Don’t Tell Mama

343 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036
Hours: 4p-4a Daily
Subway: A,C,E to 42nd St/Port Authority or C,E to 50th St
N,R,S,1,2,3,7,9 to 42nd St/Times Sq

Written by: Heather McCown

Don’t Tell Mama opened in 1982, bringing a unique blend of karaoke and cabaret to the Theater District. Well-known on the performance circuit—Edie Falco, Rosie O’Donnell, or Eileen Fulton occasionally show up for a tune or two—it was also a location venue for sitcoms such as Friends and Will & Grace.

Nestled mid-block on 46th Street in Restaurant Row, DTM welcomes everyone, boasting a mixed crowd of singers and revelers. Entertaining and personable, DTM fills a gap; Jennifer Pace, one of the venue’s celebrated bartenders, explains: “There are not a lot of Mom & Pop joints anymore.”

Comprised of a main room and two private cabaret rooms, the club expanded in 1992 to include a restaurant serving New American Cuisine. When not dining, patrons can sit at black cocktail tables in the mirrored main room and enjoy the piano bar, or catch a dedicated act in one of the private rooms—a perfect spot to throw a party.

The burgundy walls are adorned with signed photographs of artists who have performed, such as: Eileen Fulton, Bea Arthur, Rue McLanahan, Jay Bradley, Kathy Griffin and Neil Patrick Harris. Jennifer relates a story of Tony Danza accidently burning a hole in her stockings one packed night, back when smoking was allowed.

DTM is unassuming, but holds its own.  The booking director, Sidney Myer, clarifies that it is truly a performing arts center as it hosts acts from rock to opera, cabaret, gospel, and even magicians. He states, “Everyone has to start somewhere, and for many this is the place they began.” Even the staff, which also performs, considers this a place to hone their craft. 

While many of the performers have gone on to win Emmy and Grammy awards, and even the $100,000 Grand Prize on Star Search, don’t be intimidated. If you choose to sing, DTM’s friendly staff will guarantee you enjoy belting out a tune, whether it be a standard, or Lady Gaga’s latest.

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