You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

High Five

Mel Stiller at Jacob Wirth

Mel Stiller plays piano and sings at the Jacob Wirth restaurant on Stuart street.

Mel Stiller plays piano and sings at the Jacob Wirth restaurant on Stuart street.

Almost every Friday night for nearly 24 years, Mel Stiller has been stationed behind the piano at Jacob Wirth, leading a raucous sing-along at the beloved Theatre District restaurant.

“I might take one off a year,” says Stiller, who loves his weekly engagement, has gotten to know his regulars by name, and has happily watched patrons go from first date to marriage. “Believe it or not, a lot of friendships have grown over the years.”

Continue reading below

Every year on the Friday before Christmas Stiller brings out the Christmas supplement for his mammoth sing-along book but says that “the vast majority of people still want the standard rock songs.” Although he often has to play the same songs week in and week out — Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” is a top request — Stiller says it never gets old. “If I was just sitting there by myself, playing the same songs all the time, that would be boring. It’s not boring if you see a whole room of people enjoying it.” We asked Stiller to give sing-along newbies five reasons to give it a try.

1. “It’s a great escape, you forget your cares for a night.”

2. “It’s a unique experience in the sense that there are books that are handed out with words to 500 songs and that it’s a group thing, not a karaoke thing. And most piano bars do the standards and show tunes and this is more oldies and classic rock.”

3. “Jake’s has a great beer selection, which helps you get in the mood to sing.”

4. “It’s the kind of place where no one’s really a stranger. People tend to meet each other and talk to each other and everyone is doing it as a group. It’s more of a communal experience.”

5. “It’s free.”

Sarah Rodman can be reached at srodman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.