Two for the Show

Keys on Main hits the right note in Costa Mesa


Written by Susan Irby



Dating back as early as the 1890s and brought to prominence in 1933 at Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans, dueling piano bars have long been making their mark. Two grand pianos, three or more expert pianists on a stage in a club with theater-like seating engaging audiences submitting songs, often on bar napkins with lofty tips… this is the dueling piano bar. This winter, Costa Mesa welcomes George Hasenohrl and his dueling piano bar, Keys on Main, which originally opened in Salt Lake City over 10 years ago. Of his vision, Hasenohrl says, “As a dueling piano player myself, I wanted to give the bar a nightclub feel . . . bigger, classier than the old-style bars.” As such, Keys on Main features a video wall and special lighting showcasing a duo of facing grand pianos on stage. “Attending one of our shows is more like going to a rock concert,” adds Hasenohrl.

Open to the public, Keys on Main offers craft cocktails and pub fare too, but the big attraction is the dueling piano show. With doors opening at 7 p.m, reserved seating fills by 8:30 p.m. At 9 p.m., the show—or showdown—begins and often goes until 1:30 in the morning. Catapulting the lively atmosphere to an even higher level is an evening’s audience, with customers also dueling it out with paid special song requests. Just when your favorite song may be wafting through the club, a competing guest may throw down more money for a different tune, thereby stopping your song in its musical tracks. An endless evening of musicians duking it out on the keyboards, with cheering crowds and cool music… sounds like a hit. 

Keys on Main, Triangle Square, 1870 Harbor Blvd., Suite L1-108, Costa Mesa, CA 92627 |