After the excitement of a Broadway show, you might not be ready to call it a night. Instead, digest the experience at these Midtown restaurants whose kitchens stay open past the curtain call. This can be the easiest time to get into some of the most popular pre-theater spots, as well as some under-the-radar restaurants that are Theatre District gems. In fact, late at night is when you’re more likely to find theater people hanging out after their big performance. Check out the scene—and grab a bite—at the places below.
This bustling bi-level trattoria on Restaurant Row is owned by Lidia Bastianich and her son, Joe. The menu of Italian favorites is served until 11pm on weeknights and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Three daily pastas are served in unlimited portions, but if you’re cutting back on carbs order the grilled veal chop, hanger steak or lightly breaded swordfish. There are lots of extras too. White bean dip is gratis with the bread basket and Caesar salad is included in the price of a main course. There is also an extensive list of wine bottles under $35.
Late-night happy hour is in effect from 9pm until 11:45pm at Bond 45’s Bar Below, the lower level lounge of Shelly Fireman’s sprawling restaurant. Many drinks are discounted, full-priced bottles of wine come with a free margherita pizza and you can snack on low-priced cacio e pepe fries, Caprese salad with burrata, short rib meatballs and fried artichoke. Keep your eyes peeled for Broadway cast members winding down post-show.
Danji is an intimate spot in Hell’s Kitchen with an accessible menu of modern Korean food. The delicately fried calamari with spicy mayo is a standout, and other highlights include shrimp and scallion pancakes, bulgogi beef sliders and kimchi fried rice with bacon and soft scrambled eggs. Garlic honey wings with pickled daikon are messily delicious; thankfully, diners receive moistened hand wipes. Ingredients, including fish choices, are mostly organic and locally and sustainably sourced. The kitchen is open until 11pm Monday through Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday for late-night eats.
Dutch Fred’s is named for a New York City cop who long ago allegedly gave the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood its name. Now this warm, handsome tavern, serving a late-night menu until 2am, is the place for craft cocktails, beer and hearty snacks. In addition to drinks with names inspired by Broadway shows (Kinky Boots, Hogwarts Express) is an impressive array of Irish, Japanese, Scottish and American whiskey. Recommended eats include eggplant chips, buffalo chicken spring rolls and flank steak on toast.
This stylish noodle house is a madhouse pre-show, but much easier to access later in the evening. Dishes like flash-fried shishito peppers, boneless fried chicken and steamed buns stuffed with pork are served until 11:30pm most evenings and are great to share alongside cocktails or beer. For something more filling, the popular ramen bowls combine silky noodles with a range of proteins and vegetables.
Joe Allen is a perennial pre-theater spot but is open until almost midnight most days, giving you a chance to avoid the crowds trying to make curtain. The wood floors, brick archways and long bar are classic NYC, and the walls of theater posters are playfully dedicated to failed shows. Everything on the menu is good, but it’s more about the spark of the joint that draws you in. It also helps that the strong drinks, good wine pours, black bean soup, burgers and meatloaf are priced for affordability.
Head to this swank bar and lounge in Times Square’s Luma Hotel for post-theater specials, which are offered Monday through Saturday after 9pm. Options include Basque-style tapas such as croquetas de jamón, beef and pork meatballs and crisp potatoes with tomato jam. The best deal is the $20 combo of three tapas plus a glass of house sangria.
Sardi’s is a magnet for theater lovers, holding strong since 1927 thanks in part to the collection of delightful caricatures of Broadway greats through the ages. Post-theater, head to the second-floor lounge where there’s usually room at the bar or high tables (some jockeying is to be expected on weekends). No music blares, which means discussing the show you just saw doesn’t require shouting. Quick, before the kitchen closes, order crab cakes and a chicken club sandwich with a cone of crisp fries.
West Bank Cafe
Seeing a show at Playwrights Horizons or Signature Theatre Company? West Bank Cafe is a great choice for a post-show bite and drink right on West 42nd Street. It’s dark and comfortable, with a classic bar and tables clad in white linen. Around since 1978, it’s known for strong drinks and simple twists on American food: burgers with aged cheddar, fried calamari with chipotle aioli and deviled eggs with prosciutto.
West End Bar & Grill
This corner spot in Hell’s Kitchen is your typical neighborhood hangout—casual, dark and inexpensive. However, the cocktails, beer and wine choices are better than you might expect. So is the food, including chicken parm sliders, shrimp tacos and short rib grilled cheese with caramelized onions on rosemary ciabatta. It’s open until 2am on Sundays and Mondays, and as late as 4am the other nights of the week. The bar often showcases live musical acts as well.