Baker’s Keyboard Lounge
20510 Livernois Ave.
Detroit, MI 48221
First opened in May of 1934, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge not only lays claim to the title of being the oldest jazz club in Detroit, but also holds the honor of being the oldest continually-operating jazz venue in the entire world. The history of this club alone makes it the best place in Detroit to hear great piano music, but there is so much more than its past that makes this tiny place a true gem. After you park your car in the private lot for $2 and walk under the striped awning, you will be transported to another era. Order your Gibson at the bar, which fittingly, resembles a piano and happened to be the inspiration behind Liberace’s piano-shaped swimming pool at his former Beverly Hills home. Then slide into one of the swank chairs and listen as the piano player shows you what this place is all about. The menu features soul food and glorious desserts and the mood is dramatic and sultry, making this the perfect place to impress a date. Notable musicians that have performed here include Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Earl Klugh, Nat King Cole and Barbra Streisand.
Cafe D’Mongo’s Speakeasy
1439 Griswold St.
Detroit, MI 48226
Cafe D’Mongo’s Speakeasy reminds you of the kind of place where you need to know the secret handshake at the door to gain entrance. Discovering this piano club is like finding buried treasure during an expedition. Leave your pretensions at the door and get ready to have a fine time. The owner is gracious and greets everyone with a sincere smile, and if you’re lucky, a fantastic story. The staff is friendly, the vibe eclectic, and George, the man at the piano, unbelievable. The enticing menu is something to write home about; it features simple soul food, which includes an entree and two sides. Stiff drinks are served and are conducive to good conversation, the signature cocktail being the Detroit Brown. Antiques are scattered throughout the bar and create a unique atmosphere. Instruments adorn the walls, and the dimly lit interior creates a comfortable spot to chill. As for music, Cafe D’Mongo’s Speakeasy not only has a talented piano player, but also plays host to live bands. Cafe D’Mongo’s Speakeasy current entertainment schedule is available here.
2030 Park Ave.
Detroit, MI 48266
With its unparalleled entertainment, sumptuous food and drinks mixed to perfection, Cliff Bell’s has all the markings for a true downtown piano experience. Whether its the piano player performing on the recently restored Steinway, or one of the many other guest pianists that grace the stage, an evening at Cliff Bell’s will not fade quickly from your memory. This establishment has been recognized as a must-see destination due in part to its illustrious 2005 restoration. The building was designed by Albert Kahn and its ambiance is indicative of Art Deco style. The stunning atmosphere punctuated by the sultry decor makes Cliff Bell’s the place to hear live music. Entertainment is featured nightly. Visit website for cover charge information, as it varies, and to view the schedule of events.
526 South Main St.
Royal Oak, MI 48067
For lively entertainment times two, head over to 526 Main. This lively restaurant is a recent addition to the piano circuit and features dueling pianos. The grand piano-shaped bar is a unique spot to sit down for drinks and there is full dining service available in a grand-scale dining room to enjoy your entree. There is also additional patio seating available seasonally. You can request your favorite song or just listen as the professional piano players pound on the ivories. This is a great place for large groups or the entire family, as they offer a children’s menu. The dueling pianists perform Wednesday through Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight.
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JD’s Key Club
1 North Saginaw St.
Pontiac, MI 48342
For a rockin’ good time, head to JD’s Key Club. This dueling piano bar features fun and dancing certain to inspire laughter and memories. The pianists perform music ranging from traditional ballads to current hits. The performances are interspersed with friendly banter between the piano players, so there is never a dull moment! Patrons may request songs and are encouraged to sing along or get up and dance.
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