The city of Philadelphia has made a contribution to the musical world that cannot be denied, and has influenced countless artists worldwide. The sounds that have come from the City of Brotherly Love span a broad musical palette, from the 70s soul sounds of McFadden and Whitehead to influential hip-hop acts such as The Roots. Along with a thriving underground scene, and the continuing popularity of the old “Philly Soul” movement, some of the finest music venues in the city can be found in its unassuming piano lounges, where you might discover a star of the future - after all, Billy Joel and Liza Minelli were both regulars at some of America’s cherished venues. Below, we’ll take you through some of the best piano bars in the area, from the ones that insist on audience participation to those that offer you a chance to enjoy a tasty meal to the accompaniment of softer sounds. Whatever your preference, you’re certain to find there’s something for you in the best piano bars in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1. Jolly's Dueling Piano Bar
If one piano is good, then two pianos must be even better - that’s just maths. Your experience at Jolly’s Dueling Piano Bar should certainly prove that point, as skilled piano players take to the ivories (and ebonies) in a battle to deliver the most tuneful experience. Audience participation is actively encouraged, although you should limit yourself to singing and let the professionals deal with the instrumentation, as they deliver an eclectic playlist including such favourites as Billy Joel (who, after all, gave us the hit single “Piano Man”). One thing’s for sure - if you’re into music, then this is a first-rate option for you and your party.
Jolly's Dueling Piano Bar
Address: 110 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Website: Jolly’s Dueling Piano Bar
Opening hours: Fri - Sat: 8:30pm - 2am (closed from Sun - Thu)
2. Howl at the Moon
As the name suggests, events at this Philly institution are never dull, and the exuberant good-time feel is just perfect for any party you’re planning - they even have special bookings for bachelorette and holiday parties among other events. A stage at one end of the dance floor features a large grand piano where the virtuoso players will unleash their inner Jerry Lee Lewis, providing a fantastic musical backdrop to whatever memories you care to make.
Howl at the Moon
Address: 258 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA
Website: Howl at the Moon
Opening hours: Wed - Sat: 5pm - 2am (closed from Sun - Tue)
3. The Nauti Mermaid Crab House and Piano Bar
Combining fresh Philly seafood and excellent tunes, the Nauti Mermaid is (pardon the pun) music to the ears of lucky patrons, with delicious crab rolls and heaving plates of paella among the culinary delights on offer. Located on Chestnut Street, you can enjoy a tasty, filling meal before listening to local musicians delivering the classics on a baby grand. With happy hours lasting from 4pm to 7pm, it’s an experience to be enjoyed if you’re in Philadelphia.
The Nauti Mermaid Crab House and Piano Bar
Address: 110 Chestnut St 1st floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 4pm - 10pm; Fri: 4pm - 11pm; Sat 11am - 11pm; Sun 11am - 9pm (closed on Mon)
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4. Bistro Romano
A classic Italian restaurant with regular piano performances, Bistro Romano is not quite the same experience as the rock'n'roll you can expect at some others. Here, the music will be of a softer nature, to match the ambience of what is a very charming eatery. From gnocchi served in black and white truffle cream, to veal saltimbocca, there is a range of delicious dishes on offer, and all to the soundtrack of classic piano music.
Address: 120 Lombard St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Website: Bistro Romano
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 4:30pm - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 4:30pm - 11pm; Sun: 4:30pm - 9pm
5. Tavern on Carnac
Open every day, this cool piano bar offers the best in local music and the very best in cocktails, which is a mix that will be very well-received on any night out. The bar offers USD 2 off all drinks during their happy hour, and is adjoined by an intimate restaurant serving fine food. It’s worth noting that there’s a bit of history to the venue, too. Parts of the building were used for the Underground Railroad which allowed escaped slaves to travel onward to free states and North into Canada so you can fit a bit of historical sight-seeing in with your food and drink.
Tavern on Carnac
Address: 243 S Camac St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Website: Tavern on Carnac
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 5pm - 12am; Fri - Sat: 5pm - 1am
6. Knock Restaurant and Bar
Offering a fine dining experience and a soundtrack to match, Knock is one of Philadelphia’s classiest spots, and well-recommended for a filling brunch, or a larger, later meal with a menu that offers a range of steakhouse options as well as perfectly cooked seafood and vegetarian dishes. The main dining area is served by a standalone grand piano from which a skilled tunesmith serenades the diners with soft music, offering a very appealing way to spend a few spare hours.
Knock Restaurant and Bar
Address: 225 S 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA
Website: Knock Restaurant and Bar
Opening hours: 11am - 2am (daily)
7. Duel Piano Bar
Duel is a piano bar with a difference - and we really mean that, because how many bars do you know that combine piano music with auctioneering? The idea here is that the audience can request songs to be played and offer a tip to the pianist. The patron with the highest tip gets their song played first. If, however, you’re not a fan of the song being played, you can offer a higher tip still to stop it, but be warned - there will be a chance for the original requester to outbid you and ensure their request gets played.
Duel Piano Bar
Address: 1420 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19102
Website: Duel Piano Bar
Philadelphia's piano bars are heaven for music fans
The list of piano bars in Philadelphia is - much like the city’s own music scene - eclectic and well-equipped to serve all. Whether you want to hear the classics played by a talented pianist, or get the chance to hear someone perform their own material in a venue that gives it the perfect acoustic setting, if you want to hear soft music while you dine or if you want to sing your heart out in a more enthusiastic setting–there’s sure to be something for you among the above venues. Few cities come close to Philadelphia’s diversity of musical flavours, whether it’s a soul, classical or jazz feel you’re after. If you’re heading to Philly, then check out these venues to ensure you have a fine time.
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