If you’re a fan of piano bars, then you know that there is a dearth of good piano bars in Philadelphia. The piano bar at Tavern on Camac in the Gayborhood is bona fide. But then there’s Howl at the Moon and that thing called Jolly’s, which really take things down a notch. Or three notches. Fortunately, there’s an amazing new Philadelphia piano bar thanks to the Pineville Tavern Fishtown.
The Pineville Tavern Fishtown is a new location from the owners of the Best of Philly-winning Pineville Tavern in, well, Pineville, which is a town in Bucks County that you’ve probably never heard of. (It’s about seven miles south of New Hope).
As for the location of this brand new offshoot, we’ll just let residents of the area argue over the restaurant’s name. It’s at 2448 East Huntingdon Street, just a few blocks from iconic Stocks Bakery. Olde Richmond? Port Richmond? Kensington? Port Fishington?
Downstairs at Pineville Tavern Fishtown, there’s a long bar and an airy dining room.
Then you ascend a staircase:
And once you get to the top, you’re in a more cozy room with big banquettes:
And a really big piano:
The piano in the Pineville’s piano bar is a Steinway Model D Concert Grand. It sounds gorgeous.
I had the chance to hear local pianist Suzanne Spencer play some tunes at the Pineville’s piano bar last week, and I even got to sit in myself.
It turns out that almost anybody can perform at this new Philadelphia piano bar, and they’ll even feed you for doing so. When you get there, just let your server know that you want to play some songs. Singing is optional.
If you play three or more songs, you get your choice between the Pineville’s signature fried chicken or ravioli. (The fine print: “Management reserves the right to terminate any performance at any time for any reason.” In other words, if your intent is to go in there and go all G.G. Allin on them, probably best to just stay home.)
“All are welcome,” says Pineville Tavern Fishtown co-owner Andrew Abruzzese, whose son Drew is the chef. “Especially those who cover performers like Janice Joplin, Joe Cocker, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, John Legend, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and also artists the younger generation has actually heard of, ha!”
The idea here is that the Pineville Tavern Fishtown is looking to build its piano bar schedule for the fall, so you can essentially come audition and get fed. But in addition to that schedule, the owners want this to be the kind of place where someone having dinner just jumps up on the keys impromptu and dazzles the crowd.