Sing Along Or Get Serenaded At NYC's 10 Best Piano Bars

“Play me a song, Mr. Piano Man,” Billy Joel croons in his aptly named hit, “Piano Man.”

Piano bars in New York run the gamut from all out performances to quiet crooners sitting in the corner, but perhaps theater historian John Kenrick said it best when he described the piano bar as a hybrid creature: “part performance space, part living room, part cruise-a-thon, and part saloon.”

However, that’s not to say that all places with a piano can classify as a piano bar. In a New York Times piece from 2010, Frank Bruni makes the distinction that there’s a large difference between piano bars, and bars that happen to have a piano – mainly that in order to be considered a piano bar, “the music and maybe the chance to sing it are more crucial to the establishment’s identity than anything the bartender concocts.”

We’d tend to agree with Bruni on this front, though it must be said that music comes more easily with a few martinis or whiskeys on the rocks under your belt. 

Below, we dive in to the 10 best piano bars in the city, from institutions like Don’t Tell Mama to fancy affairs like Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel. 

Upper East Side
Brandy's Piano Bar

Fortunately for its boisterous patrons, Brandy's Piano Bar on the Upper East Side stays open late. Hidden away on an unsuspecting street, this popular piano bar is one part sing-along, two parts lounge, and all around a great time. Upon arrival,...  Read More

West Village
The Duplex

Open 365 days a year until 4AM, The Duplex is not your grandmother's piano bar. Instead, colorful characters from New York and beyond show up for the opportunity to get in front of the crowd for a performance. Drag queens mix-and-mingle with...  Read More

Upper East Side
Bemelmans Bar

Named after a famous author of children's literature, this piano bar in the Carlyle Hotel offers a luxurious reprieve on the Upper East Side. The spot bills itself as a piece of "Old New York," but the author's murals from stories like the...  Read More

Waldorf Cocktail Terrace

While the hotel gets most of the fame, we think the art deco setting of the Waldorf-Astoria Cocktail Terrace deserves a bit of love, too. Overlooking the lobby of the historic hotel, the glamorous terrace features velvet chairs for lounging, and...  Read More

Don't Tell Mama takes the cake for a no-holds-barred piano bar experience that can only be described as eclectic. Featuring segmented live jazz, sing-along and cabaret rooms, comedy groups, musicals, and a variety of other acts take the stage to...  Read More

West Village

Due to its proximity and some of its clientele, Marie's Crisis in the West Village is often billed as a gay piano bar, but this intimate dive welcomes those of all orientations, genders and ages. The piano takes center stage at Marie's and...  Read More

Blue-tin ceilings and red velvet walls mingle with twinkling chandeliers at Chez Josephine, a piano bar and restaurant in Hell's Kitchen. Named in honor of Josephine Baker, a Parisian stage and film star, undercover agent in WWII and Civil...  Read More

Upper East Side

"The only thing better than brunch is Jazz Brunch," reads The Astor Room website. We'd have to agree, though we're quick to point out that piano cocktail music is on the menu every Wednesday - Sunday during dinner. Located in Queens, The Astor...  Read More

West Village
Little Branch

On first glance, Little Branch doesn't look like a piano bar. In fact, it doesn't look like much at all. This teeny, narrow space lives behind a discreet door in the Village – often the only clue that you've found the right place are the...  Read More

Manhattan Inn's name is deceiving, as you'll have to trek to Brooklyn to visit this tried-and-true favorite. Located on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, the back dining room holds a white baby grand piano, where pianists sit to play during dinner...  Read More


Meet Andrea Wien

Andrea Wien was bitten by the travel bug from an early age, and has lived in New York, Seattle, Cleveland and Sydney, Australia since 2007.

When she's not traveling or planning a trip, you'll...  More About Andrea

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