Unless you’re a bonafide theater critic, you’re not going to a Broadway show every night. So, when you get the chance to catch a production, you want to make a night out of it, right? (RIGHT!) Here are Broadway Spin’s top five spots for a pre-game drink before the show, or a nightcap after.
1. The Lantern’s Keep: 49 West 44th St.
The speakeasy-esque bar will transport you for the evening. Tucked inside the famous Iroquois Hotel, the entire space is dedicated to Prohibition-era cocktails whipped up by some of the best mixologists in the country. You can get a classic Manhattan or Old Fashioned with a modern twist while lounging in the elegant dark-wood-paneled saloon. Don’t know which cocktail you want? Opt for the Keeper’s Choice and the bartender will create something special; all you have to do is request a spirit, style, or flavor. This spot is dark, sexy, and perfect for a date night. But if you’re going to stop by pre-theater, arrive early. Seats go fast in this charming midtown hideaway.
2. Lillie’s Victorian Establishment – Times Square: 249 West 49th St.
You’ll feel like you’re already at the theater when stepping inside this beautifully windowed Victorian-themed restaurant and bar. You’ll sit on red tufted couches surrounded by portraits of people from the past while enjoying a cocktail from the extensive menu. Choose from a seasonal favorite with a kitschy name like “We Can’t Elope,” or, stick with a classic like Old Smokey that features Old Grand Dad Bonded Bourbon and Smoked Cedar. Come during any holiday, and you’ll be treated to over-the-top festive décor adorning the sky-high columns behind the bar.
3. Sardi’s: 234 W 44th St.
Ok, we’ll admit it. This is an obvious/ not-so-original choice for a pre-theater bar destination, but there’s a reason for that: It’s legendary. It’s been around for 90 years and has all the makings of quintessential Broadway bar. Caricatures of Broadway celebrities line the walls, and they’re pros at handling the pre and post-theater crowd. There’s no crazy mixology here; just classic cocktails and a wine list. It’s great if you want a timeless experience surrounded by folks who work for Shubert, one of Broadway’s most powerful theater owners, whose offices are upstairs.
4. Russian Vodka Room: 265 West 52nd Street
It’s like the Russian Tea Room… but BETTER. The ambiance is your typical lounge-y feel. It’s dark. There’s a piano in front by the bar, and it’s a laid-back vibe. The drinks, on the other hand, pack a punch. As you can imagine, the unassuming spot serves up tons of infused vodkas in varying forms. You can take shots, try a flight of vodka, or make a vodka-based cocktail. Just take it slow, or you could end up putting on your own performance at the bar.
5. Jimmy’s Corner: 140 West 44th St.
Want to get away from the theater crowds even though you’re going to the theater? Jimmy’s Corner is your spot. You can count on a couple of things here: no frills, a local crowd, and good drinks. (And, in case you’re curious: no website!) We recommend the house drink, Jimmy’s Hurricane, which is a blend of spiced rum, juices, and amaretto – but a cold beer does the trick too. Though you likely won’t get a seat (the space in insanely small), you will make lots of friends as you kick back with a simple cold beer and look at the 30+ years of boxing memorabilia that the owner – and professional trainer – Jimmy Glenn has posted on the walls. You might even get to hang with Jimmy himself.