Here are the best bars for a pre- or post-theater drink. The options are varied, ranging from the high-end to a lovable dive, and they’re all within a ten-minute walk of most of the Broadway houses. Here’s where to go:
2. Lantern’s Keep
49 W. 44th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-453-4287
The Iroquois Hotel’s small, secluded bar was popular enough when it opened a few years ago that reservations were once necessary. Now that there are more options for a dignified cocktail in the area, things have quieted down, and you can pretty easily slip in here for an Island Old-Fashioned (made with rum and velvet falernum) or the light and summery gin-based Pineapple Collins, all in an extremely comfortable setting (marble tables, velvet chairs). There are small plates, like oysters gratin and a cheese plate, if you’re feeling peckish.
3. Jimmy’s Corner
140 W. 44th, nr. Broadway; 212-221-9510
If you want something a little less upscale, there is no better place to visit then the boxing-themed dive Jimmy’s Corner, which opened way back in 1972. We’ve recommended it already, mostly because Jimmy’s is that rare New York bar that cannot be oversold or overendorsed. It’s cheap, the jukebox is excellent (Little Richard, Miles Davis, Nat King Cole), and among the many wall decorations is a sign reading “Let’s not talk politics here.” A lovely escape, not just from Times Square, but from pretty much everything.
4. The Bar at Gabriel Kreuther
41 W. 42nd St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-257-5826
If you are lucky enough to have a wealthy relative who scored tickets to Hamilton, you might suggest a preshow snack and drink in the mega-high-ceilinged copper-, wood-, and mirror-accented bar at Gabriel Kreuther. Reservations aren’t required, but they are accepted, and worth making, so you can ensure a seat at one of the white-leather-banquette-abutting bar tables. Order the customizable Kir Royale and maybe some spiced shishito peppers. All of the food is uniformly excellent, really. It’s not cheap, but your uncle is paying a premium for the super-serene, comfortable experience at one of the city’s most impressive restaurants.
5. Russian Vodka Room
265 W. 52nd St., nr. Eighth Ave.; 212-307-5835
This dark retreat only opened in 1997, but it’s so defiantly anti-trend that it feels like it’s been around forever. The best way to describe the atmosphere might be weird, and that’s a good thing. A baby grand piano (that’s played live) is positioned where a host stand might have been, and the crowd can be hard to predict, but generally it stays off the tourist circuit, so come for a not-too-rowdy night of eating blinis and downing vodka that’s a little more considered than Absolut and Ketel (though you can get those, too).