Spirit of Philadelphia - Yards Cruise Series Leaderboard

Duel Brings a Revival to Philly's Piano Bar Scene

Duel Brings a Revival to Philly's Piano Bar Scene

On a recent weekend evening, two musicians by the names of Tony T. DeCarolis and Joe Marchetti went head to head, each pouncing on the ivories, as the new Duel — a Rock ‘n’ Roll Piano Bar made the 1400 block of Locust Street livelier than it has been in recent months.

Tucked behind the Academy of Music and up a triumphant concrete staircase to a second-floor space is the former Jolly’s Dueling Piano Bar, newly rebranded (after a naming contest) under the reigns of investor Evan Prochniak. What makes Duel a fresh showstopper is the talent gracing the keys and the variety of specials offered throughout the week.

The refurbished space comes dressed in swanky blacks and vibrant reds, with a backlit bar and an inviting piano stage, both of which are focal points. Conceived as a breezy alternative for the arts crowd around Rittenhouse, the 125 seats vary from cozy high-tops and large tables to a long bar and elevated seating platform. Don’t expect an evening of Broadway-esque entertainment — instead expect the pianists to bust out an unexpected repertoire of over 2,000 songs that range from rock and roll to classics (including The Beatles), to club beats (for example: Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”) and Billy Joel’s appropriate jingle, “Piano Man.”

Our best tips for an ultimate DUEL experience are to come thirsty and with song suggestions in hand. This is an interactive, sing-along affair, with you bidding your way into getting your songs played first. The $9 cocktail lineup is whimsical and sweet, themed especially well for a girls’ night out, with options like the Caramel Macchiato Martini (Pearl Caramel vodka, coffee liqueur, Irish cream), Big Shot Before the Knot (Skyy Blood Orange vodka, DeKuyper Pomegranate liqueur, DeKuyper Peach schnapps, orange and cranberry juices) and the graham cracker crumb-rimmed Key Lime Pie Martini (UV Cake vodka, lemonade, lime juice). A petite wine and bottled beer selection is available, as well, including a decent crew of craft beers (Dogfish Head, Lagunitas, Brooklyn Brewery).

Accompanying the booze menu is a roster of basic bar snacks, many of which are kicked up a notch with enticing dipping sauces. Noshes like cheesesteak eggrolls are accompanied by Sriracha ketchup, chicken wings are zested with sweet chili sauce and Chesapeake fries come speckled with Old Bay seasoning. Food options range from $4–$12.

DUEL’s happy hour is an ideal time to snag a seat by the double pianos and test out the upbeat set-up. On Wednesdays from 5–9 PM, you’ll find $2 domestic bottles, $3 well drinks, $4 house wine and half-priced apps; Thursdays from 5 PM–midnight look for $1 Miller High Life bottles, $3 UV Vodka drinks, $4 UV bombs and 50-cent wings; Fridays 5 PM–midnight rock $3 Miller High Life bottles; and from 5–7 PM on Saturdays, score $2 domestic bottles, $3 well drinks and $4 house wine.

So, if your city-wide imbibing routine needs a musical boost, pay a visit to DUEL’s mixed-crowd space and the keys may start beckoning you back. Duel is open 5 PM–2 AM, Wednesday–Saturday.

1420 Locust St.; 267-687-1161

Photos by Amy Strauss

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Head to Bainbridge Street Barrel House's Queen Village Summer Block Party, August 27

Head to Bainbridge Street Barrel House's Queen Village Summer Block Party, August 27

The end of summer is fast approaching, so celebrate the season at Bainbridge Street Barrel House's Queen Villa...read more ›

by Drink Philly Aug 24, 2016
Check Out 1 Tippling Place's Indian-Inspired Cocktail Menu

Check Out 1 Tippling Place's Indian-Inspired Cocktail Menu

Head to 1 Tippling Place and grab one of these inspired cocktails — that way, you can take a trip to India without leaving Chestnut Street. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Aug 18, 2016
SPONSORED
Skybrunch Rectanlge Ad
Best Bars For Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2016

Best Bars For Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2016

Whether it's to enjoy the first warm breezes of spring or the summer's sunshine, Philadelphia is full of great places to drink in the great outdoors....read more ›

by Drink Philly Mar 10, 2016
Garage's New Location in Fishtown is Now Open

Garage's New Location in Fishtown is Now Open

Passyunk Avenue's Garage is expanding its reach to northern Philly, with a second location in Fishtown at Frankford & Girard....read more ›

by Drink Philly Aug 18, 2016
Dogs Now Have Their Own Non-Alcoholic Wine

Dogs Now Have Their Own Non-Alcoholic Wine

Now, dog lovers can share in the joy of drinking with their pet, as Apollo Peak has finally released dog wine....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Aug 16, 2016
Dogfish Head's Newest Beer Is Nautically Inspired

Dogfish Head's Newest Beer Is Nautically Inspired

What could say 'summer in Charm City' more than a partnership between a beach-based brewing company from neighboring Delaware and Baltimore's notable ...read more ›

by Jennifer Waldera Aug 16, 2016
Check Out Chaddsford Winery's Food Truck Festival, August 20 & 21

Check Out Chaddsford Winery's Food Truck Festival, August 20 & 21

Head to Chaddsford Winery on Saturday, August 20 and Sunday, August 21 for their Summer Food Truck Festival....read more ›

by Drink Philly Aug 15, 2016
The New Pennsylvania Liquor Reform Laws Have Taken Effect: Here's What They Mean for You

The New Pennsylvania Liquor Reform Laws Have Taken Effect: Here's What They Mean for You

We were very excited to report that Pennsylvania liquor stores would soon be allowed to sell wine, and now, Ac...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Aug 10, 2016
Federal Distilling's New Tasting Room & Cocktail Bar In Kensington Is Now Open

Federal Distilling's New Tasting Room & Cocktail Bar In Kensington Is Now Open

Philadelphia's own Federal Distilling, which produces Stateside Vodka, is opening a brand new tasting room, th...read more ›

by Drink Philly Aug 10, 2016
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close