Piano bars straddle a fine line on the nightlife scene, striking a balance between subdued ambiance and raucous celebration. Here are some of our picks for the best in the city, no matter what side of the balance you prefer.
- The Manhattan Inn: This casual-attire piano bar located in the Greenpoint neighborhood boasts at least one feature others can’t: Joe McGinty, former keyboardist for the Psychedelic Furs, leading karaoke. Smokin’ Billy Slater plays boogie-woogie on certain nights, and Erika Spring (Au Revoir Simone) DJs on Wednesdays. The bar’s full range of drinks and small restaurant menu are available any day of the week.
- The Duplex: Found on Christopher Street at 7th Avenue, this historic bar features pop piano music every night starting at 9. Broadway talents have been known to stop in at the venue to perform on occasion. The Duplex is also home to the Duplex Cabaret Theatre, a 70-seat off-Broadway stage with nightly performances.
- Don’t Tell Mama: You can tell by the name that this bar offers something a little different. The name comes from the 1966 musical Cabaret, and the venue does indeed feature live cabaret performances (and has done so since its opening in 1982). DTM is also a 2010 Zagat-Rated Nightlife spot, and has been featured on shows like Friends and SNL. The piano bar is open every day of the week, and will whet your musical appetite while their delicious menu does the same for your real one.
- Brandy’s Piano Bar: Brandy’s is located on the Upper East Side and welcomes a variety of patrons every night. You’re sure to hear some of your favorite classic songs, as opposed the show tunes that are prevalent at other locations. There’s no cover charge here, but there is a 2-drink minimum per set, and a service charge for parties of five or more.
The popular Rose’s Turn Piano Bar & Cabaret closed down on July 22, 2007 after 17 years of service. However, the spirit of the fan-favorite venue lives on in the other locations on this list. In fact, Rose’s Turn had a special connection with one of themit was founded in the original site of the Duplex.