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Mojitos Served Atop Warring Ivories
Dueling Pianos at 526 Main and Mexican fare upstairs at neighbor Tequila Blue offer something for everyone.
Royal Oak is certainly known for its great selection of restaurants and bars, and the newest edition to its downtown mix is the dual restaurant and entertainment venue 526 Main and Tequila Blue.
The American grill-style bistro 526 Main plays host to dueling pianos; head upstairs and you’ll stumble upon Tequila Blue, which features an upscale Mexican restaurant that turns into a nightclub Thursday through Saturday night at 10 p.m.
“I think that 526 Main and Tequila Blue bring a very unique and fun element to Royal Oak,” says 526 Main staffer Sean Cherry. “Downstairs you have the piano bar; that’s a lot of fun, and upstairs you have an upscale restaurant that’s great to take a date to.”
American grills are not uncommon, especially in Royal Oak. The novelty at 526, of course, are its dueling pianos, which seem to be non-existent in Detroit; there are less then 20 piano bars in the entire state.
526 Main is open seven days and features dueling pianos Wednesday through Saturday from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. It also features live music, such as Thornetta Davis, Vinyl Underground and Paul Vomhagen, on Tuesdays and Sundays.
Its menu is pretty eclectic, with choices ranging from baby back ribs and garlic lime chicken to brick oven pizza and a variety of sandwiches. Naturally, they have a full bar and offer happy hour specials Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For a taste of Mexico, be a contrarian and head north (in this case, upstairs) to Tequila Blue and experience the upscale cantina’s Mexican-inspired décor and Latin cuisine. The menu features classics like tacos, burritos, enchiladas and tostadas. But, the kitchen also offers its own signature dishes. such as Chicken Milanese, Steak Tampiquena and Alahambra Cabarones.
The main attraction, though, is its full bar with more than 50 different kinds of tequila.
Bar Fly Hit Parade
• On The Spot Impression:
“I love 526 Main and Tequila Blue. It’s a lot of fun to have a dueling piano bar in town,” says Kate Windemere of Royal Oak.
• Drink Cost: Average drink cost is between $3-$9
• Clientele: Early 30s and up. No dress code. The night we went, people dressed between semi-casual to dressed-up. (When Tequila Blue turns into a nightclub and the dueling piano players are performing, people tend to dress to impress.)
• Music: Wed.-Sat. beginning at 8 p.m., 526 Main fires up the dueling pianos, playing a mix of classic hits from the early ’60s-present day. Upstairs at Tequila Blue, (Thurs.-Sat. at 10 p.m.) turns into a nightclub playing dance music du jour.
• Bar Appeal: Great for a date.
• Accessibility: Metered parking on the street and in parking lots.
• Queue Factor: $10 cover Wed.–Sat., but if you eat in the restaurant upstairs, $10 is deducted from your bill.
• Location and Hours: 526 S. Main St., Royal Oak (on the corner of Main St. and 5th) (248) 591-9000. 526 Main: Mon.–Sat. 11–1:30 a.m., Sun. noon–1:30 a.m. Tequila Blue: Mon.–Sun. 4 p.m.–1:30 a.m. Kitchen for both restaurants closes at 11 p.m.