Piano’s is located on 158 Ludlow Street, Manhattan, between Stanton and Rivington Streets. It lays on the same block as The Cake Shop, around the corner from Arlene’s Grocery, and within the circle of venues in the Bowery (roughly between Houston, A, Delancey Street, and Bowery), which includes those four, Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, Rockwood Music Hall and others.
The front room at Piano’s is a bar, not as skinny as other Bowery venue-bars, but with tables and chairs kind of haphazardly laid out, making it still a relative crush. Things are especially cramped on Friday and Saturday nights, with the security sometimes responding by being heavy-handed. The bar itself is popular in its own right, as there is a small space upstairs used as a dance club and occasionally as a venue (such as during CMJ). The entrance to both that, the floor-level venue, and the stairs down to the bathrooms are all at the back of the bar, increasing the crush.
The stage and stage floor at the back are relatively cramped, though at least it doesn’t have the low ceilings of Bowery basement venues. However, the bar on the house-left side only adds to the crush, though it does create a space between it, the entryway, and the single-occupancy bathroom at the back. Like the front bar, there are tables and chairs in the small stage floor, but they are usually limited to hugging the sidewalls. The stage itself is removed enough off the ground, with strong lighting, to make the band quite visible to all on the stage floor, something other small Bowery venues also lack.
Piano’s is one of a group of low-end venues in the Bowery – small, lesser facilities, low price, cheap drinks, etc. Generally, the acts occupy the lower end of the touring spectrum, but that can include up-and-coming new groups, side projects, and solo performances (the small, visible stage is particularly well-suited to one-person shows). Such artists as Nicole Atkins also served it as a place for name-making residencies. Piano’s actually bats somewhat above its weight, not Mercury Lounge level, but higher than say, Cake Shop (though, in price, it falls between the two as well) – of the tiny Bowery venues, it’s the ‘classy’ one. It often hosts New York City one-offs by bands that have played the venue before on tour. An intriguing place that often isn’t quite what it seems.
158 Ludlow Street (Between Stanton and Rivington Streets)
F trains to 2nd Avenue – walk 1 block east to First Avenue/Allen Street, 2 blocks more east on South side of Houston, 1 & 1/2 blocks south on East side of Ludlow
F, J, M or Z trains to Delancey/Essex – walk 1 block west on North side of Delancey, 1 & 1/2 blocks north on East side of Ludlow
-Ellis, with Piano’s Conversations and panels on Let’s Talk About Sync & The Importance of Being an Independent Label in Today’s Marketplace, March 7th, 2019 (New Colossus) – Ellis photos, Piano’s Conversations photos, Let’s Talk About Sync panel photos, The Importance of Being an Independent Label in Today’s Marketplace panel
-Candy Ambulance, March 6th, 2019 (New Colossus) – photos
-Dirty Heretics, with Jouska, Ira Lawrence, Zigadoo Money Clips, Civil Villains, and Florie Namir, September 18th, 2016 (MONDO NYC) – Mondo coverage, Dirty Heretics photos, Jouska photos, Ira Lawrence photos, Zigadoo Money Clips photos, Civil Villains photos, Florie Namir photos
-Julian Velard, September 14th, 2016 (MONDO NYC) – photos
-Palehound, with Smoke Season, The Big Moon, The Lemon Twigs, and Bayonne, October 17th, 2015 (CMJ) – CMJ coverage, Palehound photos, Smoke Season (upstairs) photos, The Big Moon (upstairs) photos, The Lemon Twigs photos, Bayonne (upstairs) photos
-Bo Ningen with Fascinator, altopalo, WALTZ, Vandana Jain, Girlpool, and Dune Rats, October 24th, 2014 (CMJ) – Bo Ningen photos, Fascinator photos, altopalo photos, WALTZ photos, Vandana Jain photos, Girlpool photos, Dune Rats photos
-Modern Rivals, with Shilpa Ray, Fort Lean, Jack + Eliza, and Canon Logic, October 21st, 2014 (CMJ) – Modern Rivals photos, Shilpa Ray photos, Fort Lean photos, Jack + Eliza photos, Canon Logic photos
-The Mighty JSE, Sylvana Joyce & The Moment, and Amerigo Mackeral & The Octave Doktors, April 5th, 2014 – The Mighty JSE photos, Sylvana Joyce & The Moment photos, Amerigo Mackeral & The Octave Doktors photos
-The Hairs, with The Teen Age, Magneta Lane, and Weekender, December 11th, 2013 (Canvas Media/Papercup Music Holiday Party) – The Hairs photos, The Teen Age photos, Magneta Lane photos, Weekender photos
-Total Slacker, with TEEN, J Fernandez, Wilsen, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and Palehound, October 18th, 2013 (CMJ) – CMJ coverage, Total Slacker photos, TEEN photos, J Fernandez photos, Wilsen photos, The Blind Boys of Alabama photos, Palehound photos
-Rush Midnight, May 10th, 2013 (Downtown Music Festival) – photos
-Phone Home, November 23rd, 2012 – photos
-Birthmark, with Phone Home, Big Black Delta, Late Guest (at the Party), and Leaves of Green, August 17th, 2012 – Birthmark photos, Phone Home photos, Big Black Delta photos, Late Guest (at the Party) photos, Leaves of Green photos
-We Are Scientists, October 22nd, 2011 (CMJ) – photos
-Now Now, October 21st, 2011 (CMJ) – photos
-BRAHMS, with Oberhofer, Electric Tickle Machine, and Hooray For Earth, October 19th, 2010 (CMJ) – CMJ coverage, BRAHMS photos, Oberhofer photos, Electric Tickle Machine photos, Hooray For Earth photos
-Shout Out Louds, March 2nd, 2010 – photos
-Alec Ounsworth, with Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Holly Miranda, Chris Denny, Lovvers, and Surfer Blood, October 22nd, 2009 (CMJ) – CMJ coverage, Alec Ounsworth photos, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson photos (upstairs), Holly Miranda photos (upstairs), Chris Denny photos (upstairs), Lovvers photos, Surfer Blood photos
-The Octagon, with The Heavenly States, Harlem Shakes, The Cringe, and Sean Bones, May 6th, 2009 – The Octagon photos, The Heavenly States photos, Harlem Shakes photos, The Cringe photos, Sean Bones photos
-Pwrfl Power, with Lissy Trullie, Pattern is Movement, and Au, October 21st, 2008 (CMJ) – CMJ coverage, Pwrfl Power photos (upstairs), Lissy Trullie photos (upstairs), Pattern is Movement photos, Au photos