You probably don’t want to sing for your supper. But singing—or other live entertainment—with your supper is an altogether different matter. Whether you prefer classic jazz, show tunes, rock-and-roll, or swing, you’ll find a supper club in Hell’s Kitchen that will feed both body and soul.
807 Ninth Ave. (between 53rd and 54th Streets)
Tasty as its pub grub may be, the main draw of Bar Nine is its Dueling Pianos party every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. The audience selects the songs that the pianists (and drummer) play. Audience members are encouraged to sing and dance along in between bites of their burgers and tacos and sips of their margaritas and Guinness.
Birdland Jazz Club
315 W. 44th St. (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues)
Not only was Birdland named after legendary jazz sax player Charlie “Bird” Parker, but he was also the headliner when the club opened in 1949. He’s hardly the only giant of jazz to have played the venue; Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk are among the many others that have taken the stage. You can enjoy your jazz with a side order of popcorn shrimp, smoked pork belly, or barbecue wings or with a full dinner, including Cajun and Southern favorites such as fried chicken with collard greens, jambalaya, blackened catfish, and seafood gumbo.
The iconic Birdland logo. Image: Dion Hinchcliffe/Flickr
414 W. 42nd St. (between Ninth and Dyer Avenues)
Jean-Claude Baker launched Chez Josephine in 1986 as a tribute to his mentor, muse, and mother figure, the inimitable performer Josephine Baker. The restaurant’s decor is a combination of bistro and boudoir, with red draperies, crystal chandeliers, and gilt accents. Though born in the States, Josephine Baker enjoyed her greatest acclaim in Paris, and the menu reflects this with boudin noir, lobster cassoulet, and a deluxe choucroute offered alongside Maryland crab cakes and fried chicken. Live piano music every night and during Sunday brunch pays homage to the nightclubs where Josephine found fame.
Don’t Tell Mama
343 W. 46th St. (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues)
This Restaurant Row mainstay describes itself as a “veritable nightlife mall,” with two cabaret spaces (its name even comes from a song in the musical Cabaret), a piano bar, and a restaurant. If you’re not up for surf and turf or a Caesar salad at the restaurant, head to the bar for sliders, chicken satay, or baked brie with fruit to accompany one of the Broadway-themed cocktails such as the Brandy Alexander Hamilton or the Chorus Lime Martini. A pianist plays cocktail music till nine o’clock, then the restaurant’s singing waiters and bar staff (who have Broadway and Off-Broadway credits) join in—often accompanied by audience members, including a number of bold-faced names. Recent cabaret shows included “Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli Live!” starring impersonators Tommy Fenia and Rick Skye; Broadway performer Liz Robertson singing the songs of Alan Jay Lerner; and “Comedic Magic with Rogue.”
Don’t Tell Mama is a “veritable nightlife mall.” Image: Americasroof/Wikimedia
349 W. 46th St. (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues)
Like Don’t Tell Mama, Swing 46 is located on Restaurant Row, and like Don’t Tell Mama, the entertainment is as much of a draw as the food. At Swing 46, the entertainment is by way of live swing and jazz bands every night. Dancing is highly encouraged; in fact, each night an instructor is on hand to provide a nine o’clock lesson. Tearing up the dance floor will help you burn off the calories from your rib-eye steak or seared scallops with bacon.
West Bank Café/Laurie Beechman Theatre
407 W. 42nd St. (between 9th and 10th Avenues)
When it opened its doors in 1978, West Bank Café was simply a restaurant, albeit one that soon earned positive reviews from the likes of The New York Times. It was in the 1980s that the eatery opened in its basement the Laurie Beechman Theatre, a 100-seat venue where you can indulge in nibbles, a full meal, or drinks while enjoying cabaret performances, one-person shows, and on most Thursday nights, “Broadway Sessions,” in which cast members from Broadway productions perform in an interactive variety show.
West Bank Café is home to the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Image: Jan McLaughlin/Flickr