There are a few good places to get drinks both inside and outside of the Broadway Theatre in NYC. Some are secret while others are quite well known.
Three Types of Establishments To Get Drinks Before, During and After a Broadway Show
Seeing a Broadway show and drinking alcohol go perfectly well together, much like a good cheese and an interesting wine. Although there are many bars in NYC close to Broadway theatres that patrons can visit for pre-theatre drinks, few have the appeal and drama of the actual bar inside the theatre itself.
Theatres Attempt To Make Money From Alcohol Sales
The bars inside most Broadway Theatres are valuable for intermission drinks and the odd snack and a few of these bars even allow for pre-show drinks and special access to intermission bathrooms. Most of the other choices for Broadway bars are outside the theatre, but can often be overrun with tourists, especially during the pre-theatre window. Surprisingly, most theatre goers do not go out for post-theatre drinks, so patrons will find the Broadway bars practically empty after the show.
Below is a list of the top-rated and most popular in house theater bars, hotel bars, and bars near Broadway theaters.
Bars Inside Broadway Theatres
Running a Broadway show can be a costly business. To support the ever-skyrocketing costs of production, Broadway theatres will often have a for-profit bar that serves several types of alcohol, snack food and candy.
The bars inside the theatre are usually open twenty minutes prior to the performance and during the intermission, making it a busy time for patrons getting their favorite libations and munchie cravings before the show. Even though the opening time of the bar is very limited, it is still a valuable revenue generator for Broadway theatres and many make the space in an already crowded theatre to run the operation. The bars usually provide sippy cups, that allow patrons to take drinks back to their seats.
Pre-Order Drinks In Time For Intermission
Patrons in-the-know will often pre-order their drinks before the show starts and pick them up during the intermission. Many Broadway theatres now allow you to take alcohol back to the seat to drink during the intermission, which is very convenient. Most serve wine and beer in special sippy-cups that do not spill and will therefore, not create damage to the often opulent furnishings in the theatre. Many Broadway theatres offer specialized cocktails based on the show that they house, but cocktails are really not their forte, because they take just too long to make, in the limited window of the intermission. If you want a cocktail, order it in advance.
Best Bars in Broadway Theatres
Broadway patrons are more likely to spend their money on pre-show and intermission drinks, in the evening shows, and during the holidays. The bar operators are usually private companies that have established a partnership with the theater owners and pass back 50% of profits back to the theatre. Most Broadway theaters have multiple bars, that are usually located in the main lobby, the orchestra level and the mezzanine level. It is safe to say that most bars inside Broadway theatres can be quite intriguing, but some theatres are a great deal more interesting than others. The bar inside the New Amsterdam Theatre, located on 42nd Street, is an underground hideaway that captures the imagination when you descend into the depths of the theatre usually to find the bathroom. If you don't use the bathroom, you never see the bar.
The Lyric Theatre's Best-Kept Secret
The Ambassador Lounge is a private bar and lounge area located inside the Lyric Theater on 42nd Street. The bar often goes unnoticed by most Broadway patrons, as it is hidden behind a golden curtain with a short hallway that is covered in plush red carpet. Upon entering the lounge, an attendant will hand you a glass of Prosecco, welcoming you to the Ambassador Lounge. The exclusive, private lounge is perfect for a pre-show drink, or to pre-order drinks in time for intermission. With private bathrooms, a complementary coat check and high-quality drinks, the Ambassador Lounge personifies an exclusive and luxurious experience in a sea of mediocrity. The modern furnished and dim-lit ambience which once served as a venue for special events, feels like a lavish escape from the chaos at the Lyric Theater ( the second largest theatre on Broadway). The price for general admission to the lounge is $25 per person, which includes a free glass of sparkling Prosecco wine. The ideal way to purchase admission to the lounge is at the box office when purchasing show tickets. The Ambassador Lounge opens a full 45 minutes prior to curtain call, giving patrons just enough time to relax and grab a drink before the show. When the show is about to open, an attendant will alert patrons to proceed to their seats, five minutes before curtain.
Popular Bars Close To Broadway Theatres
As far as good bars outside the Broadway theatre are concerned, the New York City theatre district can be a barren wasteland of "Irish pubs" (with their fake gaelic script signs) and vanilla hotel bars full of bawdy tourists (with their "I Love NY" tee shirts). Only a few bars stick out as the bright spots in a rather dim and dingy libation landscape.
(located on W 44th Street between Broadway and 8th Ave)
It may be tourist hell, but Sardi's bar upstairs is a perennial favorite among Broadway patrons. Sardi's main room is a theatre itself, with high ceilings, wooden pillars and caricature drawings of Broadway stars. The Sardi family have been running the business since 1927. Sardi's Bar located upstairs is a perfect spot for pre-theatre food and drinks without the commotion of the restaurant downstairs. The bar serves appetizers and small plates as well as cocktails and craft beers.
(located on W 44th Street between 9th and 8th Ave)
This surf shack located in the middle of NYC may feel out of place at the onset, but you will feel right at home after a couple of their authentic rum based cocktails. Reunion bar is known for their laid back surf atmosphere and extended happy hour drinks (until 8pm). Vintage surfboards, a giant aquarium, and a tin roof over the bar make you feel like you never left the beach, even in the middle of the winter.
The Rum House
(located on W 47th Street between 7th Ave and Broadway)
Popularized in the 2014 Hollywood movie Birdman, this bar has become the watering hole for anyone visiting the Samuel J Friedman and Palace theatres. What it lacks in space and layout, it makes up for in mixology and service. Live music on Saturday nights and the fun of re-enacting the movie, add to the overall experience of this pre-theatre watering hole, that serves up things considerably more potent than water.
Hotel Bars Near Broadway Theatres
Rejected by the Broadway creme de la creme as "raucous tourist spots", many hotel bars are seeing a resurgence in interest from local Broadway patrons, if only in passing. Some of the hotel bar highlights for the Broadway Theatergoer include:
Foundry Bar at The Westin
(located at W 43rd Street and 8th Ave)
The Foundry Kitchen and Bar is located on the mezzanine level of the The Westin New York in Times Square. The bar offers creative cocktails, and an amazing selection of beers at a modest fare. The bar is also known for its amazing view overlooking Eighth Avenue in Times Square.
Crowne Plaza Lobby Bar
(located on Broadway between 48th and 49th Street)
The Lobby bar at the Crowne Plaza offers an open space for theatergoers to enjoy a wide selection of wines, beers and even light meals from the bar menu. The lobby bar offers an open space to meet with friends before or after a show. This bar also offers paid parking, Wi-Fi, and gluten free options !
Bar 54 at The Hyatt Centric
(located on W 45th Street between 6th Ave 7th Ave)
This vibrant roof-top lounge is set atop the 54-story Hyatt Centric Hotel tower. Bar 54 invites you to an extensive view of the Hudson River and East River while hanging out around their fireplaces. This bar is ideal for patrons to sight-see, have a drink, and relax before or after a show.
The Living Room at the W Hotel
(located on Broadway between 46th and 47th Street)
The Living Room is a cocktail lounge located on the 7th floor of the W hotel on Broadway. This lounge offers a delicious menu of cocktails and a modern electric design. It is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Living Room is known for its occasional live free performances, such as the cast of Hamilton who performed an array of songs at the W.