Andrew Karlin opened the Red Piano Lounge in Bearden two years ago as a neighborhood bar and entertainment venue to showcase Knoxville’s deep pool of jazz and blues talent. The lounge has primarily made its money through bar sales, but that wasn’t a good growth model, says Karlin.
Live entertainment is what the venue became known for, and where Karlin decided to focus.
Last week, the Red Piano Lounge moved to a fixed performance price, charging $20 per person for a nightly performance that starts at 7:30, every Wednesday through Sunday night, and wraps up between 10:30 and 11. (There are sometimes scheduled late-night shows as well.)
Performances include an open bar for attendees, with beer, wine and well-brand cocktails included in the ticket and other liquors at house cost. There is also a designated driver cost of $10 per performance.
Karlin says the model is one that is often seen in jazz clubs in bigger cities.
“We have amazing, world-class musicians who live here in Knoxville,” he says. He hopes to expose these musicians to a growing audience as well as give their regulars a dedicated viewing spot. He boasts about the lounge’s excellent sound system and acoustics, as well as a layout that puts any member of the audience within 20 feet of the performers. The venue seats about 100.
The Red Piano Lounge is at 4620 Kingston Pike, Suite 2. Past performers have included jazz saxophonist Will Boyd, vocalist Kelle Jolly, pianists Keith Brown and Wendel Werner, Latin jazz house band LPB, and many nationally regarded jazz, blues, and R&B acts.