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Queen of the Night
Photograph: Matteo PrandoniQueen of the Night

The best dinner theater in NYC

These immersive New York dining experiences roll dinner and a show into one creative (and tasty) package

Written by
Lauren Rothman
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Dinner and a show doesn’t have to mean pizza and Netflix or a trek to Medieval Times. Though there’s no shortage of great New York restaurants, a wave of total-package dinner theater is taking your dining experience up a notch. Sit back and be transported to settings as diverse as a Tokyo nightclub and a Russian cabaret while having a delicious meal.

Dinner theater in New York

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

The beloved brewery has teamed up with Humboldt & Jackson, a Williamsburg restaurant and tasting room, for a “Blast! From the Past” dinner party series. Past events have included a 1650s-themed “Nieuw Amsterdam” dinner and an 1820s “The Restaurant Is Born” meal. Servers and patrons alike dress the part, and period-appropriate dishes grace the menu, with plenty of beer to soak everything up.

  • Restaurants
  • Soul and southern American
  • Noho
  • price 2 of 4
The tasteful East Village restaurant, whose weekend burlesque shows can get a little naughty, features French-ified soul food (think shrimp and grits and duck confit on brioche toasts). On Friday nights, the Plume Revue takes the stage in dramatic feathered costumes—and little else—with accompanying sultry tunes, and on Saturdays, beauties from troupe Tease Ohh Rama suspend from the ceiling, dance on poles and hula hoop.
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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Midtown East
  • price 2 of 4
The gaudy-but-delightful club has been hosting the best of NYC’s drag shows for more than two decades. There are Karaoke Tuesdays, Bitchy Bingo Wednesdays and on Sundays, redhead Ginger Snapt emcees a boozy afternoon of Broadway hits. Bar snacks and dinner entrees are named after performers, and there are frozen Cosmos to boot. Lips’ mantra? “The more you drink, the better we look.”
  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • Park Slope
If your ideal entertainment is less camp and more classical, check out the New Place Players, a 14-member troupe that performs intimate Shakespeare productions in restaurants and private homes. This fall, the group returns to Brooklyn’s Casa Duse with A Midsummer Night’s Dream as diners tuck into a five-course menu from Thomas Keller protégé Max Hansen. Oct 7, 8, 14, 15 at 6:30pm; $150 (includes show, meal and wine).
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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Tribeca
  • price 4 of 4
The corny-but-killer fun at this medieval-themed Tribeca den includes live “ninjas” who spring out of the shadows to surprise you as you head to your dungeon-like dining chamber. Feast on French-Japanese-American fare before concluding with a ninja-performed magic show. Because sure.
Queen of the Night
  • Theater
  • Circuses & magic
  • price 4 of 4

The Paramount Hotel’s “dark debutante ball” “Queen of the Night” might be the most truly immersive theater experience in the city. As diners tuck into a family-style meal of kale salad, potatoes au gratin, roast suckling pig and more, performers leap through hoops, juggle umbrellas and hang from the ceiling. Don’t expect to dine uninterrupted—at any moment, you might be whisked away to take part in a sexy striptease or led to a private chamber for a Freudian therapy session. $150 includes hors d’oeuvres, one cocktail, dinner and wine; special packages available for $200 and $400.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Murray Hill
The over-the-top Murray Hill restaurant hits all the mainstream Tokyo references: there’s a Godzilla mural, geisha Pop Art and a sumo wrestler on the ceiling. In addition to sushi and Japanese specialties, diners are treated to performances from their servers every 20 minutes. Choreographed by Asia Nitollano, a former Pussycat Doll, the numbers include flashing lights, Top 40 hits, disco balls and, occasionally, inebriated patrons joining in on the action.
Tatiana

Tatiana

The vodka is strong and the kicks are high at this sprawling Russian fantasyland in Brighton Beach. The restaurant offers Russian classics with some American fare mixed in, and puts on a 30-minute show in which elaborately yet somehow also scantily clad dancers perform everything from acrobatic moves to Russian folk dances.
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