!

All in all we had a great time, met some more nice people, and got to check out a little bit more of our "new" neighborhood.

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