If you are looking for live music in London, then this might just be the place for you. The Piano Works is housed in a converted print works in Farringdon. The bar opened in 2015 and since then the venue has been gaining quite a reputation for the quality of its music and live performances.
The place itself is quite something, with a raised stage surrounded by a number of tables, alcoves and bars. The venue has the feel of a New York cocktail bar with smartly dressed staff mixing cocktails, leather upholstered interiors and cosy little booths to chill out in.
The Piano Works is big – it has space for 400 guests – however the venue can get busy at weekends. A waitress advises me to book ahead if I am visiting the club between Thursday and Saturday and I make a mental note of this.
I arrive at 12pm on a Saturday afternoon and there are already two pianists on the stage. I grit my teeth and prepare for karaoke but instead I’m treated to a thrilling mini concert. The two musicians (Jennifer Armstrong and Dale Stanley) are both of the highest standard.
Tolson has one of those gorgeous bluesy voices that bring to mind the likes of Lady Gaga. She treats the afternoon diners to a note perfect rendition of Believe by Cher but the highlight of the afternoon is her version of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. It’s so beautiful that it actually makes me forget the original. Stanley is just as good. He nails Stevie Wonder’s Blind Superstition and then immediately follows it up with a flawless performance of Bob Marley’s Jammin. Impressive stuff.
Both artists handle everything that’s thrown at them with aplomb. This is no mean feat given that the range of requests span everything from Stevie Wonder to The Stranglers.
Live music in London can be incredibly patchy but this place is top notch and the setting is just perfect for what the club is trying to achieve.
At 1pm, Tolson and Stanley are joined by the Piano Works house band, of which they form part. The full group features a drummer, guitarist, pianist, saxophonist and a bass player. Once they have set up, the group waste little time in wowing the early afternoon crowd. Lou Reed’s Perfect Day is given a slick and tuneful rendition while Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean is given a soulful but polished makeover. These guys are so good that you do wonder if bigger things await.
The bar is designed to have more intimate moments (with the two live pianists) and more energetic periods (with the house band). This means that the venue works regardless of your mood. The staff add to the experience greatly too with their friendly, approachable manner.
Farringdon’s Piano Works is a fantastic and unique venue where great food, drink and outstanding customer service dominate. This type of venue will always stand or fall based on the quality of the music however, and it is on this measure that The Piano Works truly excels. Go soon.
The Piano Works is at 113-117 Farringdon Road, London ECR1 3BX.
For more information about the venue, please click here: The Piano Works.
For information about live music in London, please click here: London Music events