LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATRE at the West Bank Café
West Bank Cafe Announces Music Schedule for Month of April, including Joe Iconis and Billy Stritch.
Historic theatre district eatery, West Bank Cafe, has announced the schedule for live music in their dining room for the month of April. Featuring jazz legends, cabaret icons, and Tony nominated performers this schedule is sure to attract many patrons, and reservations are strongly encouraged by calling 212-695-6909 or visiting resy.com.
The restaurant which opened in 1978 is also home to The Laurie Beechman Theatre. The club was saved over the holidays by a successful GoFundMe Campaign and Christmas Day telethon. Owners Steve Olsen and Janet Momjian are thrilled to welcome back patrons with live entertainment every night. “What Tom and Michael D’Angora, along with Tim Guinee, and Joe Iconis did for us this winter was truly astounding,” said Olsen, “The theatre and cabaret community really came together for us, when you’re in the middle of the grind, it is easy to forget that you’ve created a place that people love and call home, the whole thing was really inspiring.”
Last spring Olsen made the decision to move The Beechman’s piano upstairs to the front window. “We had the windows open and made the world’s smallest cabaret room on the sidewalk before indoor dining was allowed. Now that we’ve got patrons inside again, it is exciting to still have the live music in the front window“.
“When we reopened for indoor dining, it just didn’t feel right to not have performers here with us,” said Momjian “the energy of artists is such a part of what our place is. So while we are working on a plan to reopen The Beechman, we made a commitment to have live music upstairs in the dining room every night we are open.”
Currently West Bank Cafe is open Wednesday-Sunday 4-10pm, with live music each night from 7-9pm. There is currently no cover charge for dinner music, though virtual tip jars for the performers are available. The music schedule for the month of April is:
Thurs. April 1: Mark Nadler
Fri. April 2: The Jazz Bandits
Sat. April 3: The Gabrielle Stravelli Trio
Sun. April 4: Mardie Millit and Michael Garin
Wed. April 7: Aisha DeHaas and Jon Webber
Thurs. April 8: Lauren Marcus and Joe Iconis
Fri. April 9: The Jazz Bandits
Sat. April 10: The Gabrielle Stravelli Trio
Sun. April 11: Mardie Millit and Michael Garin
Wed April 14: The Drinkwater Brothers
Thurs. April 15: Mark Nadler
Fri. April 16: The Jazz Bandits
Sat. April 17: The Gabrielle Stravelli Trio
Sun. April 18: Billy Stritch
Wed April 21: Eric Yves Garcia
Thurs. April 22: Lauren Marcus with Joe Iconis
Fri. April 23: The Jazz Bandits
Sat. April 24: The Gabrielle Stravelli Trio
Sun. April 25: Billy Stritch
Wed April 28: Eric Yves Garcia
Thurs. April 29: Tracy Stark and Gretchen Reinhagen
Fri. April 30: The Jazz Bandits
Performers subject to change, and the full schedule is also available at westbankcafe.com.
Now open for in-door and sidewalk dining with all Covid regulations followed, The West Bank is offering a full dining experience along with LIVE entertainment upstairs (not in The Laurie Beechman Theatre yet!) for 2 sets of music between the hours of 7:00-9:00 on Thursday-Sunday. The restaurant is open to delivery, pick up and serve Thursday-Sunday between the hours of 4:00-10:00 pm.
407 W. 42nd St.
The History of The West Bank
West Bank Cafe opened in 1978. It was as “far-west” on 42nd Street as one would want to venture, at a time when Hell’s Kitchen lived up to its name. The restaurant’s early clients even included the notorious Irish gang, the Westies.
In 1980, The New York Times awarded West Bank two stars, which increased its visibility and attracted a wider range of diners. In her review, Mimi Sheraton described the restaurant as “a spirited, attractive [place] with…a number of exceptional dishes memorable for both originality and excellence.” The original Continental menu included dishes such as crudités and sole amandine—a window into the culinary times.
In this era, West Bank Cafe’s owner, Steve Olsen opened the Laurie Beechman Theatre downstairs from the Cafe, which staged plays and hosted events nightly. A young Lewis Black was named playwright-in-residence; Howard Stern aired his third-annual live birthday broadcast from the theater; and the restaurant’s regulars included Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Bruce Willis, among others.
Soon the redevelopment of 42nd Street spread further west, bringing new businesses and residents to the area. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, the restaurant was a leader in the growing Theater District and Hell’s Kitchen dining scenes. As new theaters opened in the area, the restaurant’s connection to stage and screen remained strong as well. The Laurie Beechman Theatre continued to regularly stage the work of emerging writers, actors, and singers (many of whom later became stars) as well as established acts: The Who even gave four live performances at the restaurant while their musical Tommy was running on Broadway.
After 38 years, the restaurant’s surrounding neighborhood and America’s culinary tastes have changed dramatically. West Bank Cafe has evolved along with the neighborhood and maintained a commitment to serving high-quality food in a unpretentious setting where both theater-goers and theatre stars feel at home.
STEVE OLSEN, Owner
Owner Steve Olsen began working in the restaurant industry at age 16. He started in the kitchen and worked his way through every position in the business. Steve opened the West Bank Cafe when he was all of 24. A passionate wine collector, he has amassed over 250 labels and holds vinification, viniculture, and blind wine tasting certificates from the American Sommelier Association. In keeping with West Bank Cafe’s close ties to the theater and film worlds, Steve has nurtured young actors, writers, and directors—including Lewis Black, Sean Penn, and Side Man playwright Warren Leight—many of whom appeared in and staged performances at the downstairs Laurie Beechman Theater, on their way to accomplished careers.