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Relaxed bar with playable piano in Toronto/GTA?

sepandee Feb 27, 2013 09:09 AM

I'm looking for a bar somewhere in Toronto that also has a piano available to play for the public. I've seen these kinds of bars all over the world, but haven't found one in Toronto yet.

Just so I'm clear, I'm not looking for a piano bar/lounge where a pianist is playing. I want a bar that's relaxed, serves drinks and preferably some food, and has a dingy piano in the corner that can be played by anyone. :)

Thanks, fellow Chowhounders.

  1. ingloriouseater Feb 27, 2013 10:04 AM

    how do these places around the world guard against really bad piano playing?

    5 Replies
    1. re: ingloriouseater
      jlunar Feb 27, 2013 10:10 AM

      What, Heart & Soul on repeat not appealing?

      1. re: ingloriouseater
        sepandee Feb 27, 2013 11:08 AM

        It's not like someone who's a terrible piano player will come and play for 20 minutes. Most of the time people just play a tune for laughs. Every now and then you get the decent piano player who plays a song or two.

        1. re: sepandee
          ingloriouseater Feb 27, 2013 01:36 PM

          many are saddened to learn that van cliburn died today ....and to listen to someone really talented would be great but some people think they are brilliant musicians when, in fact, they are not. karoake is much the same idea and how many american idol rejects have we seen that truly believe they are the next big thing and are crushed when told they have no talent. even on open mike nights-many places have people audition first...it helps to prevent disaster. as far as people playing a tune for laughs-it usually only makes themself and their table laugh but annoys everybody else. many people on this board post about loud music-talking over a plunky piano can be impossible.

          1. re: ingloriouseater
            barrerboy Nov 9, 2013 09:18 AM

            Rarely experienced a too-loud accoustic piano but too-loud guitars and sound systems - all the time.

        2. re: ingloriouseater
          barrerboy Mar 4, 2013 09:22 PM

          Collective response from listeners does it.

        3. mariecollins Feb 27, 2013 11:40 AM

          Try Sauce at Danforth and Greenwood. It's modelled after an old-fashioned speak-easy. I'm pretty sure the piano in the corner is open to everyone.

          1. p
            pourboi Feb 27, 2013 01:06 PM

            from The Ceili Cottage website: http://www.ceilicottage.com/

            "A stand up piano is located just off of the bar and will be available to play anytime you wish"

            1. c
              CuriousCat Feb 27, 2013 02:08 PM

              I seem to recall that Red Room (spadina & college) has a piano. Of course, you'd have to be ok with going to the Red Room.

              1. Googs Feb 27, 2013 03:20 PM

                I don't know of a place where they have a piano sitting where money could be.

                Try Martini Bar at Pantages Hotel where Robert Scott performs Thurs & Fri nights. He's never been shy about sharing the postage stamp sized stage with patrons. The food's only okay, but he's great. I mean really, truly a joy to listen to if you decide to pay attention. The piano, she's no dingy gal.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Googs
                  julesrules Feb 28, 2013 03:44 AM

                  Googs, the things you know about in this city amaze me. And I don't mean cool scenester twitter things, although I think you know those too. I mean unhip stuff like this. Thanks :)

                  1. re: julesrules
                    Googs Mar 5, 2013 10:45 AM

                    Thank you, that's very sweet. Robert Scott is the same pianist who performs every second Saturday at Reposado. Does that make this rec a little from Column A, a little from Column B? Do what pleases you and create your own scene.

                    1. re: Googs
                      julesrules Mar 5, 2013 11:10 AM

                      Well the piano request wasn't mine but I loved Reposado on my one visit so.. yes?

                2. y
                  ylsf Feb 28, 2013 07:22 AM

                  Yeah, I remember when those piano's were around the city for the Panam "pre-launch"/art project and people would play some pretty awesome stuff (a few youtube videos out there)...

                  1. b
                    barrerboy Mar 5, 2013 08:55 AM

                    Me too, looking for a piano bar with a real piano and a real pianist. Almost extinct I regret.

                    Here are some Toronto entries from my web page on piano pubs of the world. Corrections and comments gladly received at London Bobby website. CHOW wont allow the link but Google London Bobby, it will come up.

                    • Madison Avenue Pub 14 Madison Ave. 
Their website says, "Every Thursday to Saturday in the Piano Bar Ryan Luchuck plays piano, sings all your favourites.". Gwyneth emails me, "I can guarantee you that the Madison (the Maddy as locals call it) is definitely thee best piano bar in Toronto.It's every Fri and Sat night (sometimes Thurs) when Pianoman Mike sets up to play on the lower basement room starting around 10pm/ 1030pm. The Madison plays anything from Hall & Oates You make my dreams to brown eyed girl to sweet caroline to some kind of tribute to the beatles and even sometimes something crazy like lady gaga. "

                    • • Tom Jones Steak House, upmarket restaurant, 7 Leader Lane Toronto ON, King & Church, Piano Bar 2nd floor
                    • Zipperz, 72 Carlton St, Toronto, trendy gay piano bar and dance bar
                    • La Castille Steak House Dundas St W. of the 427, classy, pricey, but the piano is used as a stand for a keyboard and tracks.
                    • The Ceili Cottage, 1301 Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA (just East of Leslie Street) upright piano, no resident player, rarely played. Great oyster bar, gaffer is champion oyster shucker.
                    Toronto rumours, to be visited and checked out (feel free to send updates and corrections here.
                    • Mozart Piano Cafe, 2 Murray Street, Toronto, ON M5T1T7, Mon-Fri 7-4PM
                    • Pantages Hotel, Victoria St.
                    • Pauper's Pub, 539 Bloor W. Friday's piano player
                    • Statler's Piano Lounge, 487 Church Street, has been open and shut lately, think it is closed at the moment.
                    • Windsor Arms Hotel
                    • Arthouse Piano Bar, 10 Alexander St Toronto
                    • Drake Hotel, Queen St. E.
                    • JACOBS & CO. STEAKHOUSE, 12 Brant St.Piano bar thur-sat 7-10 open till 2am?
                    • le St. Tropez, 315 King St W Piano bar

                    1. justxpete Nov 9, 2013 09:26 AM

                      Toronto Temperance Society.

                      It's a speakeasy with a piano. Might be exactly what you're looking for, although the request is 6 months old. Sorry for the late response!

                      1. t
                        trombasteve Nov 9, 2013 11:31 AM

                        The Holy Oak on Bloor, near Lansdowne has a piano, and otherwise meets your criteria. I've heard it used in concerts, but can't promise they let anyone and everyone play. It probably depends on how you play. ;)

                        1. prima Jan 9, 2014 08:10 PM

                          Red Lantern at 228 Merton between Yonge and Mt Pleasant has a piano, and they serve bar food and drinks. It seems like the kind of place that would let customers playe their piano, but they also seem to have a piano player some nights. Complete time warp type of place, operating since 1969. And it looks like a place that's been operating since 1969.

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