First published on 17 Jun 2008. Updated on 15 Jul 2009.
Want to... hear some tunes?
The trusty Vanguard is an intimate live music venue and restaurant that has long played host to the greats of Australian and international music. Almost vaudeville décor dresses the New Orleans-styled venue, whose owners were inspired by the beautiful, lived in district of LA. Known widely as Sydney's house of jazz and blues, its friendly and unpretentious ambience has been on the radar of the Newtown set for a while. With Dinner and Show tickets starting at only $36, it's hard to beat in charm and quality.
Although The Basement is famous for its great music, you can make a proper night of it by taking in their dinner-and-show ticket option, where entry and a two course dinner are combined in the price. The meals are tuned to the Aussie palate: simple and likeable. Catch the upcoming Dylan tribute show, or a host of local and international acts as broad as Sparkadia and Sola Rosa. Their house band has more talented musicians than the club has seats.
The Brass Monkey
The slogan says it all: "Good food, good wine, great live music." In the past, this popular Cronulla destination has played host to Sarah Blasko, The Whitlams and Little Birdy and continues to host a bevy of talented acts almost every night of the week. The menu is similarly delicious, featuring mezze and tapas dishes designed for sharing as well as a wine list that rivals that of many restaurants. Perhaps this Brass monkey is, in fact, gold.
Want to... enjoy some cabaret/theatre?
The Supper Club, Will & Toby's
This venue brings sexy back with sleek and sophisticated live entertainment channelling Sinatra at the Sands, and a little Oxford St charm too. We're talking mirrors and zebra hide chairs; we're talking leather lounges and delightfully dimmed lighting. And as they say, the lighting defines an establishment. Revisit the golden days or revel in the present with a Dinner and Show package, often just $10 more than the price of a ticket alone.
The Old Fitzroy Theatre
This Sydney classic melds old school charm with new school arts and boasts a laksa to be reckoned with. In fact, The Old Fitz has more than its productions to be proud of; they offer a beer, a laksa and a show at a bargain price. The Tamarama Rock Surfers call the theatre home but various companies take stage, hosting a range of productions from spoken word to baby-eating politico and traditional theatre. Whether it's a contemporary piece or a Shakespearian tribute, they've got you covered. Or if it's just a good feed and a beer you're after, well, you can have your show and eat it, too.
Fright Night Comedy Theatre Restaurant
If two hours of fully choreographed live comedy and rock'n'roll theatre (themed with Rocky Horror Picture Show-type costumes) is your thing, don't we have the venue for you! The Friday Night Comedy Theatre dishes up the hottest local acts, taking musical theatre to new dinner heights. Want more? The theatre turns into a dance party after the show so you can keep partying, and work off your meal. Oh, behave!
Want to... get nautical?
Opera Cruise, Captain Cook Cruises
Weren't a part of the team when the originals invaded Australia? Don't miss the boat this time. Captain Cook Cruises are the perfect opportunity to dress up and the feel goosebumps when you hear the incredible and inspiring voices of principal Australian Opera Singers performing some of the world's most popular arias. If that's not enough, it includes a three course contemporary Australian a la carte dinner and a coffee as you glide over Sydney harbour.
Captain Cook Cruises, Departs Jetty No.6, Circular Quay, 2000. (1800 804 843). 7-9.30pm, Thu & Sun.
Cabaret Cruise, Sydney Showboats
Enjoy a dinner and cabaret show comprising a three course a la carte dinner, followed by a one hour 'Moulin Rouge' style cabaret show, featuring international acts and a cabaret singer. It'll almost be like walking in Nicole Kidman's Moulin shoes for a night, but with less decision making and moral conflict.
Sydney Showboats, King St Wharf, Darling Harbour, 2000. (02 8296 7295). Departs May-Sep: Mon-Tues, Thurs-Sat at 7.30pm; Oct-Apr: Daily at 7.30pm.
Want to... defy easy categorisation?
If you want to get your Tanya Zaetta on without getting the troops involved, Planet Bollywood is for you. An evening at Planet Bollywood is a mixture of dinner and entertainment; cocktails and karaoke, or watching the latest Bollywood blockbuster. Sounds like you could spend a week there, really. You can sing or dance the night away and if that's not interactive enough, the wonderful hosts can dress you up in Bollywood costumes.
Nestled among the Luna Park landmark, Sonar is the latest venue to join Sydney's 'Dinner and Show' ranks. The tickets include your choice of a main meal and a side, and with choices including pork cutlet marinated in honey, lime & caraway seeds with minted carrots, it sounds like a winner to us. They've got the musical spectrum covered from big band brass to pop and rock - as well as comedy with their Ha Ha Harbour nights - so take a seat and enjoy the show.