>> Do you want to meet New York entertainers, but don't know where to go? Have you heard about New York's famous small-venue theaters that seat 150 or fewer people, but don't know how to find them? Do you like the idea of seeing live entertainment, but are overwhelmed by all the opportunities New York has to offer?
If this sounds like you, then Littleviews recommends that you focus your time and resources on Restaurant Row, a conveniently located entertainment area on 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues.
Positioned just four blocks north of New York's famed 42nd Street and close to Broadway theaters, the bars and restaurants on Restaurant Row keep pre- and post-Broadway theater goers watered and fed. In addition to food service, the street also has a slew of clubs which stage comedy skits, blues, jazz, folk singing, and cabaret.
So what will you get for your time spent in this area?
Well, if you're looking for live entertainment in an intimate (small venue) setting, let's take Danny's Skylight Room as an example.
Home to a real piano bar (the piano is physically surrounding by a shelf where you can rest drinks), the first person we met was the exuberant pianist and singer, Jerry Scott.
Want to know more about New York? Well, the purpose of a piano bar is to encourage people to mix with one another, either through song or chit-chat. Feel free to ask the pianist questions between sets, and if the musician is Jerry, you're sure to get an insider's scoop. Cost? Just a few drinks ordered at your convenience, and if you're very thoughtful, a nice tip for the entertainer. (346 West 46th Street, 212.265.8130)
In Danny's back room is an 80-seat dinner-theater. On the evening we researched this article, we heard the sultry, blue-eyed Stephanie Sellars and her ensemble belt out jazz and show tunes. Staging was impeccable and very near our table. Slipping into the persona of "Naughty Baby," Ms. Sellars appeared as a humorous-yet-sexy show-girl vamp (think "Chicago") with a bitchy Katharine Hepburn-type attitude.
Members of the "Naughty...and then some" ensemble:
- Stephanie Sellars
Contact Ms. Sellars for performance dates.
- Margaret Curry, vocalist
- Wendy Russell, vocalist/voice trainer
- James Underwood, vocalist
- David Epstein, musical director/pianist
- Mark Wade, bass player
If you've been isolated behind a TV for too long, you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that entertainers like Ms. Sellars' ensemble enjoy you as much as you enjoy them and in small venues, they often mingle with the audience after a performance. Ah! This is New York.
That said, when you attend a small venue, make a point of learning more about the talent you see. This is not the time to be a critic! Tell the entertainers specifically what you liked. Ask questions about them (and don't prattle on about "you" and how "you" want to sing or dance). New York entertainers are usually very sophisticated and are often in charge of many areas, including production, direction, choreography, set design, song writing, voice training, etc. That said, it's at places like Danny's where contacts between multi-talented folk are made.
OK, so you just want to eat or drink . . .
Tina and Chris Sedaris' Hourglass Tavern is a gem. Old World cozy downstairs and charming up, it's a before-the-Broadway-show favorite of local folk as well as a great place to go on a date. (373 West 46 Street, 212.265.2060)
The nearby La Rivista Ristorante is an Italian dining extravaganza that features pianists from 8 PM to midnight, Tuesdays through Saturdays. Food, drink, and live music. What more could you ask? (313 West 46th Street)
Of the many bars on Restaurant Row, these three stand out:
At O'Flaherty's, you'll find walls crammed full of old, dusty novels and worn comfy booths huddled near a crackling fireplace (pictured above). Happy hours are bustling and dinners are usually moderately priced and fantastically satisfying. Musical entertainment can be heard in a back room. (334 West 46th Street, 212.581.9366)
Deacon Brodie's is another cozy drinking den. The space is snug, and once you're in, you'll feel like you've just wandered off the street and into someone's well-worn living room. Ali's favorite spot is the dog-eared, velvet love seat parked smack dab in front of the faux fireplace. (370 West 46th Street, 212.262.1452)
Sick of wine? Do you want to seriously study beer drained conveniently from a beer bong? The House of Brews serves 50 different brands of beer, plus choice pub food. (363 West 46th Street, 212.245.0551)
Or . . .
|HERE'S ALI O'BRIEN (LITTLEVIEW'S BARS AND DINING WRITER) TOASTING UP AT O'FLAHERTY'S |
|DANNY'S IS A WELL-KNOWN, SMALL VENUE PERFORMANCE MECCA WHERE YOU OFTEN HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO MINGLE WITH THE PERFORMERS SUCH AS THE FAMOUS BLOSSOM DEARIE.|
|IS THIS NEW YORK, OR WHAT? JERRY SCOTT SHARES GOOD TIMES AND TUNES AT DANNY'S.|
|HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A WARDROBE FUNCTION. "NAUGHTY BABY" STEPHANIE SELLARS VAMPS, DANCES, AND SINGS JAZZ AND SHOW TUNES IN HER PRODUCTION OF "NAUGHTY...AND THEN SOME!"|
|TINA SEDARIS, CO-OWNER OF THE QUAINT AND COZY HOURGLASS TAVERN. WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE THE UPSTAIRS!|
|POSTERS ABOUND ON RESTAURANT ROW MAKING IT EASY TO FIND OUT WHAT'S GOING ON.|