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 a whiskey 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. 


10
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


9
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


8
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. Segmented live jazz, sing-along and cabaret rooms, comedy groups, musicals, and a variety of other acts take the stage here to show...  Read More


5
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 and genders. The piano takes center stage at Marie's and unless you...  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


3
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


2
Flatiron District
Sid Gold's Request Room
Photo courtesy of Sid Gold's Request Room


The music at Sid's Gold leans more toward the hits you'd hear on the radio - pop, rock and soul - than anything you'd find at some of the quainter bars on this list. The joint's divided into two sections: an old-timey marble bar upfront and a...  Read More


1
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


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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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