Where can you find showtunes nights in the USA?
If there is one trend that has picked back up in the USA it is Musical Theatre. All of us know and love musicals and love to sing a long, even if we didn’t realize that the song was a showtune. Musical Theatre has invaded Hollywood throughout time regardless of whether it is Funny Girl, Annie, Chicago or even modern shows like Wicked or if the rumor is accurate that the new remake of the Wizard of Oz showcasing quite a few broadway stars and even the possible make of In The Heights. Nintendo Wii just introduced a completely new game called Dance on Broadway which teaches you how to execute a professionally choreographed dance routine to some of the most well known and well-liked broadway showtunes.
With just about all of the main stream media channels going broadway crazy, the bar and lounge scene has started to really feel the pressure to add in musical theatre and showtunes nights and a few of the most famous showtunes nights at these lounges are now feeling the benefits of their commitment to theatre and hosting showtunes nights.
Here are some of the best showtunes nights in the USA. Feel free to leave a comment below if you find out of any other high quality or fabulous ones. I am aware that there is an outstanding one in Cleveland and some other metropolitan areas, I just don’t have enough time to write about them all.
Sidetracks Showtunes Night Chicago.
Sidetracks is the home of showtunes night in the United States. Sidetracks is a massive bar with large projection screens, several rooms, a rooftop bar, flat screen tv sets and Sidetracks Chicago delivers 3 or 4 nights of showtunes each and every week. Everynight for showtunes is packed full of people and Monday Night showtunes at Sidetracks is above and beyond the most popular. People act out the songs, sing and dance and what can make it much more fun is that Sidetracks is full audience participation, it is almost like you are going to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Sidetracks staff even gets into the spirit with wigs, singing and acting out their favorite characters. Whether you love Patty Lupone or Carol Channing, an Idina fan or a Kristen fan, you’ll have a ton of fun at showtunes night at Sidetracks in Chicago.
JRs in Washington DC.
JRs is one of the most broadly known bars in Dc. It was the first bar in DC to offer an official showtunes night where they only played and continue to blast showtunes everywhere. Shortly after other bars saw how well-liked JRs showtunes night is so they began to try and copy them. Unfortunately JRs hasn’t been able to keep up with the times. Even though it is still the standard in DC showtunes nights, JRs showtunes have taken a hit with crowds in Chicago, NY, Philly, Florida, Ohio and the (no longer) rivalling bar EFN Lounge which are different because they already have added in audience participation and a bar staff that sings along and contributes to the fun. JRs is still a staple and the most recommended showtunes night in DC. I also highly recommend it each and every Monday night, but if you want Chicago styled showtunes nights, you have to check out EFN Lounge (which is no longer running).
Don’t Tell Mama Showtunes in New York City
In the heart of Manhattan, just outside of Midtown is Don’t Tell Mama. A small bar in the basement of a building with a loud sound. Don’t Tell Mama is a piano bar that takes on an assortment of music but the most popular are the showtunes. How could you go wrong in New York City with showtunes, especially when you are around the corner from the actual Broadway where Musical Theatre started. Although it is not the greatest showtunes night or bar in the NYC, it is absolutely one with tons of personality and I have met a few cast members from Broadway Shows like Mama Mia there so it is without a doubt a locals bar too.
Splash Bar in NYC
Every single Monday people flock from all over Manhattan and NYC to Chelsea for Splash Bar’s showtunes on Monday Nights. Splash Bar is one of the most popular video bars and dance clubs and downstairs Splash Bar turns it lounge into the absolute best Showtunes Night in Manhattan every Monday evening and night. My friends get stuck upstairs with the 80’s music and the drag show, but I usually stay downstairs to spend time with Liza and all of the other broadway megastars you expect to watch on the screen. The showtunes night at Splash Bar covers just about all shows from many eras and is NYC’s best showtunes night of the week. The main complaint a few individuals have is that they play a lot of clips from the Tony Awards, but when you are in The big apple and the Tony’s are right there, why complain? I highly recommend splash bar’s Monday night showtunes night, especially since Broadway is black on Mondays and you cannot go to see a live show.
New York New York Showtunes Bar Pittsburgh PA
Unfortunately New York New York Showtunes Lounge in Pittsburgh PA no longer exists. It was replaced when the owners tried to help it become more contemporary and I guess the new owners just didn’t want showtunes. Not only was it one of the most popular spots for the Pittsburgh theatre community, but people would sing along to the music coming from the jukebox as well as go to the upstairs and to the back rooms where the piano player would work the broadway scores like there was no tomorrow. It was a shame when I discovered that New York New York in Pittsburgh got rid of their piano player and showtunes theme. Maybe someday they’ll bring showtunes back and get the theatre crowds to come back as well.
EFN Lounge in Washington, DC.
EFN Lounge (EFN Lounge has unfortunately shut down their doors for good but in honor of their wonderful showtunes night I wanted to include them in this post.) in Washington, D.C. is set sort of in the ghetto. Off of Logan circle, every Sunday a tiny but fabulous and loud group of showtune enthusiasts group together for food, fun and showtunes. The bar staff sings along and encourages you to get up and dance and with the exception of the weekend they devoted to bollywood (thank god they stopped that one), this is one of the best showtunes nights on the East Coast. Unfortunately because of the location many people don’t want to go, but with the neighborhood getting better every week, you’ll find a growing number of Broadway fans start pouring in for EFN Lounge Showtunes on Sunday evenings. It is full of life, fun and $2 Absolute Vodka drinks. It is a must attend event if you have nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon and evening in Washington DC.
Tavern on Camac Showtunes Philadelphia PA
Tavern is a classic Philadelphia bar. You can find Tavern on Camac off of a side street that hasn’t been updated and on an actual cobblestone road. Tavern really makes you believe you are back in the times of My Fair Lady when you are strolling up the historic roads. Tavern on Camac has the downstairs floor when you walk in and to your left you’ll find a huge grand piano. On Monday Nights in the downstairs at the piano, and I think Tuesdays as well, you’ll find a fabulous Pianist playing his favorite showtunes from all of the classic shows. He not only sings along but he also promotes the visitors to take a microphone and work their favorite showtunes along with him. He is one of the greatest showtunes piano sing a long hosts in the country and one that you cannot miss. The only bad side to it is that he really isn’t a fan of the newer shows so if you request one like Wicked or Avenue Q, be prepared to tip extra in order to get him to play it. He is incredibly talented and someone I always make an effort to see when I’m in Philly.
Partners Bar Rehoboth Beach Delaware
I found Partners Bar (It now has a new name but I cannot remember what the name is) in Rehoboth Beach Delaware from reading this Gay Wedding blog about what to do and where to go when you are in Rehoboth Beach. Partners is a small locals restaurant and bar with a small piano or keyboard (I can’t remember but I am pretty sure it was a keyboard). There was a younger piano player there named Matt and although he was a bit bitchy and had a diva attitude with some of the tourists (mainly me because I was a bit drunk at the time) when they wanted to sing, he was very talented. He not only played classic showtunes, but he also liked and played a lot of newer showtunes as well. I’m not sure if he is still there or not but my only problem was that he never let the audience sing into the microphone or wanted to actually share it. If he would have I probably would have gone back and not been as moody. He is very talented and I actually enjoyed the night there, but my opinion with showtunes night is that unless the audience gets to sing a long, it probably isn’t worth going back to.
The Hippo in Baltimore Maryland
The Hippo is a fantastic gay bar and one of the top night clubs in Baltimore. It is also a personal favorite club to have drinks in by the writers at Broadway Reviewed. Unfortunately we have had very negative communications with the individuals who claim to run the showtunes night at the Hippo so we will never set foot at showtunes at the Hippo in Baltimore, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go. The Hippo is a fabulous club, but since we were spoken down to and treated very rudely by the people who claim to manage or host showtunes there, we will find other clubs and bars to go to for showtunes nights. Unfortunately This also means that we cannot give it a legit review because we have not been there, but we did want to talk about it because it is supposed to have a showtunes night and if you are reading this post, that is probably what you are looking for. If you have been to showtunes night at the Hippo in Baltimore, please feel free to leave a comment below. All comments are being moderated and not all will be posted as a quick heads up.
Showtunes nights are becoming a favorite night out again in almost every major US city. If you have a favorite showtunes night or bar and want to review it here on Broadway Reviewed, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to include it into this post.