Last Friday night on the way to our favorite piano bar, we noticed (via note on the door at 2006 Chestnut Street) that Jolly Weldon, owner of Jolly’s Dueling Piano Bar, has moved his bar to the Academy House at 1420 Locust Street. We missed the official opening last Friday, but got a sneak peek and what’s to come when we caught directing manager Dan Caputo at the new location.

Caputo let us in on the deets: the new location (now called Jolly’s Dueling Piano Bar and Restaurant) has a full kitchen, much more indoor seating, three flat screen TVs facing the raised party area for live feeds of the piano stage, outdoor seating with heat lamps and a bar-central flat screen for sports. The new location came about for obvious reasons (obvious, that is, to anyone who frequented the last location)—owner Jolly Weldon just needed more space.

The Academy House location looks more like World Cafe Live Upstairs with a full bar, stage and plenty of seats. The bar will be serving up some humorous speciality drinks ($9) like the Ex-Boyfriend “It Was A Good Idea At The Time” with Chambord raspberry vodka and Sprite. The new American grill menu (chef Steve Quici has taken the spot of Brendan Smith) will include  grilled pizzas (like the one with caramelized pears, gorgonzola, walnuts and honey), sandwiches (hot roast pork with Italian greens and sharp provolone on a kaiser roll), five types of burgers (even a healthy version call Grass Roots made with black beans, quinoa and seasonal vegetables on multigrain) and dinner entrees like lobster ravioli and hand-made gnocchi with ricotta, gorgonzola and tomato cream sauce. Bar snacks included Crab Pop Em’s, Maryland crab balls with cocktails sauce, sliders, Chesapeake fries with malt vinegar and Old Bay seasoning and handmade Georgia sweet onion rings with blue cheese. Events at the new location include Sunday caberet night, Sunday brunch, Wednesday Jimmy Buffett nights and Tuesday night jam sessions and this week you can stop in from Wednesday through Saturday (in the future Jolly’s will be serving lunch and open all week).

We couldn’t be happier Jolly’s was able to expand to a larger spot, and the space is perfect for what they have created there; a lot better than the quiet Japanese boite they replaced. The only downfall is lack of parking in the area, but then again, we are in Rittenhouse.