Dining out in New York is always an experience, but the meal is even more exciting when it is accompanied by live entertainment. So, whether it’s Broadway fanfare, comedy or cabaret, kick your evening up a notch with our recommendations for the best places around town to enjoy dinner and a show.
Classic Cabaret at Café Carlyle
Experience a taste of old New York at Café Carlyle — a local institution that transports you back to the city’s golden age. Situated within Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, the supper club boasts whimsical music-themed murals by Marcel Vertès surrounded by elegant art deco details.
Café Carlyle has been a destination for cabaret enthusiasts since it opened in 1955, but it still attracts top-notch talent like Judy Collins and Alan Cumming.
Whet your appetite with delectable, seasonally inspired pre-show bites, like Bobby Short’s chicken hash — a dish named after the renowned musician who entertained audiences here for nearly 40 years.
A Family-Friendly Extravaganza
Kids of all ages will want to grab a ticket to the hottest show in town, Broadway sensation School of Rock. Both the young and young at heart will be dancing in their seats to rock ballads from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest masterpiece that’s based on the beloved Jack Black-starred movie. The electrifying cast doesn’t just sing; the actors play live music on stage during each performance.
Before the curtain rises, grab some dinner at venerable Four-Star The Lambs Club, which sits less than a 10-minute walk from Rock’s Winter Garden Theatre.
Junior’s is another vibrant dining option before or after the show. Kids can order from a menu filled with favorites like cheeseburgers, chicken fingers and the restaurant’s famed cheesecake. Mom and dad can have New York classics like the Reuben sandwich and egg creams. Of course, everyone at the table will like the strawberry milkshakes.
See a Laugh Riot
If you fancy a laugh, catch some of the biggest names in comedy while noshing on great bites at bastion Carolines on Broadway. Known for its incredible roster of funny headliners (Tracy Morgan, Jay Pharaoh, Colin Jost), the venue keeps the marquee sparkling over the next few months with Kevin Smith (April 22), Marlon Wayans (May 10 to 12) and Ken Jeong (June 28 to July 1).
Stop for dinner before the show in the onsite supper lounge and order anything from bar classics like nachos and pizza to lighter fare such as grilled salmon and roasted chicken.
Keep the party going just a half mile away with a nightcap at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Lotte New York Palace’s swanky bar, Trouble’s Trust. Here, you will sip masterfully mixed concoctions featuring locavore ingredients while reminiscing on the night’s laughs.
Colorful Stage Characters
For those in search of a rowdy night on the town, you can’t go wrong with tickets to the now-classic musical Kinky Boots. Where else can you fill nearly two and a half hours with fabulous musical numbers, a drag show and uplifting messages? Trust us, you’d have to walk a long time in your five-inch heels to find it anywhere other than Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
Complement your experience with dinner at the classic 21 Club before the show. The former speakeasy, which sits just a mile from the stage, has as much spunk and personality as the musical itself. For a sweet finish to your meal with a bit of flair, order the bananas Foster, a flambéed masterpiece big enough for two.
Tips for the Tiniest VIPs
If you have a little one and the days of dinner theater are behind you, fear not. These days, you can upgrade your children’s theater tickets with VIP packages to make the experience a bit more bearable for mom and dad.
Sesame Street Live, for example, comes to the Tri-State area every winter and spring. It offers a Pre-Show Experience where your family can go on stage, meet Big Bird and some of the other characters and even partake in private photo opportunities. There are only a limited quantity of these tickets available, but the smiles on your troopers’ faces will make the effort worth it.