by Alexis Korman - 110 Reviews - 7 List
If you're heading to Lincoln Center for a show, you need to know the best restaurants and bars near Lincoln Center. Whether you're genuinely into ballet or the opera--or just trying to impress your date--you'll want to have the best eats and drinks possible. Luckily, the surrounding streets boast plenty of pre-show cocktails or post-show meal options to suit any style. Here's our guide to the best restaurants and bars near Lincoln Center. (Photo by Diluvi on Flickr)
Updated: September 08, 2010
An unmarked doorway. A staircase scattered with rose petals. Strong, custom-made cocktails. Low, red lighting. Nope, you're not in the Lower East Side. You've discovered Shalel Lounge, a little-known gem on the Upper West Side. Bonus: for those without a romantic bone in their bodies, simply knowing about this sexy cavern will make you look cool, and the cushioned nooks present plenty of opportunities for post-show smooching.
If men in tights aren't your thing but you're still being dragged to the ballet, head to Rosa Mexicano to re-assert your masculinity. Sure, it may be colorful and filled with ladies, but heaping bowls of freshly pounded guacamole and hangover-inducing shots of tequila will make you feel masculine again, while your date can presumably enjoy the joint's famous, pink pomegranate margaritas.
Just tell the maitre?d your curtain time, and you'll find your fabulous meal pleasantly paced at Terrance Brennan's old world-style French-Mediterranean restaurant. Who cares that you're having dinner at 5pm when the food and service are this good? Picholine's elegant atmosphere is the perfect choice for impressing in-laws or co-workers before the opera.
Red and white checkered tablecloths sum up the decor at this fun, no-frills, wood-accented pub-staurant located just steps from Lincoln Center. Burgers are the name of the game here, and P.J. Clarkes serves a great one--making it an excellent choice for a filling bite and an ice-cold beer after the show. Or, if you're strapped for time, pop by the restaurant's raw bar for some oysters and a quick glass of Chablis before the show.
Let's say that Wagner isn't at the top of your playlist, but you're going out with a group of aficionados--who just so happen to be staying on your couch. Where to take them to dine? Gabriel's is a solid choice for a familiar, old-school meal perfect for a pre-performance get together. A slightly older crowd digs the dependable Italian eats, while the large mirrors ensure you'll never lack for conversation starters: Gabriel's is a hot spot for people-watching.
Located in the Time Warner Center, this go-to shop for gourmands offers adorable pre-theater treats that make fine munchies on your walk over to Lincoln Square. (Really, who can resist fresh chocolate-dipped strawberries?) Swing by the shop for a nicely packaged box of truffles, or come post-show for an enticing dessert. Either way, this chocolate shop is a pretty sweet choice for Lincoln Center-goers.