Willy D’s piano bar owner hopes to re-open this summer

Signs on the windows of the space at 230 W. Dickson St. advertise that Willy D’s Dueling Piano Bar will soon re-open.

Staff photo

Fayetteville has been without a piano bar for about a year, but it looks like Willy D’s will be back on Dickson Street soon.

Owner Don Ray closed the bar last summer after about a decade in business at 216 W. Dickson St., and used the space to expand his dance club, Fix Ultra Lounge.

Now, Ray said he plans to re-open the piano bar next door to the original location, in a large space located at 230 W. Dickson St.

“We’re excited to finally be close to opening again,” Ray told us Wednesday afternoon. “It seems like everywhere I go, I get people asking, ‘When are you going to re-open the piano bar?'”

Ray said the new space is about double the size of the original Willy D’s.

“The old space had about 130 seats,” he said. “We’re looking at about 300 (in the new space) next door.”

The last time we heard from Willy D’s, the hopes were to be back in business in time for Bikes, Blues & BBQ 2011.

Obviously, that didn’t happen, but the project has come back to life recently. Ray is currently selling “Founders Club” memberships for $100 that would entitle purchasers to a custom engraved piano key to be displayed at the bar, a t-shirt, a mug, and other member benefits.

If all goes according to plan, Ray said he hopes the bar will be open for business in early June.