Restaurants that feature strolling violinists

December 31, 2018, 6:51 AM · Are there any restaurants that feature strolling violinists anymore? I seem to recall there was a Hungarian restaurant in Boston that featured one but it has long since closed. I'm curious if this is something that is common to a particular part of the world. I did happen to encounter a mariachi band recently in the El Pueblo district of Los Angeles. It was very nice to see and hear.

Replies (11)

December 31, 2018, 10:18 AM · There is a touristy Mexican restaurant in downtown San Antonio that features mariachis.
December 31, 2018, 10:48 AM · Well, it's sitting, not strolling, but once a month my local bar and grill has me come down and play traditional Irish and American fiddle music for a couple of hours.
December 31, 2018, 11:47 AM · I have never seen this except in the movies.
December 31, 2018, 11:53 AM · Past tense-- there were restaurant/hotel based "strolling" violins at Minneapolis and Las Vegas. For Mariachi, go a little farther into East L.A. to El Mercado. The tradition is that the customer can have a private concert at their table, requesting any song they want, pay by the song. That is done at the big plazas at Guadalajara and Mexico city. When I worked with Mariachi Los Camperos, La Fonda restaurant, near McCarthur Park, the violins would scatter into the audience. One night I froze in the middle of a phrase, when I noticed that I was playing for George Harrison.
December 31, 2018, 11:59 AM · Also not strolling, but at the Cafe Schwartzenberg in Vienna, the duo of Dida & Ernest (piano and violin) play every Friday and Saturday night. When we were there a couple years ago, the waiter in our section would stand by the piano and sing songs with them.

We often get violinists busking at our Sunday farmers market, along with a wide variety of other musicians.

I think Paul Anastasio had a gig decades ago as a strolling violinist.

December 31, 2018, 1:45 PM · Every city with a pedestrian friendly entertainment area will have buskers.
December 31, 2018, 3:54 PM · Yes, there is a nice restaurant in the historic village section of Williamsburg, VA that usually has a "strolling violinist" who plays period music.

Luchow's in NYC (which closed after a major fire in the 1980's) used to be host to a Piano Trio who play largely German composers. (While the name sounds Chinese the menu and foods were German - the name is actually pronounced Lu-kov)

December 31, 2018, 4:49 PM · George: Thanks for the reminder. I dined at Luchow's in the 1970s and thoroughly enjoyed my mean and the music. At that point in my musical life that experience convinced me of the richness of piano trios and I had one going (through 3 evolutions) for the next 40 years; 3 different pianists, 2 different violinists, and 2 different cellists - but I was always in all of them. Amateur, but we had pianists who had earned a living playing and teaching before we "stringers" joined up with them.
Edited: December 31, 2018, 6:11 PM · There is a piano-quartet venue in Virginia called the Garth Newel Music Center. You listen to a concert and then have a prix fixe type brunch or dinner. I have never been there but it's supposed to be very good. Hard to imagine playing the Dohn├ínyi Piano Quintet while strolling among the diners, though.
December 31, 2018, 6:21 PM · Joel - what an amazing story!
January 22, 2019, 12:00 PM · My orchestra director strolls in restaurants as a gig.


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