Dueling Piano Bar Set to Open in Uptown

A Lexington, Ky.-based dueling piano bar has received the city's go-ahead to open a location in Uptown.

According to Dallas city records, the Penguin Dueling Piano Bar has been granted a certificate of occupancy, allowing its troubadours to start tinkling near the corner of Cedar Springs Road and Fairmount Street.

The Penguin's owners didn't return an e-mail message, but the company's web site describes a concept familiar to patrons of cruises and all-inclusive resorts: "Two baby grand pianos sit on stage facing one another; behind them sit the entertainers...with short comedy bits, toasts and roasts throughout the evening, everyone is guaranteed a fun time at the Penguin."

Dueling piano bars have a storied history in Dallas. While Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans is universally acknowledged as the innovator of the interactive format, most dueling piano fans credit Dallas' Alley Cats with reinvigorating it.

A 1987 Texas Monthly story described the scene at the then year-old West End bar:

"Boisterous preppies crowded around two piano players and sang "I Want to Hold Your Hand" with all the spirit and enthusiasm the corps puts into the "Aggie War Hymn"," Joe Nick Patoski wrote.

Alley Cats closed in 2007, although former employees are getting together this weekend to reminisce, and - perhaps - sing a few dueling piano standards.

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