The piano bar is an emblem of a past New York nightlife scene, one of old-world elegance and style that epitomized both luxury and the downtrodden—how a single instrument displayed on a stage or catty-cornered between lounge tables could be both a night’s entertainment at an uptown hotel or a cramped, downtown bar. Today, however, the piano bar seems to be relegated to preserving its past image and holding on to a static legacy, uninterested in adapting to shifting tastes and maintaining relevancy. But, like all by-gone tastes of a past era, there is always a small, dedicated group of people wishing to restore a piece of this city’s cultural legacy without simply becoming an homage.
The Manhattan Inn, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, does a fine job of updating the piano bars flat-lined pulse. Though house pianists play mostly ragtime and jazz tunes on the white baby grand centered in the backroom, and are frequently accompanied by other musicians, there is also weekly karaoke each Tuesday night that features former Psychedelic Furs member Joe McGinty playing the keys while guests are invited to sing along. Decorated with mostly reclaimed materials from old movie houses, theaters, and cafes, the Manhattan Inn has a settled charm about it—with exposed brick, rich wood paneling, and pressed tin ceilings—that instantly makes you feel welcomed into a convivial speakeasy atmosphere, despite its being open for only two years. The Inn’s speciality cocktail menu was designed by James Endicott, formerly of Allen & Delancey, and is sure to satisfy any discerning palette.
Whether you are looking to charm a date, or simply enjoy a cocktail and take in some music, The Manhattan Inn has curated the perfect ambiance to achieve both. The music begins each night at 7 pm.
The Manhattan Inn is located at 632 Manhattan Avenue (btw. Nassau and Bedford)