In the late 1890s, ragtime piano players would literally “duel” with their instruments to see who was better. When it opened in 1933, Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans decided to harness these duels as actual nightly entertainment for its patrons.
Today, the dueling piano format remains popular, though it has morphed to more of a crowd karaoke-style of entertainment. The two pianists play covers of popular songs, patrons drink and then attempt to sing along.
If you’re looking for a good dueling pianos bar when in Orlando, Florida, you’ll be happy to know there are actually four places where you can get your duel on.
The daily happy hour from 5pm-7pm is good, with 2-4-1 drinks, beer and shot specials and half-off appetizers. Make it better by gathering a large group of friends and signing up for a free happy hour party, where everyone will also get free cover and $1 drink specials.
Baby Grands is located downtown at 54 W. Church Street, on the second floor. It’s open until 2am Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Part of a national chain, Howl at the Moon caters to the college crowd with lots of nightly drink specials. It’s also been voted Orlando’s Best Bachelorette Night Out.
Sign up to win a free happy hour party on Fridays for your group that includes free cover, 2 free drinks per person and a complimentary appetizer buffet from 6pm until 9pm. Otherwise cover is usually around $10.
Howl at the Moon is open nightly from 7pm to 2am, except on Friday and Saturday when it opens at 6pm. It’s located at 8815 International Drive.
Named after the legendary ragtime jazz pianist “Jelly Roll” Morton, you’ll find this dueling pianos bar at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and it’s usually packed.
Drinks are a little overpriced and the humor is more family-orientated (this is Disney, after all), but it’s still a fun night out.
Jellyrolls is open nightly from 7pm to 2am and there is a $10 cover per person.
An outpost of the original Pat O’Brien’s, this multi-room bar offers dueling pianos in the main room, along with some of the best hurricanes you’ll find in Orlando (they did invent them after all).
Pat O’Brien’s is located at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, on the upper level (take the escalator up and turn right), and is open 5pm to 2am. Cover is $7 after 9pm, but if you want to club hop, the CityWalk Party Pass for $11.99 is a much better deal. $15 will get you a Party Pass with a movie option.
[Photo courtesy Pat O'Brien's]