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Scaling Phoenix’s Piano Scene: Key Bars in Phoenix

Written by Jessie Martin Category: Culture Issue: September 2016
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Although music-centric eat-and-drink spots seem to be universal and plentiful, the few that grace Phoenix with their tunes are unique and far between. From dueling pianos and impromptu stage crashers to the traditional sound of the Wurlitzer organ, the “piano bars” and restaurants across the Valley won’t leave you flat.

Low Key
501 S Mill Ave., Tempe
480-355-1705, lowkeypianobar.com
Boasting the best dueling pianos in Phoenix, this basement kick-back on Mill Avenue is the place to to hear Tempe’s finest covers. As its name implies, this bar is underground – you enter into the venue down a staircase of piano keys. There are two bars and a stage featuring two pianos and a drum set. From the décor to the drinks, Low Key is all about music; every signature cocktail is piano-themed, including the Florida Keys: “a Bacardi Mango Fusion, Red Bull Yellow Energy Drink, lemon-lime soda, and fresh orange wedge.” Throughout the night, the musicians cycle stations, playing the songs that patrons suggest either though popular demand or by dropping their picks into a bowl on the piano. You won’t miss a beat spending your evening here.

Premier Piano Shows
7942 W. Bell Rd., Glendale
480-840-7301, premierpianoshows.com
Unlike the traditional set up for dueling pianos, Premier is a traveling performance group based in the West Valley. Though they play at private events, they are featured at Lakeside Bar & Grill, Dillon’s BBQ, and Dillon’s Bayou. From Mozart to Flo Rida, Premier is well-versed in a variety of music, and can play songs from genres including comedy, novelty, rap, metal, alternative, dance, love songs, pop-country, classic rock, oldies, early rock’n roll and instrumental.

Organ Stop Pizza
1149 E. Southern Ave., Mesa
480-813-5700, organstoppizza.com
Although it's not home to dueling pianos, Organ Stop Pizza is another singular stop for a night of musical entertainment. Built in 1927 as an instrument for the Denver Theatre, the Wurlitzer organ was moved to Arizona in 1975 and has been tickling the ears of listeners for almost a century. Although you may not get pulled up on stage to belt out the lines to “Piano Man” your musical selections (along with a few dollars) are placed in the hands of the organist (most often award-winning organist Charlie Balogh) and played in ultimate surround sound. This family-friendly spot offers pizza, pasta and sandwiches along with a menu of beer and wine.