Monday 18 October 2010

Sing us a song you're the...

Last night, as I was trying to get the girls into bed I received an SMS: "Piano Man is playing, I can't believe it."

Suddenly, I wasn't standing in my inner west home anymore, I was in a dark, smoky room upstairs at the Megahole on Sydney's lower north shore. I'm 10 years younger. I can feel the stickiness under my shoes, smell the stale cigarette smoke and taste the sugary sweet Illusions from the plastic shot glass (it was a cocktail bar after all, folks). Most importantly, I can hear American Pie, I Still Call Australia Home, Greatest American Hero and, of course, Piano Man.

If you've ever been on Sydney's lower north shore and had one too many drinks or stayed out a little later than you should have, chances are you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. For those who have never had the honour of stepping into Minsky's Cocktail Bar in the Megahole (Cremorne Metropole, or Hotel Cremorne as it's now known), let me fill you in.

Most nights, at around 11pm, a skinny man, balding on top but with a long-ish ponytail, would take a seat behind a piano and belt out tunes. Classic tunes from Elton John, Neil Diamond, Peter Allen, Don Maclean and Billy Joel. Drunken people of all ages would gather round and sing along at the top of their lungs until the wee hours. Teenage rugby players would link arms with 40-year-old kitchen salesmen, teenyboppers and matronly north shore ladies would join in the chorus.

I'll admit it. Yes, I have spent a night or two at Minky's, singing along, swaying along. Actually Piano Man knows me and doesn't really like me, mainly because I'd request songs and not put money in the jar (though I did say 'Man, what am I doing here'). Then there was that time I ended up with a large bruise on my forehead after a head banging incident with my glass during Sweet Caroline. Ahhh the memories...

I don't know if Piano Man still plays there, it's been many years since I've been. I know he took a brief retirement only to return after public demand. Last night, the SMS came from Skip, who was attending a conference at Rooty Hill RSL (I know!). According to Skip, Piano Man provided the night's entertainment and didn't disappoint playing his standard repertoire.  On a Sunday night, it was nice to take a little bit of time travelling in my mind, go back to the old days and thank God those days are way in the past!

Have you ever seen the Piano Man? Tell me your tales!

I just did a little research on the interwebs and apparently Piano Man still plays at Minksy's. He even has his own website. Check it out if you're game! 


  1. That sounds really interesting... :-)

  2. I LOVE going to this awesome pub nearby - it is a piano bar and sing along. Every Friday thru Sunday night there is a piano man and the whole place sings along and gets rowdy. They have little sing along books and everything. And, yes, Piano Man is in the book, but the annoying thing is that the guy gets upset if it's requested because he's so tired of it. F***er.

  3. Oh yes Rin, but I think you have always been present - so no tales you don't already know - and thankfully I don't remember most of what went on at Minskis at that hour. Ah the joys of alcohol induced amnesia!! What a time machine that post was :)

  4. This is from the Mega's facebook page:

    Now open from 9pm every Friday & Saturday Night!
    Still featuring the only and only John 'The Piano Man' Watson

    So whens the reunion?


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