The space itself, situated in the basement of the historic Crest Theatre, is eclectic and unfussy with an open kitchen, 170 dining seats, large booths and a chef’s table for private dining. The Tavern inhabits a void underneath the Crest Theatre created in 19th century when Sacramento’s street level was raised due to flooding.
Empress Tavern is named for the Empress Theatre which was the original name of the theatre when it was built as a vaudeville palace in 1912.
Book your next event with us
New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers
Enjoy our famous 5 course prix fixe dinner and sip champagne from our beautiful cart! $125/person for food.
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Had a great time celebrating our office year end party. The food is actually a 4.5 star what keeps it from 5 stars is my spouse requested her Rib Eye as medium well plus and was far closer to medium - unfortunately she doesn't like to return food...
Great place for a drink or two, though pricey. Menu items are al carte and entrees run from $26 to $60; four of us spent $370 for 4 entrees, 4 cocktails, 4 beers ($14 per cocktail, $8 per beer), two salads, one side and 20% tip. The meal was not worth $90 per person.
Great place to go before a show at the Crest. Our server was terrific. Went above and beyond to make our time enjoyable and fun. Food was great, especially the fried chicken and the Brussels sprouts.
Our server was very good, professional and attentive.
The meal would barely rate a fair.
We were shocked at the low quality of the rib-eye, considering the price. Very gristly, and flat taste.
The butter lettuce salad was surprisingly blah. Not much flavor, many dry leaves with no dressing and a couple of lonely half grapes. It seemed like someone in the kitchen was having a bad night.
It's too bad, the ambience is so nice. We won't return.
Outstanding food in a lovely space. While it may seem meat-centric, we are pescatarians and Empress is our go-to place for a special occasion or date night. The service is great, the food is consistently impressive, and they are more than wiling to work with dietary needs. Terrific cocktails, interesting wine selections, and amazing vegetarian and seafood choices. And the warm apple pie currently on the menu? My goodness.
It's a shame that the owner's of Empress haven't been able to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in the architecturally amazing space. With multiple interlocking brick archways the space is incredible, but the lighting does nothing to highlight or take advantage of the brickwork. Instead it feels almost fluorescent - blue and cold. Changing the concrete floor for the right wood laminate to compliment the brick would also warm the place up. Much of my disappointment is because the restaurant could be a landmark destination if completed correctly.
3 stars because the service was exceptional otherwise it would have been a 2 since food was so so. Noise level was through the roof. Might opt to eat somewhere else next we go to a show at Crest Theater and stop for a drink at the bar after the show.
The food and cocktails never fail to impress. Everyone’s meal was excellent. Service was lightning fast and courteous.
Love this place!
It was very loud but great service.
Great food and fun place. Way overpriced and limited menu. Very loud.
The perfect place to catch dinner and drinks before a show at the Crest Theatre. Never been here before and we would definitely go back.
We were going to a show at the theater upstairs. I had to rush back to the hotel to get the tickets after my wife and I had ordered. The staff noticed I was gone and offered to put the food under the heat lamps while I was gone to keep it warm. Even after that the scallops were delicious. The service was great. Cocktails were spot on.
Our first visit as temporarily repatriated Sacramentans - spectacular! The staff and service were prompt and professional and the food and drink were first-rate. The noise level was high - but, hey, it's a brick cellar! Highly recommended, especially if you're booked for a show at the Crest.
Have dined here a few times before shows at The Crest. Food is never BAD... just never that good! Menu selections are limited and after trying several of the standard fare...not impressed.
Service is always good and cocktails are as you should expect. Wine selections could be better. Wil look for other downtown options before shows.
We ate here before attending a concert in the theater upstairs. The food was very good, the service was excellent - attentive and helpful in the extreme. Highly recommended.
I had never eaten here before and after my experience and I’m unlikely to do so again. While the ambiance and decor is nice and interesting, we came for the food. The menu is extremely limited. My colleague and I both ordered the $60 ribeye steaks. I cannot adequately express how salty these meals were; quite nearly inedible. Neither can I express how much gristle was in each steak that we battled with. Rather than needing better steak knives we needed chainsaws. This was the worst value I could possibly imagine in a restaurant that otherwise comes so highly rated. There are other restaurants to try for me in Sacramento. No second chances after this.
Very unique cocktail list with flavorful drinks. Everyone at our table ate something different and each one loved their food.
The place to go before catching a show at the Crest Theater.
Empress Tavern was a recommendation from a coworker and we were very pleased with our meal. The food was excellent. The restaurant itself was delightful. It was very loud inside and made conversation difficult.
Gourmet at it's finest. The beef cheek stroganoff was simply out of this world!
First visit and loved everything!
Really enjoyed this restaurant. We were there for business dinner in one of the booths. Very comfortable. Service was excellent, attentive but not overbearing. Lamb was excellent. Ambiance is excellent, walls not cluttered with memorabilia.
Food excellent as well as service. Only one thing, $17 is a little steep for a martini served up in an
old-fashioned champagne glass, tacky.
Great Restaurant. Probably one of the nicest places in Sacramento. Staff was nice and friendly, food was incredible. Can’t say enough good things.
Absolutely love the ambiance!! Great food and better cocktails!!!
Tonight was our first night at Empress Tavern. After working in the service industry for a couple years, I understand the hard work that goes into it. I must say, Jordon has impeccable service. He went above and beyond, he made our experience the highlight of our weekend. Thank you Jordon and the chefs for such an amazing meal and date night experience!!!
Friendly staff once we got there, front desk phone service could have been friendlier. The waitress and food were top notch. Looking forward to my next visit when I’m in Sacramento.
All the food was delicious, all the employees were very hospitable from the host to the servers. Love the vibe and all the decor perfect for special occasions and date night. Thank you for making my mom’s birthday special especially with the card with a handwritten message! We were in a booth off to the side so I feel like it wasn’t as loud as other reviews reported. If you are meeting friends make your calls and texts messaged before entering or going down the stairs since there is little to no service. We had an awesome time. Already making plans to go back again.
As usual, our Mills were yummy! The atmosphere was lively yet quiet. Can't wait to go back again!
Great choice when going to an event at the Crest. We went with appetizers. Would be great to have some moderately priced items on the entree menu. The hot buns were top notch.
amazing venue with a great food selection. perfect for a date night out, or a nice dinner after exploring downtown sac!
The lamb was dry and the bone marrow was not warm but room temperature. They recooked the bone marrow.
The service was excellent, except that she tried to say that the lamb was dry was because my daughter was outside (for less than two minutes).
Awesome service, food, and atmosphere. This one of our favorite places for a nice dinner.
The host wasn't present for 5 minutes and I had to ask the bartender for him to appear. The food was not anything special as I had the bone marrow and lamb shank. The setting of the restaurant was nice and the reason for choosing the place. Our waiter was attentive guy and remembered our orders, but thats all I can say about him. The food was overpriced for the quality that came out. The most appetizing meal I had were the biscuits that were complimentary in the beggining. So, in the end I was dissapointed.
Always an outstanding dining experience at Empress, and it's our place to go when we want to treat ourselves after a long day or for a special occasion. Service is always on point - servers, bar staff, bussers all work in tandem to make the experience great. You can't go wrong wit any dishes you eat here, from appetizers to entrees to sides. Even their Happy Hour menu is probably our favorite in town. You can tell the team takes pride in their work. It shows.
Our party was promptly seated early. Our server was extremely helpful and friendly. We had a wonderful variety of meals to choose from. We were at no time rushed.
We loved the ambiance & the food was good. The location is ideal if you’re going to a concert at Crest or the arena. My only complaint is that we arrived at 1730 for our reservation & were told that all the empty booths & tables were reserved seating for other reservations that weren’t arrived yet due to a “full house” because of the concert & there was no wiggle room. I was denied a full booth or a table in the middle. We were seated next to other couples when the restaurant only had about 5 tables seated at that time. It seemed like they were seating for server station convenience and not customer service. I think that there should be first come, first serve for seating preferences not based on a “full house.” The booths didn’t get fully seated until 30 minutes into our dinner.
Nice place. Food and service was good. Food was over priced. Would only come back once in a blue moon because of price.