San Antonio's Rockstar Turned Realtor®: Review: Howl At The Moon - Downtown San Antonio

Review: Howl At The Moon - Downtown San Antonio

Dueling pianos at Howl At The Moon in downtown San Antonio, TX.

photo courtesy of j3ku

A friend's birthday leads me to Howl At The Moon.

I don't go downtown to the Riverwalk nearly enough considering how much I enjoy the area.  If you've never been the the Riverwalk, I suggest you go.  You'll love it.  Gorgeous scenery and lots of bars and restaurants all in once convenient location.  This past weekend, since it was my friend's birthday, she was able to choose where we were heading.  So we gathered our friends and wound up at Howl At The Moon.  I had never been to one, although I had heard of them before and seen a few in my travels.  They're a chain (I believe there's 11 sprinkled throughout the US) and the premise is "dueling piano bar."  Two pianos sit on a stage in the center of the bar and live music plays all night long.  A combination of oldies, new songs, classic piano hits, TV show theme songs, and a bit of comedy all in one.  Behind the piano players sits two large mirrors (you can see them in the photo above) on which various phrases are written.  The idea is, you tip the piano players the current going rate (the prices go up as more people "bid") and you can have them write your phrase up on the mirror.  When we went there were several military groups in the bar, so a lot of the phrases revolved around who was better - Army vs. Air Force.  Each mirror has its own price, one being higher than the other as the phrase stays on there longer.

The atmosphere.

The bar was a fun, upbeat place with lots of people having a good time.  Sing-a-longs were constantly going on and several spontaneous dance floors were created by people wanting to enjoy the music a bit more.  I felt the band could have been a bit louder as there were times I could barely tell what song they were playing over the noise of the crowd, but much louder and it would have been too much like a rock club.  Its all about the balance I guess.  They did charge a $10 cover to get in which I can't stand, but of course, I'm cheap.

The bar.

My beer was always only lukewarm, which was a huge let down for me, especially considering the price.  When I'm buying overpriced beer, I like to at least know they'll be ice cold.  I hate going downtown for the prices.  There really is no need for $4-5 domestic bottles or a shot of tequila (the birthday girl loves tequila) for $8, I don't care how good it is.  I'm cheap like that though, so please ignore me if you find those prices "normal."  I'm grew up in an area where we could still find 75 cent draft nights though, so blame it on upbringing.  The bar staff were all really friendly and quick to get drinks (I hate waiting too!), so that was a plus.

The music.

I already mentioned the low volume, but that's just me...I like it loud (probably because I'm half deaf from 14 years of playing guitar at ear-splitting volume).  Overall, I was pretty let down by the musicians.  One of the piano players looked miserable the whole time, another was a terrible singer, and none of them seemed like they had practiced together on a lot of the songs (missed melody changes, people stopping playing and looking confused, bad notes).  It was just a bit too sloppy I thought.  They also skipped a lot of the idea of dueling pianos and it was more tandem pianos.  I've been to a few dueling piano bars in my life and the fun was always the back and forth between the two musicians, not just that they played together.

Final outcome?

Not my favorite (I'd rather go have a few beers on the patio of the Hard Rock Cafe), but I can see why people love it.  Its fun, different, and upbeat.  Most people probably wouldn't notice some of the musical things I did - I tend to be a little over critical when I see bands play (old habit from nightly thinking about what I messed up onstage).  The lukewarm beer was pretty inexcusable, but its not the first time I've gone and experienced it.  My call - if you're looking for something interesting, different, and to have a good time - go visit the piano players at Howl At The Moon.  If you hate it, just go downstairs to the Hard Rock Cafe.  If you love it, then stick around and sing-a-long.

Howl At The Moon

111 W Crockett St # 201

San Antonio, TX 78205

(210) 212-4695

Comment balloon 9 commentsMatt Stigliano • January 26 2009 01:53PM


Sounds like a great place to hang out at! But, that is just me! I like fun, different and upbeat! With music that I can barely hear. Oh well, to each his own, right? I would like the Riverwalk as well. I have never been to San Antonia but would go and check out the Riverwalk if I ever get the chance.

Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) about 11 years ago

Hi Matt:

Howl at the moon...don't you mean "Bark at the Moon"...

I love Ozzy...

Posted by Toula Rosebrock, Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township, (Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ) about 11 years ago

I have been through San Antonio twice and still have not stopped at the RiverWalk, what is wrong with me?

Posted by Angelia Garcia (Pure Realtors) about 11 years ago

Durty Nelly's Irish Pub can be a lot of fun...especially with a group.

Posted by Keith McMullin, Port Aransas Real Estate (Port Aransas Realty) about 11 years ago

Hi Matt, I have never been to Howl At The Moon but I have heard a lot about it.  My husband is retired but for fun works for a destination management company a few days/nights per month.  He says that people here on convention like going there.

Posted by Shirley Parks, Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate (Sands Realty 210-414-0966) about 11 years ago

HI Matt - I love HATM but only go about once/year.  It is a trek to get downtown and fight crowds, etc.  If you get there early enough there isn't a cover AND you can get a table up front w/out paying.  That's key AND with one of my friends the ONLY way she will go.  Durty Nelly's is tons of fun also!  KM

Posted by Kristin Moran, San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397 (Owner - RE/MAX Access - about 11 years ago

P.S. - sometimes the military and college stuff can get a tad too much going back and forth.  I guess it makes the piano players more cash though.   No offense BUT it seems they should take it outside @ times :D. 

Posted by Kristin Moran, San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397 (Owner - RE/MAX Access - about 11 years ago

Fun time ! ... except for the lukewarm beer !

Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) about 11 years ago

Maybe we should throw a San Antonio Realtor bash there someday.  We can write back and forth like "RE/MAX is for losers" and "Only idiots work for Exit" - haha.

Sheldon - The only time I like lukewarm beer is when I'm drinking bitter.  As we don't do much in the bitter department here, I don't drink it unless I'm back in the UK.

Posted by Matt Stigliano (Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME) about 11 years ago