The Heathman is a favorite spot of mine for pre- or post-event drinks and nosh. The lobby bar is the first thing you encounter upon entering, and the appetizers and drinks are good. The service is precise if a bit impersonal. The biggest downside is nabbing a table before the rest of the audience shows up.
(Rumor has it that there is a passageway between the Schnitz and the hotel that James DePriest and other performing luminaries take advantage of!)