Everybody has to eat. And some people have to party. NYNewsday.com offers a choice of restaurants and clubs where you can savor a leisurely dinner, eat a cheap lunch or hang out all night.


Bar Americain. Bobby Flay strikes again. This time the Iron Chef has moved into the cooler realms of classic Americana - both in terms of the menu and the atmosphere, which is a sleek paen to mid-century modern. On the menu? New England clam chowder (with sweet potatoes standing in for the usual mushy spuds); cioppino; and the addictive warm potato chips with blue cheese dressing--better by far than the standard chicken wings. At the bar, look for traditional cocktails, like Pimm's cup or a whiskey smash. Entrees: $23-$31 at dinner. (152 West 52nd Street; 212-265-9700)

Carnegie Deli. Opened in 1937, this is the delicatessen everybody copies. The menu goes on for pages, and it makes for comforting choices: Where else in Manhattan do you get stewed prunes for breakfast? The place pays no mind to the nutritional flavor of the day, and the sandwiches are still enormous (if you do the sensible thing and expect to share, be warned: They'll charge you three bucks for the privilege). Overpowering combos like the triple-decker roast beef with chopped liver; turkey, corned beef and swiss with Russian dressing; or a classic Reuben will set you back about $20. For dessert, there's cheesecake, of course. (854 Seventh Avenue; 212-757-2245)

Cafe Gray. This is a bargain when you consider the prices in the immediate neighborhood: at Masa, dinner runs between $300 and $500 per person sans wine; and at Per Se, you'll shell out $175 per person. By contrast, Gray Kunze feeds you very well for about $75 a head, not including wine or drinks. By all means, have the mushroom risotto and the short ribs. And note that the prix-fixe lunch is even more of a bargain at $46 (no short ribs, though). (10 Columbus Circle; 212-823-6338)

Burger Joint. At the other extreme, Burger Joint serves up hamburgers for a mere $5.50. You want exotic, add 50 cents and go for a cheeseburger. Don't expect pizza burgers or chili burgers or anything like that. The list of toppings ranges from mustard to ketchup, mayo to tomatoes. Beyond that, they haven't go it. Fries are two bucks, and a brownie is a buck and a half. Add a lemonade, and you've got lunch. (118 West 57th Street in the Parker Meridien; 212-245-5000)

Film Center Cafe. Been there. Been there. Been there. But that's why they keep coming back. The place -- which discovered the neighborhood years before anyone else -- is as comfortable as an old shoe. This is a traditional New York hangout with a lively bar and a livelier crowd. For food, keep it simple: burgers, sandwiches, salads, are all under $15; entrees like meatloaf, fried chicken, and crabcakes are all well under $20. Note: the mac and cheese is a bargain at $8.25, and there's a champagne brunch for $12.95. (635 Ninth Avenue; 212-262-2525)

Brasserie LCB. La Cote Basque -- famous for its high-end French food -- has decided to unbend and mix with the folks. Same chef -- the redoubtable Jean-Jacques Rachou -- different food altogether. Expect classic bistro dishes like onion soup, escargot, pig's trotters; tornedos of beef, quennelles in nantua sauce, choucroute, cassoulet. There's also a raw bar, of course. Note: this isn't the place for a quiet dinner; it's busy, bustly, and noisy. Expect to pay about $50 per person for three courses; the $39 prix-fixe is available before 6:30 and after 10 p.m. (60 West 55th Street; 212-688-6525)

Trattoria dell'arte. This is everybody's favorite midtown trattoria, just around the corner from Carnegie Hall. The antipasti plates will fill you up -- the large seafood version offers five seafood salads for $22. There are also good pastas ($17-$26) and pizzas to rave about ($18-$26). For bigger eaters, the veal chop with mushrooms ($48) is highly recommended. (900 Seventh Avenue; 212-245-9800)


DO NOT PASS GO: Be nice to the guy at the door, and maybe he'll let you in

Bungalow 8: This uber-exclusive lounge is modeled after the Beverly Hills Hotel's infamous and celebrity-studded Bungalow 8. Open for the late-night party crowd from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., Amy Sacco's Bungalow 8 features Banquette-side minibars, arranges helipad pickups for jet-setting patrons and offers on-site hairstyling, along with other resort-level perks. (515 West 27th Street; 212-629-3333)

Marquee Marquee has attracted throngs of young Hollywood starlets (and those who just look like them) since it opened on 10th Ave. Club-goers can drift from the main dance floor, to an upper level, glassed-in lounge – and the super elite may gain access to the VIP room. The club gets raves for strong, top-shelf cocktails and wild, late-night dance parties.(289 Tenth Avenue; 646-473-0202)

Cain This high-end newcomer takes premium service to a new level. The West Chelsea hot spot features bottle-only seating surrounding a sunken dance floor. The South African-inspired club boasts a zebra skin-topped bar. Shorts skirts and stiletto heels make up the reigning uniform for ladies at Cain. A DJ spins house music hidden behind a giant rock, but no one really bust's a move. The scene is being seen. (544 West 27th Street; 212-947-8000)

Suede Lines and velvet ropes greet hopeful club-goers outside Suede. Just past the ropes, the front section of the club is built around a white marble bar. Unlike other clubs where model wannabes exercise their eyes checking everyone out, at Suede the model wannabes actually dance. A nightly DJ in the back room plays everything from hip-hip to '80s to house. (161 West 23rd Street; 212-633-6113)


Then you have a shot at crossing the rope

Lotus The big night at Lotus is Sunday, so the door is a bit more democratic other nights of the week. The VIP crowd sits up on half-moon banquets lining the bar area, but when the DJ gets started, the barriers dissolve. The club, demure in the early hours, turns into an all-night dance party making it a favorite standby destination in the Meatpacking District. Expect to hear oldies but goodies like "Celebrate" and "Raspberry Beret." (409 West 14th Street; 212-243-4420)

PM PM hosts an exotic Brazilian dance party on Tuesday nights, where dancers (wearing beads and not much else) skim out into the crowd to the pulsing beat of bongo drums. The interior is simple, and the unique, fruited cocktails go down easy. This lush urban oasis keeps the high-class party going all night long. When PM opened, the scene was notoriously chic with an 'only-the-V-est-of-the-VIPs-need-apply' vibe. It's relaxed a little. If you're dressed to kill and feeling lucky, give it a try. (50 Gansevoort Street; 212-255-6676)


APT If the snootier clubs give you the hand, meander through the Meatpacking District and head toward the chic, hideaway hot spot, APT, and make yourself at home. With its cream-painted moldings, striped wallpaper and wood furnishings, walking into APT feels like walking into a luxury uptown apartment. Patrons at the bar area can sip cocktails at the bar or in bed. You might need a reservation for the upstairs lounge, but the lower level bar, with a rotating schedule of hot DJs, is always open. (419 West 13th Street; 212-414-4245)

Glo Get your groove on at Glo. The modern dance club is just north of the Meatpacking District, but not quite in Chelsea. The dance area radiates with pink and orange lights that give all club-goers Day-Glo glamour. The vibe is sleek and modern and the DJs get eager-to-move crowds busting a move with a mix of hip-hop and R&B beats. (431 West 16th Street; 212-229-9119)