Tucked away on a side street off Chueca, Toni 2 is a legendary piano bar that sends you on a trip down memory lane. When the dim-lit bar opens at 1am, a grand piano takes center stage. Patrons crowd around, resting their G&T’s on the piano’s long frame while they listen to nostalgic soloists sing songs such as My Way by Frank Sinatra, accompanied only by the pianist.
When my friend, Vanessa, and I were writing this article, one thing was clear – we never actually plan on going to Toni 2. It’s the kind of thing that just happens out of the blue. We’ll be out with friends in the center when someone makes the clever remark, “hey, how ‘bout we go to Toni 2?” At that point, there’s no turning back.
Describing Toni 2 is no easy task. People often call it classic live karaoke, yet it’s far more charming and unique than that. Amidst the smartly dressed over-60 crowd are plenty of patrons from the newer generation; perhaps these 30-something-year-olds stray too far off calle Hortaleza, or perhaps they too long for an old-fashioned mix of music and cocktails.
The piano bar’s décor is straight from a scene from Mad Men or the Godfather–red velvet sofas, a dark wooden bar, columns, mirrors, and live classic tunes being sung by those who have lived these songs; not just listened to them. Last time we went, a man sang “I See Trees of Green” by Louis Armstrong. His heartfelt, raspy voice sent chills up our spine. And if you’re familiar with Spanish classics, expect to also hear songs by Raphael and Jose Luís Perales.
If you’re thinking about singing here, we suggest you learn all the lyrics by heart, and know how to sing on key. Neither the pianist nor the crowd will let an amateur sing here purely for the sake of entertainment. Toni 2 is meant to give people a special place to sing down memory lane.
Although there’s no entrance fee, the drink prices at Toni 2 are higher than at the bars across the street; a G&T will cost you 10€ and a glass of wine, 7€. It goes unsaid that these prices are for the ambiance, which is stellar beyond belief.
So, let’s cheers to the good old days!
*This article has been written by me and my friend, Vanessa, who writes Las Mesas de Vanessa, a fabulous Madrid restaurant blog.