About Park Bench
Good Times - Good People - Great Music
by Larry Hall
In 1994 I had a vision of opening a bar that would cater to everyone . I was lucky to land a location in Buckhead, the entertainment district of Atlanta. I was in my 20s and had zero money, so I borrowed from my father, a man who always supported his kids “adventures”, and with the luck of the Irish, the bar took off like a race car.
We had lines out the door and a crowd second to none. We had professional athletes, big time musicians, politicians, and every girl in Atlanta coming to enjoy a good time.
Park Bench was an instant hit and from that point we never looked back. We had Dave Mathews, Zac Brown Band, Hootie and the Blowfish and many more that played there before they became big.
After two huge years, the 1996 Olympics came to Atlanta and we were on everybody’s map. We were open from 11:00am to 5:30am and filled wall to wall the entire three weeks. After that we kept rolling and expanded our product to other areas.
There have been three Superbowls in Atlanta and all the players came to the bar. Peyton Manning, one of the nicest athletes ever, came in enjoy a Budweiser and socialized with customers just like a local.
Emmitt Smith from the Dallas Cowboys was another great down to earth athlete who visited Park Bench. Many well-known people visited Park Bench, such as national hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, Miss America 1995 and many more. It was just an amazing time for us.
We like to be involved in charities and enjoy running fundraisers. A favorite of ours is Children’s Healthcare of America – Scottish Rite Children Hospital.
My dad is now 86 years old and has worked with me for 20 years since retiring from Delta. It is so special having my dad by my side always looking out for me. He takes in deliveries and calls in all the orders on a regular basis. My dad has formed more friendships with the regulars than most all the other employees and is such an important part of Park Bench.
THE PARK BENCH CONCEPT
It’s a dueling piano bar. It’s a rockin’ cover band bar. It’s live music that you sing and dance along to. It’s Park Bench!
Today we are more than bar. Park Bench is a symbol for live music in Atlanta and we want to bring a reputation for “Live Music and Good Times” to The Battery Atlanta!
Dueling Pianos is one of the most interactive forms of live entertainment. Billed as “sing along” because the piano players perform songs everyone recognizes and encourage the crowd to sing along with them. The two players solicit songs from the audience.
Because this is a request driven show, the audience plays a big part in the fun. Typical song requests range from classic piano hits, country, top 40 and anything that patrons can sing along and dance along to. The bar tops have song request slips and pens on them to emphasize song requests.
Normally a $1 bill accompanies the song request when it’s placed on the piano. Good humor and toasts are also a part of the show. Occasions such as a bachelorette or birthday party are celebrated with members of the audience on stage.
In August 2013 we introduced dueling pianos to our millennial customers on select nights. It has been a huge success and we became the longest running live series on Thursday’s in Buckhead.
The show continued to grow in popularity and became such a big part of the overall concept that we expanded into Friday’s and Saturday’s with a combined dueling piano shows and solo all-request piano shows that cater to a mix of baby boomers and young professionals.
We’ve actually created a new customer base that comes almost exclusively for our all-request piano shows whether they are dueling or solo.
When the room is packed with 500 people and everyone is singing along with the band, you know you’re in Park Bench. That’s us. That’s what we do every night on our main stage.
One night it’ll be all country music, the next it could be 90’s alternative and big hits from the 80’s. Or it might just be a rock show with a few country songs sprinkled in. No matter the genre of music, our cover band recipe is simple:
- Play the songs people know
- Play what people will sing to
- Play what people will dance to
- All cover songs. All night long!
We are proud of the standard we’ve set for live entertainment in Atlanta and it shows every night. Park Bench is known in the music industry as one of the most important rooms in Atlanta to play in for up and coming bands.
Park Bench always has an energetic crowd, great sound quality, and a professional environment. It caters to a great live band experience for the musicians and patrons alike. We receive hundreds of booking requests monthly from acts all over the country to play in our room because of our great reputation and the demographic we attract.
Many other rooms cannot boast that they have a dedicated stage, in-house sound system and a room solely dedicated to a live music experience like Park Bench. Our bands aren’t moving dinner tables out of the corner of a restaurant to play. They are front and center, the main attraction, and the focus of the room.
We look forward to bringing the same energy, talent, and fun atmosphere to the Battery Atlanta.
About Larry Hall
After representing USA Hockey’s Southeast Region at the 1984 Olympic hockey team tryouts, Larry went back to school at the University of Georgia with a goal of starting the UGA hockey team.
In 1987 he founded the team and was actively involved as a member of the board of directors and donor to UGA hockey until 2015.
Upon graduating UGA in 1991, he opened his first bar and shortly after, in 1994 opened his flagship business, Park Bench where it continued to flourish in Buckhead’s West Village for over 22 years.
Larry has owned several bars and restaurants throughout the Greater Atlanta area including Park Bench locations in Dunwoody, Midtown, Emory, and in Birmingham, Alabama.
He was also involved in relaunching and operating the historic Dogwood Festival from 1997-2005, a 3-day event with over 200,000 attendees. Park Bench held the liquor license for the event and was responsible for managing 75-100 vendor kiosks, the family entertainment zone, live music stages, and alcohol distributor relationships.
Larry is a Eucharistic Minister at All Saints Catholic Church, a member of the Knights of Columbus and a high school hockey coach at Marist High School.