Wednesday, May 23, 2012 | 6:34 p.m.
Some guy wearing an MMA T-shirt and what my girlfriend might call a “douchey” necklace walks up to the mic. I lower my expectations.
I’ll be damned if this guy doesn’t have one of the prettiest voices I’ve ever heard. He plays the guitar, too. Nobody knows who he is or how he wound up at Hank’s. He’d been sitting by himself all night, drinking. It’s a Susan Boyle moment for sure, but without the schmaltz.
On Fridays, Hank’s Fine Steaks at Green Valley Ranch stays open late. The restaurant’s piano bar turns into a late-night jam session led by unintentional Johnny Depp look-alike/soap opera star-turned-recording artist Peter Love. Love and the gang start playing at midnight, and they go until 3 or 4 a.m.
They sound fantastic.
- Hank's Fine Steaks & Martinis
- At Green Valley Ranch, 2300 Paseo Verde Parkway.
“It’s like Drai’s Afterhours,” Love says, “but there’s no ropes, and there’s music instead. It’s all off-the-cuff—we pull up music on our iPads and iPhones and just play.”
Who’s “we”? Well, there’s Peter (on guitar); there’s Kevin and Jason from the Peter Love Trio (on guitar and cajón); there’s Kenny from Don’t Tell Mama (on piano), and then there’s whoever else stops by.
“Musicians come by after they finish their gigs,” Love says. “We’ve got lounge performers from Monte Carlo, Fiesta, Sunset, Aliante and Red Rock. And we’ve had some celebrities, too: Sebastian Bach from Skid Row, Eddie Ojeda from Twisted Sister and Jake Owen.”
At 1 a.m., I approach the piano bar—a marble table that wraps around the baby grand—and take a seat in one of the glossy, gray, faux-animal print chairs. I chat up the attorney next to me. She tells me about a case she’s working on. I subconsciously step into the role of opposing council. She’s amused.
I order a Blackberry Thyme Margarita (Tres Generaciones Añejo, blackberries, Cointreau, lime, orange, sour) and listen to Peter and the gang jam out on Sublime’s “What I Got.”
“I recognize you from somewhere,” the attorney tells me. We figure out that it’s Don’t Tell Mama. We both used to hang out there. Before it got drenched by tourists. I actually recognize a couple other DTM alums in the crowd at Hank’s. So as Kenny breaks into Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks,” I realize, this is the late-night musicians’ new “place to be.”
Let’s see how long it lasts.