What song would you like to request? Asks the pianist with their fingers poised over the keys. A member of the crowd shouts ‘Billy Joel. Piano man’ The pianist frowns with the un-original suggestion. They inevitably know that everyone loves that song, except maybe them.
If you’ve ever visited a piano bar, you will know that this will always happen…..at least once. Be original, these guys love a challenge!
If you love your music live and relaxed, head to a piano bar. By the end of the night the atmosphere is buzzing and everybody is singing along. Don’t worry about the words, the pianists certainly don’t.
Sloane Avenue, SW3 3DW
Barts is a 1920’s speak easy in Chelsea hidden in a residential building. Every Wednesday the brilliant Michael Moore plays any song you’d like on the piano. Read my blog here.
Park International Hotel, 117-129 Cromwell Road, SW7 4DS
This is a little bar in a posh hotel that also has a great happy hour.
The happy hour was what lured me to this place in the first. You can get a glass of wine for £4 or draught beer for £3.50 from 5-7.30pm and buy 1 get 1 free cocktails 5-9pm. The last time I popped in for the happy hour, we were delighted that we were going to be entertained by a live pianist. What was going to be a quick drink, turned into many (many) drinks. We had such a lovely time, we just didn’t want to leave. The atmosphere is intimate and friendly.
The pianist is Sam Martin and he plays Wednesday-Friday 7-11pm. A lovely, friendly and talented guy who clearly loves what he does. He takes requests, plays his own songs or the classics.
14 Long Lane, EC1A
160 Kensington High Street, W8
There are 2 branches of the piano bar, one in Kensington and one in Smithfield. There is no cover charge and either of the bars, but booking is highly recommended.
The Kensington bar is tiny, intimate and atmospheric. It’s a complete surprise as it’s up some stairs and above a shop in High Street Kensington.
You can order food, cocktails and fine wines. When it’s full to the brim the atmosphere is wonderful and everyone crowds around the grand piano. A really fun place to go for birthdays or special occasions. It’s best to book a table as this place gets so busy. There’s live music every night Tuesday until Sunday.
The Smithfield branch is open Tuesday to Saturday with music every evening.
Entrance of Ray Street, 113-117 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3BX
Piano works is taking the piano bar concept to the extreme with 2 pianists and accompanying musicians playing requests only. It is a former Victorian warehouse and can hold up to 400 people. You write on your napkin and hand it to your waiter or the musicians. Entrance is free Monday-Thursday, Friday is free before 9pm and £10 after and Saturday is free before 8pm and £10 after. Get on the friends list to get half price door charges. You can book and eating or drinking table, and this place is brilliant for large groups.
There is a happy hour 5-7pm where you can get £5 cocktails, £10 bottles of wine, £15 bottles of sparkling wine and curious beer for £4. Cocktails start from £7.50, wine from £4.40 and beer from £5. They serve food and bar snacks.
Every Tuesday is emerging talent night 7.30-8.30pm is open mic. 8.30-10.30pm emerging talent sings with the house band taking requests from the audience. Drinks are £4 and a full rack of ribs and sides is £10.
The Arches, Villiers Street, WC2N 6NL
Being an actor, I am very familiar with this place. If you are ever looking for a late night bar in central London then you need to know about Players, as it’s open until 2.30am. There is a live pianist every night from 11pm, who’s always fantastically talented. They take requests and are very accommodating. Expect people singing full voice around the piano with the help of alcoholic lubrication.