Don't tell Mama
Cabaret and Cocktails - New York City, USA
A short wander from the main strip of Broadway theatres, on Restaurant Row in NYC, I unexpectedly had one of the most entertaining nights of my life.
If you are looking for strong drinks, random outbreaks of song and a real taste of NYC entertainment then you must visit 'Don't Tell Mama'. It is a vibrant music lounge hosting cabaret shows, a comedy club and a live piano lounge, that has been welcoming customers since 1982.
We randomly stumbled upon the bar, attracted by the neon sign and a fantastically extravagant piano solo ringing out into the street. It is impossible not to be pulled in by the excitable mood, with the loud music and exceptionally welcoming bar staff. The ambience really is the crowd, which consists of mainly locals from the city or aspiring Broadway actors. We chose to spend our evening in the Piano Bar which holds no cover charge and had a wonderfully buzzing atmosphere.
Make your way through the plush, purple velvet seating area to the main bar but do not be surprised if your server breaks into song before asking for your drink order. The drinks are at the higher end of the price scale but they are incredibly generous with their alcohol portions. Opt for a cocktail or mixer rather than beer and your money will go far. Squeezing our way behind a table on a shared sofa, a middle-aged man in a 'Free Willy' t-shirt and old, greying cap stepped up to the microphone. During the introductory piano piece I was slightly dubious about what to expect, yet what came next was an incredible voice and the most beautiful rendition of 'Giant Steps' by John Coltrane I have ever heard.
Do not be afraid to strike up conversation with other customers! Left to fend for myself whilst my companion went to the bathroom, I found myself thoroughly engaged in conversation with the occupants of the next table. As city locals they gave me plenty of advice on how to spend the rest of my stay, and also helped me to discover the delights of the famous Strawberry-Basil Martini.
- Don't Tell Mama is on 343 West 46th Street, NY, 10036-3871. It is open daily from 4pm until 4am. The nearest underground stop is 50th Street, and there is street parking outside the venue. Call (212) 757-0788 or visit www.donttellmamanyc.com for further details. The piano bar offers live piano music from 5pm and now hosts an open mic night 7 nights a week: Monday to Saturday from 9pm and on Sunday from 8pm. Happy hour is also daily from 4pm-9pm, so try to arrive around 8pm to avoid the crowds, get a good seat and make the most of cheaper drinks! Alternatively, the cabaret rooms hold individual shows, with a $10-$15 cover charge and a 2 drink minimum.
- For flights and fares from London to New York, visit www.americanairlines.co.uk