Johnny Favourite Piano Bar
San Miguel de Allende Mexico
Johnny Favourite old bar "La Noche Piano Bar" has come and gone but Johnny is currently building out his new Piano Bar right in the heart of San Miguel de Allende Mexico.
Stay Tuned to this website for more details as they come available.
With a dollop of ice cream melting in his French-pressed coffee, a kiss for Oliver on the dog’s nose and a cigarette lit, he’s ready to confirm again, “I’m not leaving here - ever.” That’s music to the ears of all the music lovers who have discovered singer Johnny Favourite. He’s a maestro of music and magic at his La Noche Circus Piano Bar (now closed), a subterranean scene in circus stripes, red velvet and cozy sitting areas where couples dance in the isles as Johnny Favourite mesmerizes the crowd, always intuiting the next perfect song for setting the mood. He claims a repertoire of 4,000 songs.
And his repertoire? “I began falling in love with music at age three in my grandparents’ house where the big black record player spun out Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Cole Porter and Nat King Cole,” says Johnny. All those tunes would one day become part of Johnny’s classic song list. His musical tastes and selections grew beyond to include Leonard Cohen (who he recorded with at Le Studio in Montreal) and Rufus Wainwright, to classics from the Beatles, Elton John and Billy Joel to Marvin Gaye, Dire Straights and beyond.
“I spent twenty five years as a professional musician building my repertoire.” Many of those years flew past as the number one swing band from Canada. Then came recording contracts and a Juno Award, the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy. Of course there was the touring era, traveling around the world as he and his group played six nights a week and memorized from ten to twenty songs a week. In between Johnny played every nook and cranny of North America, from Texan roadhouses dolled up in hay bales to the Darby in New York and the Roxy in Boston. Collaborations and encouragements rolled in as even he and Michael Bublé became confidants.
Years passed with Portugal as Johnny Favourite's home base. He continued to travel the world bringing his gift of the best interpretation of each musical piece while sending audiences swooning in memories and swaying in dance party moves. Now of course in San Miguel de Allende there’s salsa in those steps too. San Miguel de Allende finally materialized for Johnny because, as he explains it, “I wanted a beer after my last cruise ship contract ended. I stood in the Miami Airport on December 4, 2012, deciding: should I use the one way ticket to St. John’s, Newfoundland and get home to spend Christmas with Mom, or should I take the one way flight to Mexico City and hop a bus to San Miguel de Allende?”
The fact that internationally recognized musicians play with Johnny Favourite at La Noche Circus Piano Bar Wednesday through Sunday nights and musicians from across the globe continue to search out Johnny’s to join in, is the respective answer. He landed in Mexico City, waited overnight for the bus to San Miguel and arrived early the next morning. “I found Starbucks easily. Found the town square and the fabulous pink Parroquia I’d been looking at on-line for years. I walked the town and within hours knew my next song would be, ‘I Left My Heart…in San Miguel’ a revision of an old favorite.”
Johnny Favourite quickly established himself with his world-class singer entertainer background and within months had opened the La Noche Piano Bar. “I’d been living out of a suitcase since 1997. I stopped that here. It’s not just the weather or architecture that make San Miguel what it is – it’s the people. I love the people here.” And the people love Johnny right back. “Our crowd is cross-cultural, a great mix of Mexicans, North Americans and world citizens from Australia to Newfoundland. I always give Newfies a profound welcome,” he says, being a Newfoundlander himself. “Another thing - we look after all of our guests, women especially, feel safe. We see them to their taxis which we have waiting and know the taxi numbers and drivers.”
Johnny Favourite says they use just three pours to a bottle of wine, not the bar-standard of five, as he likes generosity in all forms. Orquida Restaurant can bring over ‘Pu-Pu Platters’ with summer rolls and crab cakes. The bar's 50-peso cover charge goes directly to pay the musicians. Johnny sings about four hours every night he performs but it may soon become more as the new location at Zacateros 73 can remain open until 3:00 a.m. and Johnny envisions an after-hours club developing as people stop in on their way home or wander out late. About the month of July and this coming summer, Johnny says, "I have Craig Caffal coming for a month (plays with Maria Muladaur) he is AMAZING, and the incredible vocalist 'Lady Zen' is coming for the month, she is a blend of Adelle And Aretha Franklin. It's gonna be great."
“Watch for the ringmaster in the red velvet jacket, white breaches with a small whip to manifest one night on the sidewalk to show you down the stairs into my favorite place in the world,” Johnny promises. That would be La Noche Circus Piano Bar now reality on Zacateros Street where he is a maestro of dreams spun into music like magic.