Perhaps this is not something I should be admitting, but I really enjoy piano bars.
not so secret Billy Joel lover), but I love me a smokey bar with a Piano player pounding out covers of the hits. Las Vegas has no shortage of such places, with dueling piano bars Harrah's, New York New York, and Paris, but those joints are generally packed to the gills with a more broish element screaming for Don't Stop Believin' (not that there's anything wrong with that wonderful song, but it's sorta been done to death of late). Don't Tell Mama in Downtown is a different story entirely.
DTM, located right on Fremont Street near a bunch of other cool bars, is a bit small, so try to get there on the early side of the evening if you want to grab a table for you and your peeps. The bartenders take turns belting out tunes played by the energetic and hilarious piano player when they're not serving you strong yet admittedly slightly pricy cocktails. The girls are surprisingly talented, especially singer/ drink-slinger Dre, who has become somewhat of a local celebrity. Throw a few bucks into the tip jar and ask for a request and you can get up and sing your heart out or let the super talented do it for you.
In addition to a Billy Joel rarity (this is not a place to beg for the overplayed yet still wonderful Piano Man, but they conceded my deep cut request), I got them to play some Beatles and Kinks tunes that brought down the house. And even though I didn't have anything to do with the performances beyond requesting the songs, I felt that I had proven something (you'll never accuse me of having anything less than a healthy ego).
But as much as I like to take credit for my piano bar curatorial skills (an extension of my X-Men like abilities to choose the best Jukebox tracks every time I go to The Drawing Room in Los Feliz), the piano player himself really blew me away with the selection of tunes he selected off the top of his head. Radiohead played at a Vegas piano bar? Yes, please! He did also play a Muse song, but let's not hold that against him.
The place is right in the heart of the "cool part" of Fremont Street, located just a couple doors away from The Griffin, and very close to Insert Coins and Beauty Bar. The crowd is a nice mix of locals, adventurous tourists who have heard the place offers something more off-beat, hipsters, and gays (which made one less than open-minded Yelper so uncomfortable that she rated this awesome place only three stars. Plus she was mad that there weren't "endless drunk renditions of Journey and Billy Joel," so the fact that they play more eclectic music is now apparently a bad thing. There's no accounting for stupid, I guess).
Don't Tell Mama is pure fun-time, and just another example of why Downtown is the place to be if you're looking for an offbeat party night in Vegas.