Monday, June 23, 2014

The Ivory Room

Hypothesis: Piano Bars are the great unifier of the young, bar-going population.

Background: Perhaps this was just a drunken thought that I had at 1:44 am last Saturday (Sunday I guess technically), but sober me believes that I may be on to something here.

2014-06-23 15.52.01
Don't hate too much on my picture.  According to my phone, it was taken at 1:44 AM

The typical North American Piano Bar is a situation in which you can get a group of twenty and thirty-something year olds (and a few rocking elders thrown in) in the same jam-packed room to sing together in beautiful/inebriated harmony to songs from all walks of life.  They are all pretty similar, whether the bar originate in Arizona, Florida or Wisconsin, and usually feature two pianos facing one another, each manned by an energetic piano maestro who act as both entertainment and MCs for the night.  There may be a drum set or other instruments strewn about, but the men and women who command the pianos are the true stars.  The drunk masses are crowded in close and pay cold hard cash to get their song request played, higher bills obviously guaranteeing a spot on the line up.

Evidence:  Gathered in the wee morning hours of Sunday, June 22.

Although ages could only really be estimated (piano bars, great melting pots that they are, are loud and do not encourage any actual conversation), in general the audience seemed to be compromised of the following:

  • Bridal parties, bachelor(ette) parties, birthday parties
  • Bro's with rally caps and shirts unbuttoned to 2 inches above the belly button
  • Druuunnnkkk chicks
  • Awkward couples on first dates
  • College youth
  • College alumni hoping to relive their glory day
  • Yuppies who think they are truly baller as they sing all the lyrics to "Get Low"
  • One random single guy

On the flip side of our hypothesis, here is a representative sample of the songs that will be played on any given night at any given piano bar:

  • Timber
  • A Melody of songs from the hit Disney movie Frozen
  • Take Me Home, Country Roads
  • Cecilia
  • Big Butts
  • I Believe in a Thing Called Love
  • The Notre Dame Fight Song (Don't pretend to be surprised)
  • Wagon Wheel
  • A rather hilarious and ridiculous inapprorpriate rendition of Part of Your World.  (Needless to say, I can't look at the Little Mermaid the same way ever again).

Conclusion: If you think your night is over, but you rather it not be, just head to the nearest Piano Bar.  Chances are there it will be overcrowded and getting a drink at the bar will be difficult, finding a seat will be even harder, and the pianos will undoubtedly end the night with Semisonic's Closing Time.  You won't want to, but before you know it you'll be enjoying yourself, raising your glass and will join in with everyone else, belting out tonelessly "I've got friends in low places, where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases by blues away... And I'll be ok..."


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