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Tinkling Ivories - The Rise of The Piano Bar

Updated on August 24, 2015

Each year, more and more people find different things to do while going out on the town. In fact, there is more selection now than ever before, yet most of the time the events revolve around eating and drinking, and going to bars! However, that is necessarily not a bad thing.

Today, bars are pretty much the most common choice for going out for many people. The good news is, there are several different types of bars to go to. Most people only think of alcoholic bars when they think of bars, however, there are also juice bars, non-alcoholic bars, and specialist entertainment bars – and one of the newest types of bars that are becoming rather popular; especially in bigger cities, are piano bars!

Some people have heard of piano bars, and might have gone to one; but large numbers of people have never even heard of a piano bar! In fact, piano bars are types of bar that people go to where the atmosphere is based around the piano. You may also find them known as piano lounges. They usually have a piano - or an electric keyboard - that is usually played by a professional musician. You'll usually find the musician has a tip jar for money from pleased customers by or near the piano.

Types of Piano Bar

What many people don't know about piano bars is that there are several different types of piano bars! Some different types of piano bars include:

  • Instrument Only Piano Bar - this is where the musician only plays music that is instrumental; which is usually along the lines of classical or easy listening music. These are the types of bars that are in lobbies of hotels or in restaurants.

  • Only the Musician Sings Piano Bar - this type of bar is where it is strictly only the musician that plays the piano or keyboard; usually no one else but the musician is allowed by the piano.

  • The Musician and Waitperson Sing Piano Bar - this type of bar is where the musician invites the waiting staff to join in on singing solos. It is only the musician and the wait staff singing, however, no non-staff.

  • Sing-Along Piano Bar - this type of bar has people standing around the piano or keyboard singing together as a group; usually singing standardized music (some of today and some of yester-years), nothing special. It thus caters for those who want to be able to join in.

  • Dueling Piano Bars - this type of bar usually has 2 pianos or keyboards on a small stage, that are played by professional singers or entertainers. Usually these bars have loud sound systems. Also, these bars often play more contemporary music.

  • Open Mic Bar - this type of bar allows new talent sing along with the piano. It is a way for would-be singers to be "found" by people looking for musicians. This type of bar is along the same lines as karaoke, but rather than anyone having a go, the singers are supposed to be genuine singers looking to showcase their talent. Here you will find any type of music, whatever is chosen by the singers.

  • Combination Bar - this type of bar is a bar that has a combination of any two of the above mentioned bars. However, it is rotated on different days or nights of the week.

Despite of what many people think, piano bars are really becoming a big thing! Not only are piano bars in New York, New York or Los Angeles, California; but they are also all over different states. In fact, there are many popular piano bars that many famous people go to or sing at!

When it comes to all the different piano bars, there are many of them that are famous. However, most of the really famous piano bars are those that are in Las Vegas, on the main strip. It is very hard for piano bars to compete with such big and fancy piano bars as those in Las Vegas. However, there are many other famous piano bars that are in Chicago and New York. In fact, there is even a piano bar that is downtown inside of Time Square; which is the Rock & Roll Dueling Piano Bar! There are also many known piano bars that are world wide, as well! In fact, the Hard Rock Café is one that is throughout the world! However, no piano bars are quite as popular as those that are in Las Vegas!

Many of the greatest piano bars that are open have been opened for many years. In fact, many of the piano bars that are open in the hotels/casinos in Las Vegas have been open since day one of opening the casino. However, there have been times that the hotels/casinos opened up the bars later.

When it comes to piano bars getting performers, their sources may vary from location to location. In fact, if they are a public piano bar that is locally owned, most likely they will use only local talents. However, in a city of Las Vegas where there are more people and much bigger and bolder piano bars, there are more famous people. In fact, at most of the hotels and casinos that have piano bars there is someone famous singing! At some hotels in their piano bars, they have the same in-house, resident talents singing nightly; then at other hotels the talents change on a nightly basis. Some of the best known singers that have been heard singing in some of the Las Vegas piano bars are Celine Dion, Elton John, Brooks & Dunn, Lee Ann Womack, Wayne Newton ( whom is one of Las Vegas' biggest attractions!), Dolly Parton, and many other great singers over the years!

Las Vegas piano bars are open a lot longer than your average bars. In fact, many of them are open all night, because the hotel and casino is also open all night! That shouldn't surprise you in a city that is known for never sleeping!! However, if you go to a public piano bar, their hours are usually bar hours; which are 2 p.m. until 2 a.m. – with the hours of singing and competition ending earlier. However, the hours vary from bar to bar as well as owner to owner!

One thing that many people never take into consideration when going to a piano bar is the price of admission. The admission price varies from bar to bar as well as night to night, and some piano bars have free admission. In fact at many piano bars, the price of admission depends on who is performing! If the performer is someone that is more popular, or a good talent that's been hired in at some expense to the bar owner, then the price of the ticket is much more. Another way that many of the piano bars are making money is by raising the price of the tickets at the gates. Many places sell their tickets through the internet or a ticket master; however, people can still buy their tickets at the gate on the evening of the show. By paying for the tickets the same evening rather than booking in advance, the prices are higher!

Billy Joel - Piano Man

Billy Joel: Piano Man!

One interesting fact about piano bars; is that before Billy Joel made his famous hit song "Piano Man", he was once a performer in a piano bar. In fact, Billy Joel made that song because of his experiences of being a piano bar performer; before he became famous!

No matter where you go, on the east coast or the west coast, you should be able to find a piano bar! However, if you are looking for a piano bar that has famous talent, then the best place to go is to Las Vegas!! However, if you are a person that likes to go out and meet new people, then going to a piano bar is the right place for you; and you can listen to the local talent at the same time!! Piano bars are the newest type of bars today!

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      pylos26 8 years ago

      thanks julie-ann for your wonderful little digest of piano bars...i enjoyed reading it and i plan to keep a copy...thanks again for a wonderfully done hub...pylos26...a fan