Monday, June 29, 2009


158 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 505-3733

Bathroom situation
- Visceralist is conflicted because the bathroom situation here really shouldn't be straight bozack, but somehow it is. There're three single-persons in the basement which don't usually have a ridic line-up, but they're small and usually dirty-dingy. The real melodrama, though, goes down in the two BRs upstairs (both also single-person). They're right next to the bar and it always (always!) becomes a good ol' clusterfuck 'round there (and not the good kind). And they're just!
Takes credit cards? - yes! And! When you get the check, they put it on a fucking mini-clipboard! With a pen under the clip! Now! Rap about that, Lady Gaga!
Crowded on weekends? - if you have to ask...
Seating - Three-ish tables and ten-ish stools in the front room. Smooth, cushioned couches upstairs. But don't get bogged down by any of that, because you won't be finding a seat on any night you'd actually deign to show up here.
Neighborhood - the Calcutta/Mumbai-times-infinity sliver of the LES (but more crowded). Enough cabs, cop cars and pedestrians to make you feel safe (and to make you not wanna feel safe).
Type of crowd - here you'll find girls that have that certain shade of ambition, girls that know they shouldn't be wearing clothes quite that tight (and say "fuck it"), and girls that just like to drop and do the booty-wop!
Pretentious/assholes - given the location (location [location!])'s a given. [ed. that is not a joke.] Yes it is.
Cost of Stella - a strong 6 bones.
What time people start showing up - tough to say. Pianos has always been nice with their dinner game so that crowd tends to bleed into the late-nite/concert crowd. Chances are, if you're in the mood to head over there, at least 20 other people will have had the same idea and already acted on it.
Bartender efficiency - straight trife! One of Pianos' few drawbacks is the damnded arrogance/incompetence/triflin if its bar staff. [ed. ok, that's a bit harsh; but only a bit] Basically, if you're here on a Thur-Sat after 10pm or at any time when a hot band like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (remember them?) is playing, you'd better either be model-hot or wearing your laurel-wreath-of-Jacksons if you want to get what you actually ordered in under 10 mins. So horde that shit accordingly, chipmunk, cuz it's the damn winter out this bitch!
Official Website - here. Maybe the best part of the entire Pianos experience. Accurate event/show listings, easy-to-find contact info + ticket links, banner ads, photo galleries out the ass & full menu (they gots them there some bottle service!). Really, you'd think this kind of stuff would be de rigueur for any halfway decent bar/venue in NYC, but it izzain't.
Food? How late - Visceralist doesn't want to think too hard on this, so offhand we'll say that Pianos has the best menu out of any of the reputable NYC venues where you might happen to see the likes of The Harlem Shakes play a gig. The burger isn't as good as everyone says, but it's decent, the appetizers are doin' the damn thang and the prices are dick-swellingly cheap (you'll think to yourself, "This place has bottle service?! For what?!")
TVs? What's on - no TVs, but it would be too loud in here to hear Al Pacino tell Michelle Pfeiffer to take another quaalude anyway, so damn that.
Guy:girl ratio - fellas! Better hope your guy didn't flake. Failing that, better hope your made-up anecdote about the Black Lips crashing on the floor of your apt in their tightie-whities cuz your roomate works at Vice has all the right details to sound believable. Cuz this place is like catnip for the beaches.
Toys - Rock Triva followed by Karaoke on Monday nights in the upstairs lounge, but Visceralist has never been so...the weekly event has a MySpace (for what?!)
Age of clientele - 18 to 808teen.
Space for dancing? - yes, the upstairs actually actually gets mad decent most nights. $5 cover on Saturdays which is wazz, but cheaper than most other dance-spots in the hood.
Grimeyness - the bathrooms downstairs and the concert space in the back are fairly sticky-dicky, but the rest of Pianos is somehow able to pull off some semblance of a dignified sheen.
ID Check Procedure - opposite of inept. They have a bouncer with one of those card-swipers on the weekends after 9pm. However, if you're 20- and go and get dinner before then, then hang around for a show, you'll prolly be able to find a sympathetic bartender.
Music medium, style & volume
- front room, you'll get the bartender's iPod and like it, goddammit! Stage-area, you'll get some live & earnest background noise to accompany your texting. Upstairs on dance nights you'll get that fiya(!) or something middling-but-tolerable.
Specials or most popular drink - 3-7pm weekdays: "select" $3 beers and $4 well & wine. Chances are, if you're likely to ever set foot in Pianos, you (a) never get done with work in time for you to give a shit about this or (b) have enough money that you don't give a shit about a discount. Step your game up, Pianos! Local 138 is basically next door and has a way better happy hour than you.

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