Sanity, Soul (and Celery?) in Hollywood: The Piano Bar

6429 Selma Avenue | Hollywood, CA | 323-466-2750 | | Piano Bar on Facebook

Hollywood night-life: we’ve all heard the stories, we’ve all seen the photos. Starlets and their wardrobe malfunctions, athletes and their entourages, the velvet rope I’m on the list crowd, and the paparazzi-induced meltdowns. Yeah, that stuff happens around the corner. It doesn’t happen at Piano Bar.

The Piano Bar has live music every night of the week (which automatically makes it awesome). Also? No cover. You heard me. A. Bar. In. Hollywood. That. Doesn’t. Charge. Cover.

Needless to say, I was on a plane Saturday morning after coercing a friend from Edmonton to do the same. By noon, we were wandering down Hollywood Blvd. We spent the afternoon “doing lunch” and pretending to care about touristy stuff, but really, the countdown to Piano Bar was the only thing I cared about. I managed to survive the tour guides yelling at me to buy a star map or a seat on a bus, we dodged the paparazzi snapping away at some poor child or very tiny woman (?), and I even managed to have a little nap… Ok, fine, I didn’t nap, but I pretended to really hard!

Finally, it was time to leave the hotel (we stayed at the Roosevelt, which I will write about in a future post) and get into one of those I’m-going-to-kill-you LA cabs. The Valet asked us “where to?” and as soon as I told him, he got this HUGE smile; “Excellent choice, Ladies! I always have the BEST time there!”

$6 Strongest Drink Ever.

We survived the cab ride, and were greeted by the nicest bouncer ever at the entrance to the bar (everyone that night was the nicest person ever – I’m beginning to think I was on something, aside from a lack of sleep)?! None of this Hollywood “you don’t look important enough to be here” stuff. Just a smile and a “Welcome, Ladies!” No red carpet, no velvet rope, no “list,” no cover… just a smile and an open door.

So what does any of this have to do with food, you ask? Well, for starters, this website is supposed to include information on beverages and lifestyle too. So I’m reaching here, yes, but the bar serves drinks, so I figure it’s worth a try!

So on to the drinks, then? For starters, the bartenders are hilarious, they love their job, and if you happen to get the one who loves making Caesar’s, you will get yourself one heck of a Caesar! (The other one will tell you he “doesn’t do Caesar’s” though, so be prepared to order something else). Oh, and if you pull a “Jenny” (a friend from LA who joined us, I changed her name… slightly) and order a tequila sunrise, you will get laughed at (by me, at least). But hey – the nice bartender served up her horrendous yellow and red concoction with a smile!

Me? I stuck with the classic vodka/coke. It was a strong pour. In fact, it was so strong, I took a photo to document the light amber hue (yes the ice had melted a little, but not much!):

Mixed drinks not your cup of tea? Well, we were in “America,” so beer was out of the question for me, but my friend found this little gem for $3:

Miller High Life $3 (+ your good reputation?)

On this particular Saturday, The Brother Sal was throwin’ down at 11pm (and I became a hip gangsta, apparently). For those of you who haven’t heard of The Brother Sal, well, shame. Shame on you!

For those of you who have, you’ll understand why my friends and I arrived around 9:30pm. The bar was busy, but not ridiculous – yet (it didn’t get ridiculous until around midnight – the crowded-sweaty-loud-dance-y ridiculous you hate in your own hometown, but love when you’re partying in Hollywood).

The place was small, but it had the cutest little outdoor patio – an unbelievable experience for my friend from Edmonton, who had to come on this trip for her sanity (she was seriously threatening a nervous breakdown if she didn’t get out of the snow ASAP). Imagine the sheer joy of a patio at night in January when you don’t even need a jacket, let alone an entire snow suit! And me? I was just happy it wasn’t raining.

Yeah, we were in Heaven.

Then, this guy sat down at the piano and all Hell broke loose (in a really, really good way):

Brother Sal @ Piano Bar 1/22/2011

I know this is a food-centered website, but honestly, your soul needs to eat, too (plus, the celery in the Caesar was really good and crunchy and stuff… did I mention that?). So do it a favor and take yourself to the Piano Bar on a Brother Sal night (currently Saturday and Sunday). Grab a down-to-earth beverage or 5, and let this Whiskey-drinkin’ Angel send your soul straight to the Heavens. You’ll go home full, whole and happy. Guaranteed.



From Victoria, British Columbia

Rachel was born and raised in Victoria, BC and graduated from the University of Victoria secure in the knowledge that she didn’t actually want to be a Sociologist, Historian or Accountant (yeah, she was there for a while).

While weaving her way through school, she spent 12 years slaving away in the food/beverage and tourism industries before entering the world of business. For the last 3 years, she has helped small business entrepreneurs in BC get their ideas off the ground.

All of this experience has lead to a couple of inevitable character flaws: she is an “I need coffee immediately” connoisseur, a “let’s do lunch” restaurant expert and an absolute stickler for customer service excellence, no matter what the occasion. She also developed an incurable writing habit in order to document her trials and travels.
When she isn’t mapping out weekly coffee and lunch schedules around Greater Victoria, she can be found driving down the west coast sampling local diners, or driving across North America searching out interesting (and safe) truck stops. A couple of times a year, you can also find her in Florida, celebrating life with family and amazing Southern BBQ you have to taste to believe (and yes, she claims that alligator tastes just like chicken).

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