So, you’ve always wanted to be a Broadway star? Well, kid, you came to the right place. New York is where dreams of stardom come true. Right?
Okay, no one is handing out Tonys as you cross the Tappan Zee. But if you’ve dreamed of belting out Broadway tunes (or any tunes, really) for adoring crowds, have we got a list for you!
In addition to tons of great restaurants where you can relax over a pre- or post-show meal, Manhattan has an endless supply of bars and restaurants that offer dinner and a show all in one, whether you’re looking to be serenaded, angling for a turn in the spotlight yourself, or just in the mood for a good group sing. You might not be “discovered,” but you’ll definitely have a great evening!
Here are some of our favorite local spots to get your sing on.
59 Grove Street
Even if you've never been here, you’ll probably recognize it as a frequent filming location for movies and TV. In operation for well over a century (first as a brothel, then as a speakeasy, now a gay bar), Marie’s Crisis is a West Village institution that's a must-do for any theater lover. The drinks are cheap (especially at happy hour), and the perfectly-tuned piano offers a nightly Broadway concert for all comers. Don't expect a moment in the limelight—Marie’s is all about the group singalong. Bring your friends and find out who knows the most lyrics!
235 East 84th
This Upper East Side spot is a hidden gem. Here the pianists and wait staff are the main attraction, performing an impressive array of show tunes and old standards for the crowd—but singing along loudly is definitely encouraged. Bonus: there's never a cover charge (though there is a two-drink minimum per person). It's a “cozy” space, so grab your favorite friend and get there early to snag a table.
343 West 46th
No show tune karaoke list would be complete with this Restaurant Row favorite. It's even named for a song from "Cabaret". The crowd is always enthusiastic and friendly. (I went there the night I got engaged, and let me say, nothing starts an engagement out better than having an entire bar serenade you with Elton John’s “Your Song”). If you're confident in your vocal chops and are extra nice to the pianist (tipping is encouraged!) you might just be able to solo on a stage that's played host to some of Broadway’s brightest stars. (Liza, Bette, Chita...the list goes on!)
81 Avenue A
9 St. Marks Place
Sing Sing is a karaoke bar with something for everyone. The two locations, one on St. Marks and one on Avenue A, are both great spots for an adventurous group hang in the East Village. You can rent one of their private rooms for a tailor-made musical night, or head to their open bar, where anyone can sing for just $2 a song. My advice? Go during happy hour (4-8pm everyday) where the beers are $4 and private rooms are half off.
3 West 35th
If you find yourself in Midtown with an urge to croon, Radio Star is the place to go. The bar stage is open to everyone and private rooms for groups pay homage to pop legends (the Beatles Room, the Elvis Room, etc.). If you’re bringing the whole gang, private rooms are half off during happy hour (Monday to Thursday 4-8pm). They also offer several drink packages, and you can find their song list if you want to prep for your musical debut. If you're nervous, don't worry—their slogan is: “maybe it’s true that not everyone can sing… but everyone can karaoke.”
Sounds about right to me. Whatever your evening’s musical adventure is, break a leg!
What other karaoke spots should we add to our list? Let us know in the comments! And tell us about your best karaoke experiences as well!
And if you want to visit another must-see Broadway spot, take our exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of Sardi's!