Louie Louie’s Piano Bar opened in Deep Ellum at the beginning of the year, and though it’s a little different than the other live music venues in the neighborhood, it’s managed to carve out a healthy following. After all, what’s not to love about live music, bawdy jokes, and 64-ounce drinks?
Atmosphere: If you don’t know how a dueling piano bar works, it goes something like this: comedian-slash-musicians take turns playing crowd favorites, making jokes, and taking shots. It may not be the highest form of musical art, but it’s raucous, participatory, and certainly makes for an entertaining night. Louie Louie’s is a 6,000 square-foot space with a bright stage, musical paraphernalia on the walls, and two mounted longhorn heads (which overlook the stage and whose horns are draped with bras). The bar faces the stage, and there’s an upstairs balcony section. On Monday blues jam nights, you might walk into a wailing saxophone or the blast of a trumpet as a full band plays … you guessed it, the blues. The rest of the week assumes the classic two-piano format, in which musicians alternate playing audience-requested songs for tips.
What to Order: Louie Louie’s has a menu full of party-mode drinks, including shots, fruity cocktails, three different mules (Irish, Moscow, and Mexican), a set of colorful 64-ounce punch bowls, and a listing of both standard-fare shots (like Buttery Nipple and Lemon Drop) and piano players’ preferred shots (if you wanted to buy Joey a shot, you’d know he prefers Jagermeister). If you’re in for the long haul, get yourself (hopefully to share with three of your friends) a bowl: the Fruit Bowl is a mix of peach vodka, watermelon pucker, pineapple juice, grenadine, and lemon-lime soda.
Who’s There: Especially on weekends you’ll find plenty of birthday parties and bachelorette parties (in fact, one of the bowl drinks is called the “Bachelorette Bowl”)—people of all ages who are out to celebrate. Monday night blues jam draws a more eclectic, more quintessential Deep Ellum crowd—couples, long-haired dudes sipping beers, ladies’ nights, and random folks who just happen to wander in.
What I Didn’t Like: Being subjected to other people’s music tastes (which worsen as the night goes on and the fishbowls drain) can be terrible.
What I Did Like: The live music element of a dueling piano bar has a certain charm—it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The show doesn’t always start on time, the players don’t always remember every verse of every song, and sometimes the jokes are repeats … but that’s all part of the fun.