Piano bars are divisive. You either relish a kitschy evening spent participating in crowd-pleasing singalongs or you run far, far away the second you hear the opening bars of "Piano Man." So, the following news could be good or bad depending on where you stand:
A new location of Louie Louie's Piano Bar, a mini-chain with spots in Arlington and Lubbock, is on track to open in Deep Ellum in the fall. Owner-operator Ronnie Wilson says the new joint, planned for the corner of Elm and Good Latimer (2605 Elm Street, to be exact), would be the largest piano bar in Texas. Put it this way: With 6,000 square feet planned, there'd be more than enough room to join hands and sway to "Superstar" or "Hey Jude."
Wilson, a musician himself, launched the Louie Louie's brand with partner Joey Hamende seven years ago. He promises in the Deep Ellum location "the most elaborate sound and lighting system in the industry," with two floors and two full bars.
In addition to welcoming dueling pianists and bachelorette parties, Wilson says he is aiming for more elegant and serious performances in the new space courtesy of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts. Himself a 1978 graduate of the arts magnet school, he's invited students and staff to perform jazz and classical pieces at the bar when it opens. He's also proposing that one of the location's outer surfaces display a mural designed by students.
Wilson says that Louie Louie's has already signed a lease and received a specific use permit from the city. The proposed-liquor-license notice was posted yesterday afternoon; Wilson is awaiting building approval.
The Arlington location is open Wednesday through Saturday with no cover charge on weekdays. It doesn't serve food, but takes pizza orders from a nearby eatery.
If everything goes as planned, Wilson says, the new Deep Ellum piano bar could arrive just before Thanksgiving. Maybe you'll bear witness to some visiting aunts and uncles getting a little loose and belting an Elton hit.