The nights are getting longer, but that just means you can pack more fun into each one. Here are our choices for the best dinner and a show combinations this holiday season.
A Don’t Hug Me Christmas (Nov. 27-Jan. 3 at New Century Theatre)
This blockbuster musical comedy spoof of A Christmas Carol begins when a grumpy Minnesotan flees his bar on snowmobile. He falls through the ice and lands in a coma, where he is visited by the spirit of folk legend Sven Yorgensen.
Pre-show dinner: Manny’s Steakhouse A special night all calls for a visit to Manny’s and a delicious cut of meat.
Post-show drinks: Lee’s Liquor Lounge The closest you can get to a comfy small-town bar in downtown Minneapolis.
The New Standards (Dec. 4-5 at the State Theatre)
Question: What do you get when chart-topping rockers put down their synths and distortion pedals to form a jazz trio? Answer: The New Standards, whose annual holiday show is one of the must-see events of the season.
Pre-show dinner: Marin Elegant dining, just down the street from the theatre.
Post-show drinks: Dakota Jazz Club In case you need more jazz, or just want to take advantage of the 10 p.m. happy hour.
Russian Nutcracker (Dec. 5 at Orpheum Theatre)
The Moscow Ballet is in town for one night only, performing the holiday classic. Their spectacular production involves 40 dancers with more than 200 costumes.
Pre-show dinner: Hammer and Sickle The authentic Russian cuisine includes caviar paired with a vodka sample.
Post-show drinks: St. Petersburg Named one of the top-ten vodka bars in America by USA Today. It’s in Robbinsdale, but remember: the ballet came all the way from Moscow.
Cirque Dream: Holidaze (Dec. 11-12 at Orpheum Theatre)
Broadway director Neil Goldberg brings a practiced presentational execution to the acrobatic standards that make nouveau cirque a draw for theatergoers all around the world.
Pre-show dinner: Zelo Casual, but fanciful Italian fare. You never know who you’ll see.
Post-show drinks: Prohibition Sitting atop Foshay Tower, Minnesota’s most elevated bar has an extravaganza of a view.
All is Calm (Dec. 16-20 at Pantages Theatre)
A musical dramatization of the 1914 “Christmas Truce” between Allied and Central forces, inspired by the radio dramas which were popular at the time. “The heroes of this story are the lowest of the ranks—the young, the hungry, the cold, and the optimistic,” writes creator Peter Rothstein.
Pre-show dinner: BANK Fine dining on the street-level of the Westin Minneapolis, which was home to the Farmers and Mechanics Bank in the 1900s.
Post-show drinks: The Local The semi-private booths in this Irish Pub are the perfect setting to have a quiet conversation about the heavy themes of the play.
Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker (Dec. 19-23 at the State Theatre)
Minnesota’s longest running holiday arts event for more than 50 years has been called one of the ten best nutcrackers in the country by the New York Times. It still features Loyce Houlton’s original choreography.
Pre-show dinner: Crave The hip eatery, which servers a vibrant combo of American favorites and sushi, caters to theater goers, so even if you’re running a little late, they’ll help you get to the show on time.
Post-show drinks: Mackenzie Great drinks, a quaint atmosphere, and right next door to the theater.
Christmas Queens (Dec. 22 at Pantages Theatre)
Contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race sing songs from their new Christmas album. The show walks the line between naughty and family friendly, and there is a VIP option that includes a backstage meet-and-greet.
Pre-show dinner: Hell’s Kitchen Light hearted and quirky, but they serve up some good eats.
Post-show drinks: The Saloon Keep the party going with karaoke, dancing and a drag show at midnight (for adults only).