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Pre- and post-theater bars

If you’re catching Once or another Broadway show, pause at one of these nearby haunts.

By Carolyn Stanley


Bars Lounges Hell's Kitchen

From after-work drinks to killing time around Times Kick back after a show at this beachy bar, where surfboards, shorts-clad bartenders and frosty drinks will greet you. The room channels the surf shacks of its tropical isle namesake, with weathered wood, sun-drenched colors and a ridged tin ceiling. Escapists can slurp unfussy cocktails ($10) like a frozen Corona (the beer is mixed with vodka, triple sec and lime) and a dark and stormy punched up with chunks of fresh ginger. There’s also a selection of sipping rums infused in-house with exotic fruits like mangosteen and lychee (flight of three $12).

Lantern's Keep
Photograph: Jolie Ruben

Lantern's Keep

Bars Cocktail bars Midtown West

Dodge the bright lights of Broadway at this intimate cocktail parlor tucked inside the Iroquois Hotel. Cocktail consultant Meaghan Dorman and head bartender Theo Liebermann collaborated on the drinks program with the European cocktail scene of the 1920s and ’30s in mind, featuring classics like the Boulevardier (bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth; $14) and the Honeymoon (apple brandy, Cointreau, Bénédictine, lemon juice; $14). The dim space also takes cues from a bygone era, with blue velvet chairs, gold-framed paintings and marble tables.


Rum House

Bars Lounges Midtown West

This raucous saloon calls itself “Times Square’s oldest new cocktail lounge” for a reason: After the original Rum House shut its doors following a 37-year run, new owners gave the place a face-lift and reopened an updated version with a fresh cocktail program from the team behind Ward III. One trademark touch lives on from the old days: a piano player tapping out standards (Mon–Sat). The drinks menu is short but sweet, with signature quaffs such as the Tortuga (aged rum, fresh ginger, muddled citrus wedges, cinnamon; $12), alongside well-executed classics like old-fashioneds and Manhattans ($12–$14).

bar 21
Photograph: Lauren Foy

Bar '21'

Bars Cocktail bars Midtown West

If you don’t have time for a swanky pretheater dinner at 82-year-old NYC establishment the ‘21’ Club, settle for a drink at the downstairs lounge instead. The vibe at the bar is more relaxed than in the upstairs dining room (no jackets required), with a half dozen beers on tap, including Goose Island Honker’s Ale ($8.50), and cocktails ($15) such as the Bee’s Knees (rum, cardamom-honey syrup, lemon) and the Orient-Express (gin, lemon, Earl Grey syrup). You can also nibble some haute bar bites including fish tacos with salsa verde ($14) and miniburgers ($18)—scaled-down versions of the restaurant’s signature ‘21’ burger.

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