For lots of us, "dinner and a show" means gnawing on frozen pizza in front of the boob tube. That can be entertaining enough, sure, but there are plenty of opportunities to give those words a more traditional spin. At Crepe de Paris (1333 Fifth Ave., 206-623-4111), the current show comes courtesy of nationally acclaimed local composer Richard Gray. Songs like "Galloping Gertie" (about the Tacoma Narrows bridge, youngster) and musical comedy skits are his shtick; coming soon, Forbidden Xmas, his holiday show. And hey, no commercials. Friday and Saturday night combos are currently $47; for 20 bucks, you can skip dinner and just see the show, but the best seats go to the big spenders.
NIGHTLIFE: THE CLASSICS
Where to hold your own literary cocktail party, emphasis on the cocktail. By Roger Downey MORE
Pints, pubs, and punts. By Kate Silver MORE
Working stiff drinks. By Rick Anderson MORE
A week's worth of ivory tickling, tonic, and gin. By Rachel Shimp MORE
A night on the town with pinball, pool, Ping-Pong, and plenty of incessant bleeping. By Heather Logue MORE
Fireside: a quartet of local bars where "getting toasty" is a double entendre. By Neal Schindler MORE
Rooms with a view. By Laura Cassidy MORE
Thinking, not drinking. By Emily Page MORE
Singing for supper. By Laura Cassidy MORE
Onstage now at Thumper's (1500 E. Madison St., 206-328-3800) is There's a Lady on Stage, but we'll leave it up to you to decide about that. Arnaldo! (the exclamation mark is apparently part of the name; she's a "drag chanteuse") performs cabaret favorites and originals. And of course, there's Teatro ZinZanni (2301 Sixth Ave., 206-802-0015, www.zinzanni.org) and the Pink Door (1919 Post Alley, 206-443-3241, www.thepinkdoor.net), both cabaret houses where trapeze artists fly overhead as you try to duck and chew at the same time, and Dimitriou's Jazz Alley(2033 Sixth Ave., 206-441-9729, www.jazzalley.com), where dinner swings in a swank environment. Or the Triple Door's Mainstage(216 Union St., 206-838-4333, www.thetripledoor.net), a grand '20s-era vaudeville hall revived for world music, singer/songwriters, jazz, indie rock, and more. Typical dinner theater isn't offered, but with hyperattentive service and a menu that draws from Wild Ginger, the Triple Door's upstairs neighbor/big brother, it's easy to manage both.
Interested in a one-night stand? On Nov. 11, an ad-hoc dinning room will be set inside the gorgeous lobby of the Paramount Theatre (911 Pine St., 206-467-5510, www.theparamount.com) where local food industry kingpin Tom Douglas will create a special three-course menu to precede a performance by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. If all goes well, perhaps there will be a repeat performance.