A short trip down those basement steps – which have been painted to resemble piano keys – and you find yourself inside Low Key Piano Bar, a nightlife venue where raucous group sing-alongs and spontaneous dance sessions are a nightly staple.
For folks looking for a break from the typical club and bar scene, Low Key offers a fun alternative to the conventional nightlife experience. Nearby Scottsdale and Phoenix offer many options for club dancing and drinking. But Low Key is the only place where people can go to experience the piano bar concept in the East Valley.
Low Key is a dueling piano bar in Tempe's popular Mill Avenue district — Photo courtesy of Low Key Piano Bar
Located in the space formerly occupied by The Big Bang and Rck Cty, Low Key Piano Bar has been renovated with new paint, new tables and chairs, video games, a pool table, music-themed art and flat-screen TVs playing live-streaming feeds.
Low Key features a stage with two baby grand pianos, where a roster of talented musical performers crank out popular tunes at a breakneck pace. The musical selections are varied, but most songs played throughout the night are pop, rock and country hits that manage to get the crowd singing along.
The musical performers take audience requests, tell jokes and stories in between songs and call on audience participation for a one-of-a-kind performance that is never the same twice. Most performances also feature back-up musicians on guitar and drums.
A full-service bar and waitstaff keep the drinks flowing all night. While Low Key doesn't offer kitchen service yet, hungry guests can place orders directly with their server for gourmet sandwich delivery from the Earl of Sandwich eatery, located next door to the club.
Low Key Piano Bar offers shows Wednesday through Saturdays during the busy spring season, with the dueling pianos starting at 8 p.m. nightly.
After spring, the performance schedule is cut back, with most shows on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays only. The club's managers are considering the possibility of hosting a Tuesday night open jam and live karaoke on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Although walk-in guests are always welcome at Low Key, reservations are highly recommended to guarantee a seat in the audience, especially on busy Saturday nights. The venue is located in the heart of Tempe's Mill Avenue district, convenient to the Mill Avenue METRO light rail station.