Best bars and restaurants for large groups

Roll deep at these spacious eateries.

Amy Ruth's
If your relatives won't cross 110th Street, it's time for a re-education. Amid the upscale boutiques and wine bars, this perpetually packed classic is the place for soul food (and although it doesn't take reservations, the management assures us the wait for large parties is usually less than half an hour). Delicately fried okra is delivered without a hint of slime, and the mac and cheese is gooey inside and crunchy-brown on top. Entrees take their names from notable African-Americans; be patriotic and vote for the President Barack Obama (fried, smothered, baked or barbecued chicken). 113 W 116th St between Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave) and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (Seventh Ave) (212-280-8779,

Bar Artisanal
The menu is nearly as vast as the hangar-like Art Nouveau dining room of Terrance Brennan's budget brasserie. Here, as at his popular Flatiron bistro Artisanal, cheese figures prominently—turophiles will want to check out the full-service fromage counter—but there are options to appeal to the most diverse gathering: bistro standards like an exceptional steak tartare, high-end junk food like burgers and pizza, and two sizes of fondue—grande serves up to six. 2 Park Ave at 32nd St (212-725-8585,

The industrial Dumbo space is huge, but the kid-friendly spot still gets packed to capacity for no-reservations weekend brunch. (The entire place is sometimes taken over for private functions, so be sure to call ahead or check the website.) The Manhattan-skyline views from its enormous windows are as crowd-pleasing as the comfort-food grub such as stacks of sour cream pancakes served with fruit; mac and cheese; burgers; and, for dessert, generous wedges of house-made pies. 1 Main St at Water St, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-222-0666)

Buddakan's opulent East-West dcor is so dazzling it makes any get-together feel like a special occasion, and there's no shortage of elbow room in the 16,000-square-foot theme park of a space with its European tapestries and soaring, chandelier-lit main dining room. Despite the haute surroundings, the prices for the contemporary Chinese fare—dumplings filled with edamame paste in a shallot and sauternes broth, or lobster fried rice, for example—won't give you indigestion. 75 Ninth Ave between 15th and 16th Sts (212-989-6699)

5 Napkin Burger
With glossy tiled walls and light fixtures dangling from the ceiling, this casual yet stylish joint appeals to families, friends and after-work revelers alike. The menu is broader than the name suggests, spanning sushi, substantial meal-size salads and an eclectic selection of entrees, but our advice is to stick to what the place does best: The namesake burger is a delicious 10oz handful topped with sweet caramelized onions, Comt cheese and herb-infused aioli and served with superb fries. 630 Ninth Ave at 45th St (212-757-2277,

Like the Italian originals that inspired it, 'inoteca has casual conviviality nailed. Parties of six or more can reserve a table in the busy upstairs wine bar or the cozy basement wine cellar. Opt for shareable nibbles—the truffled-egg toast is the signature dish—and antipasti paired with a bottle from the list of small-producer Italian wines, or choose one of several set party menus. 98 Rivington St at Ludlow St (212-614-0473,

Jing Fong
This football-field-size dim sum emporium is best appreciated en masse. Come with a crowd and you can sample a wide range of delicacies like egg tarts, roasted pork buns and shrimp dumplings and end up paying about $15 a head. 20 Elizabeth St between Bowery and Canal St, 212-964-5256

Fette Sau
Communal picnic tables and gallon-size glass jugs of beer foster a casual party vibe at this cavernous former auto body shop. It ain't called "Fat Pig" for nothing: Load up on glistening cuts of beef and pork sold by the pound at the deli-style 'cue station, then mosey over to the bar to choose your poison—connoisseurs of the hard stuff will appreciate the 200-plus bourbon list. 354 Metropolitan Ave between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-3404)

Studio Square
This sleek, 18,000-square-foot imbibing compound has more than enough room for you and a thousand of your friends. The grand cobblestoned courtyard, lined with communal picnic tables, has three mod fire pits to keep you toasty (an enclosed deck is planned for winter) and there's space for 500 in the indoor bar. The party-hearty ambience is fueled by DJs, live bands and one of the city's best tap selections—the 18-strong list includes European classics (Pilsner Urquell, lemony Weihenstephaner wheat beer) and American microbrews (Captain Lawrence's refreshing Sunblock, Bear Republic's piney Racer Five). 35-33 36th St between 35th and 36th Aves, Long Island City, Queens (718-383-1001,

The West Branch
Part bistro, part gastropub, part trattoria, chef Tom Valenti's sprawling sequel to Ouest has every type of diner covered, from 12-year-old critics and sauce-on-the-side Sallys to armchair Bourdains. It may have all the trappings of an upscale chain eatery (pre-tarnished mirrors, wraparound banquettes), but a diverse mix of well-executed dishes mingles on the menu. You might find silky steak tartare, a trendy grilled offal dish or a generous portion of crisp-crusted fish and chips that can compete with London's finest. 2178 Broadway at 77th St (212-777-6764,

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