Howl at the Moon

Bar / Piano Bar / Restaurant
Howl at the Moon For those who rock out in the shower but are too embarrassed to try karaoke, the pianists at Howl at the Moon offer an introvert's alternative, playing crowd-pleasers late into the night to a packed and raucous crowd always... Chicago United States 41.8900689 -87.6290214
3.1 12
Howl at the Moon - Bar | Piano Bar | Restaurant in Chicago.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review For those who rock out in the shower but are too embarrassed to try karaoke, the pianists at Howl at the Moon offer an introvert’s alternative, playing crowd-pleasers late into the night to a packed and raucous crowd always... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    M–F 5pm–2am, Sa 5pm–3am, Su 7pm–2am
    Piano show: M–W, Su at 8pm, Th–F at 6pm, Sa at 7pm

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Howl at the Moon Review

The Scene

For those who rock out in the shower but are too embarrassed to try karaoke, the pianists at Howl at the Moon offer an introvert's alternative, playing crowd-pleasers late into the night to a packed and raucous crowd always...

For those who rock out in the shower but are too embarrassed to try karaoke, the pianists at Howl at the Moon offer an introvert’s alternative, playing crowd-pleasers late into the night to a packed and raucous crowd always ready to sing along.

Both an after-work hangout for business people and a late-night hotspot for birthday groups and bachelorettes, this dueling piano bar somehow gets finance types to belt out Journey and frat boys to preen through Pat Benatar tunes – albeit, often fueled by a free buffet or a few too many eighty-six-ounce buckets of something bright and blue.

Weekday evenings tend to be lower key, with an older clientele of nearby office types sharing a few beers or groups of women taking a martini break before continuing their shopping. Once Friday and Saturday roll around, however, the line of party girls and closeted 80s fans snaking down the street by 9pm gives testament to the venue’s popularity.

A small elevated stage is home to the two pianists and back-up instrumentalists, who perform audience requests till the wee hours as groups of girls kick off their heels to dance on the main bar and the audience does its best to overpower the professional singers.

For relaxing post-work drinks or a night of revelry out on the town, Howl at the Moon is an excellent spot to kick back and let loose with a couple hundred new friends, at least two of which won’t be tone deaf.

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Tip from Emma:

The music at Howl at the Moon is always energetic, but beware of the service. The waitresses are vastly outnumbered by the patrons, so flag a server down the first chance you get, or risk waiting twenty minutes before she comes back around.

  • Crowd

    Older women and businessmen on corporate retreats, young professionals, groups of preps, guests from the nearby hotels, and bachelorette parties, mid-20s to late 40s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Dueling pianos and vocal accompaniment, often with additional instruments like drums, bass, guitar, and fiddle. Specials for holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo. Various party packages available for private events.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    General bar fare including appetizers and burgers. Complimentary appetizer buffet F 5–7pm.

  • Prices

    Cover charge $5/Su–Th after 9pm, $10/F–Sa after 6pm. Appetizers $7–$9, sandwiches and entrées $9–$13, pizza $17+. Beer $5–$6, wine $8–$10, cocktails $5–$12, 86oz buckets $25.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual to nice casual: business attire, slacks, sweaters, button-downs, cocktail dresses, jeans, t-shirts.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Friday and Saturday nights after 10pm for a real party atmosphere.

  • Close By

    Redhead Piano Bar (16 West Ontario Street) also offers piano music, but with a slightly mellower vibe.

Howl at the Moon User Reviews

Average rating:
Real music! Well, 90's music...
Carissa L. Jun 28, 2013
I’m not really into the same club scene as a lot of my friends. I like music you can sing to, dancing that has actual steps, and beer that doesn’t taste like water. On a rare night out with said friends, this was like an oasis. First point: dueling pianos! With dueling boy band music! Second point: buckets (buckets!) of cocktails! I got an hour’s respite of screaming Backstreet Boys lyrics and jumping around like a maniac before I had to go back to the grinding of Social 25. It’s crowded and loud, but if you can make it on a night with dueling pianos and let yourself go a bit crazy, you’ll have an awesome time.
You better be drunk for this one...
Brian P. Apr 14, 2013
It is with sincere disdain that I admit to have ever wandered into this establishment, but that's just me. Now, if you're looking to make bad decisions on overpriced cocktails and bachelorette parties nursing Bud Light through penis straws than this is right up your alley—literally. Howl at the Moon caters to a primarily yuppie/suburbanite crowd. Typical male attire consists of designer jeans, Keebler elf pointy toe shoes, and blazers—you know the type. The cocktails are soft on booze, a domestic bottle of beer will set you back six bucks, and the food is...actually I've never seen anyone eating food here, never. However, I have to give it up for the dueling pianos—excellent. If your in the neighborhood I recommend you go across the street to O'Callaghan's first and down a bottle of gin, then and only then head over to Howl at the Moon and enjoy Billy Joel hopefuls killing it on the ivories.
A first time that will definitely not be a last time.
Andy J. Apr 8, 2013
Everybody likes experiencing new things for free, right? Well, I can now scratch a piano bar off that list. My friend won a free admission party to Howl at the Moon the weekend before Thanksgiving. Like the gentleman he is, I was given an invitation to attend. After walking in and getting situated, it was time to order a drink. Even though there were probably over one hundred people there, our waitress immediately came over and asked us for our order. Prompt service is one of the easiest ways to endear yourself to customers, and she became our group's best friend for the next couple hours. But on to the most important part: the music. This was exactly what I thought it would be. A supremely talented man and woman exciting the crowd and singing their heart out. These performers had the musical range needed to identify with all ages. Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, Coldplay and Nicki Minaj were just a sample of the musical tastes shown by the performers. As our party came to an end, I was already hoping I could come back tomorrow.
Bachelorette Party Friendly
Cammy M. Mar 26, 2013
Three weeks ago, Howl at the Moon was the first stop that friends and I went to for bachelorette party weekend in Chicago. We decided to start there because they offered live music and awesome fishbowls specials. It was hard to find a seat near the piano stage because of the crowd, but if it were the opposite meaning dead we probably would have just walked out. The vibe was great, the crowd was fun, reasonable prices, and the music was terrific. We managed to get a high top next to the bar. The bachelorette got called on stage as they sang Girls Just Want to Have Fun, the live music was the one of many perks of this bar. We ended up making it the first and last stop of the night.
Pricey but Fun
Bella M. Feb 23, 2013
I have gone in here a few times because I have friends who have one a party with the half-off happy hour. You can't really go wrong with that. I don't live in the area so I do wonder if I would go if it weren't for the half-off would I be tempted to go. The drinks are a little pricey for me. That being said, the one thing they do SUPERBLY is the dueling pianos. The first time I went in here I was a novice to the idea but afterwards I was sold. Who knew you could have such fondness for a piano-cover of The Spice Girls? It was very entertaining to say the least. One thing though, it gets packed the later it gets so get in early. In brief, please do go but go right on payday.
I always say never again, but look where I am...
Craig B. Dec 10, 2012
Howl at the Moon is everything you expect from a dueling piano bar and more. More drinks, more drunk people, and more dueling piano covers of Ke$ha and Queen. But it's hard not to get into the spirit, and the price is usually right to get just one more drink (always one more drink). Go early because it will get crowded, and leave as soon as someone requests their school fight song; the night inevitably falls apart soon after that. When you leave, go check out Mercadito, Public House, or Andy's Jazz Club (depending on what mood you're in after seeing all that raw, unbridled tequila-fueled sexual energy).
Can be fun if you're in the mood
Christina W. Dec 8, 2012
The first time I went to Howl at the Moon, I was pretty inebriated when I arrived, and I proceeded to get more so as the evening wore on. And it was great! The songs were hilarious, the patrons were excited and energetic, and it was a great time. We submitted a bunch of songs for them to sing (for tips, of course), and the dueling piano players sang their hearts out, and it was hilarious and fun. The second time I went there, it was kind of a dud. The first time I went was a Tuesday, so I assumed all nights were amazing. But this Wednesday night was not great. The musicians weren't as good, the prices somehow seemed higher, and the patrons were about 20 years older than my previous visit. I'm not sure if it's because I was more sober the second time around, or if I just happened to pick a rough night. But overall, here's what I'll say: Howl at the Moon can be great fun if a) you are with a group of friends, b) you are drinking (a lot), and c) you're excited to be there regardless of what happens with the music. The energy is good and it's worth a shot if you are in the right mood.
Bachelorettes, Bad Singing, & Big Drinks
Jessica S. Oct 4, 2012
I am going to quote President Obama: “Let me be clear, if you go to a piano bar the purpose is to drink massive amounts of alcohol and behave like a bipolar Joe Biden.” That sums up Howl at the Moon. It’s pretty much the WORST place in the world, but you kind of know that going in. Getting in is usually no biggie if you go early, even with big crowd the place is huge. You’re going to see a ton of parties, giant cocktails with more sugar in them than a sugar cane plantation, and music that (thankfully) gets progressively better after your second attempt to down one of these mammoth buckets they call a drink. After 9pm is when you will usually see the line around the block, and it stays that way all night, so go early. It will be wall-to-wall morons and you will be one of them. Come here with low expectations and leave with liver damage. Pretty sure many babies have been conceived after a night here. I go once a year, have an amazing time, and swear I will never go back because I respect myself….then I always do next year…
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