Chicago >Arts & Entertainment > The Redhead Piano Bar
16 W Ontario St # 5, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061041.893538 -87.628748
Neighborhoods: Near North Side, Central
It had been years since I had step foot in the Redhead Piano Bar, simply because it struck me as a more tourist-oriented spot. So when my 65-year-old uncle was in town for a visit and suggested we stop in for a drink, I wasn't surprised. What did surprise me is that I had a blast inside as we belly-ed up to the piano, grabbed a beer and sang along to some Elton.
HORRIBLE! STAY AWAY!! – Had been there a few times in the past years, but t his time I was 'turned away' by the big bouncer who told my 2 friends and I that we weren't allowed inside because we had too much to drink! We came by taxi. We live in Chicago. We're all in our mid-60s. I think it was age discrimination in its ugliest form. Go to HOWLIN' at the MOON. Much more fun, genuine and it's 'real Chicago.'
Disappointed – We went to Red Head Saturday May 30, 2010 for our anniversary with another couple. We got great seats at the bar facing the piano without having to pay off the staff.
Dave Johnson, the pianist, was a pro although we left after an hour. Somebody needed to sound check him. Thepianoandhisvoicedblendedtogetherintoamishmash.
I know he favors Billy Joel and Joe Cocker - but all his songs sounded the same and muddy. He didn't encourage audience interaction and the people sitting around the piano were DUUUULLLL. We left, agreeing we would give it another chance with a different performer.
The people watching is fun. The security staff take themselves very seriously. I don't object to the dress code.
Not to Everybody's Liking, I'm sure – I know a lot of people balk at their enforcement of the dress code - and I would agree that there is a right way and a wrong way to turn people away. There aren't many places that insist on dress codes anymore, so I can appreciate that they still exist somewhere. I just think they can do a better job of turning people away without turning them off completely. "I'm sorry but we have a dress code and tennis shoes are no allowed" isn't difficult to say.
That said, I enjoy this place. Cougar hunters would love this place as well. The riff-raff is kept out (with some collateral damage, I know). The music is lively. They can make a proper cocktail.
This place certainly isn't for everyone - but it has stayed in business for years. I think they enjoy having a bit of a reputation for being pushy at the door.
Walked in a stranger, come away with friends – I was there a few months ago and the bartender, Eric made me feel welcome and introduced me to other people sitting around the bar. I immediately felt at ease, met some interesting people and had a great night. I went back recently and was amazed when Eric remembered my drink. I again met some great people and had a great night. I'm a believer
My favorite bar – This is my favorite bar in Chicago. I love it - check out Tuesdays - incredible piano player every week. Martinis here are not cheap, but you get what you pay for so I like it. I also don't mind the coat check policy or dress code. I hate people who dress like hobos and go out to bars. Viva Redhead Piano Bar!
Sort of boring – My hubby and I were in Chicago to celebrate our anniversary, so we were dressed up a bit. We were welcomed right in and shown right to table. The table had said 'reserved' but that was taken off for us. What does that mean? The good service stopped there. The waitress seemed annoyed to be our waitress. My husband ordered a speciality drink that he did not like at all. He asked her to exchange it and she looked liked that was the most absurd thing she had ever heard. She did do it tho. Music was nothing to write home about, kinda boring. We had been at a jazz bar in our own home town 2 weeks before that and were missing our home town place.
Terrible Customer Service – We never made it in the door. I was there for girls week in Chicago and because we had the audacity to be having a good time and laughing it was assumed we were drunk. We were not and asked to speak with the manager and he was just as rude. Since then we spoke to several people who have had similar experiences. I don't know what is going on with this establishment but I would suggest that everyone find another place to go. Chicago is an awesome city and this establishment is not worth the time.
absolutely the worst place I have ever been to – First off the atmosphere was beyond life sucking. I enjoyed pretty much nothing there. The crowd was boring, the entertainment much the same. My drinks were craptastic in both flavor and price. They make horrible mojitos. The management I spoke with however was very attending. The doorman, while a bit rude was very effective torward the street people who tried to come nearby.
Then there was the coat check. Be sure you get all your tickets for every item. The lady had the nerver to call me a liar and lost my leather jacket. When I talked to the manager, he knew exactly which coat I was referring to. There was another patron there with similar coat check issues.
The dress code was unexpected. Several people were turned away or offered other clothing. I was not fond of that at all. I prefer an environment where people can come in clean at least but also be themselves.
Personally I will never go back there and recommend others take similar caution.
No Class Found Here!! – My husband had business in Chicago, so I decided to fly up from Atlanta and spend a few days shopping while he worked. Having done the same thing when he goes to New York, I looked forward to seeing what Chicago had to offer. When my husband returned from work, we decided to walk and find a place to eat, so my husband slipped on his comfortable (not inexpensive) running shoes. Most of the places we wandered into had waits of over an hour and the bars were full. We saw the sign for the Redhead Piano bar and thought maybe we will just get a drink and venture out again. When we approached the door the doorman said, "Can I help you?" My husband replied, "Do you serve any food here?" The man said, "No, but why don't you go buy yourself a pair of shoes and then we can discuss if you will be allowed in this bar."
I was shocked that anyone in the service industry could be so rude. I have traveled to London, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, San Francisco ( just to name a few of the places I have been) and have never encountered such an attitude from someone who relies on the public for survival.
I have no problem with an establishment enforcing a dress code and had this place really been the classy place that it wants to be, the doorman would have been trained to turn away customers who are not dressed appropriately in a gracious and polite manner. Class is about manners and decency and after reading some of the other reviews about this place and our own experience, I would have to rate this as the lowest class business I have ever ventured near!
In my husbands line of work, he encounters many different people who travel like we do and I can assure you that we will make certain to inform as many people as possible that if they are looking for a high class lounge in Chicago, they won't find it at the Redhead Piano Bar!
A spot not to miss. – I have been going to this bar for years throughout my 20s and it still remains one of my favorites. The staff is fantastic and is always willing to accommodate me and my friends. I love that they are classy enough to have a dress code and keep the ignorant Chicagoans and tourists out of the bar.
Overall the atmosphere is warm and upbeat. The music is great and the piano player does their best to meet my eclectic music requests - trying to overcome the high demand for "Piano man" throughout the night is a big feat!
I highly recommend this intimate bar!!!
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