Best Karaoke Clubs in America
Despite the fact that karaoke’s stronghold on America is nothing compared to countries like Japan or Philippines, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t at least like watching people sing. It’s a pastime that can get introverts out of their shells, bring together strangers, and burn away hours like minutes; raise your hand if you’ve never walked into a karaoke bar at midnight and emerged at sunrise. Thought so! With so many types of karaoke joints to choose from in so many cities, towns and states across the nation, there’s no way to know where to start -- until now.
Hidden in the neon-laden crowded streets of Manhattan’s Koreatown, Gagopa Karaoke is the go-to spot for music-hungry people looking to spend a couple of hours singing with their closest friends. The BYOB policy (excluding hard liquor) gives people the option to loosen up as they choose from literally thousands of songs to sing. With hours going from 6:30 P.M. till 4 the next morning, it’s pretty obvious these guys know who their fan base consists of: people who definitely belt out “Party in the U.S.A.” every time.
Wang Chung Karaoke Bar (Oahu, Hawaii)
From New York, we go nearly 5,000 miles southwest to Oahu, Hawaii where Wang Chung’s Karaoke Bar promises an unforgettable experience for tourists and locals alike. What we love about this neighborhood dive joint is its lax take on karaoke “standards.” There’s no pressure to get up in front of the audience to sing -- when you pay the $1 to choose a song, you’re handed the microphone wherever you’re sitting and are allowed to belt out “Love Shake” (or whichever song you choose) from your seat at the bar. With the low key vibe, massive menu, and the “best Sunday Brunch in Waikiki,” there’s no reason not to stop in this little Hawaiian gem.
Once you’ve visited more than one few karaoke spots, you can pretty much make the following assumptions about wherever you go next: You’re going to be sitting on some pretty beat up looking chairs, there are going to be misspelled lyrics on the screen, and they probably won’t have that new Cardi B song you really wanna sing. LA’s Break Room 86 challenges the karaoke standard by offering some pretty impressive amenities within its premises. First off, there’s a fully integrated iPad karaoke system with wireless mics in every room. You’ve also got a retro Atari game system with more than 100 pre-programmed games to up the nostalgia factor. There’s full cocktail and bottle service and there’s even an included mini-fridge in case you want to save that last beer for the end of the night. Just goes to show you that you don’t always have to stick to the norms -- especially when it comes to karaoke.
Kajun’s Pub (New Orleans, LA)
One of the most frustrating parts of a karaoke night with friends is not finding the one song you wanted to sing. You know the song we’re talking about -- something that really shows off your pipes. Like “Roxanne” or “Somebody to Love.” Enter Kajun’s Pub in New Orleans’ French Quarter -- a seemingly run-of-the-mill bar that boasts some 50,000 song choices for patrons to drool over. People take the scene at Kajun’s so serious that, when the bar lost power during Hurricane Isaac, the music didn’t stop. That’s some real devotion right there. Check out their songbook for yourself bask in its infinite-ish glory.
When you wanna do karaoke the campy way -- i.e. the right way -- you come to Vegas. Welcome to Dino’s Lounge: a 24-hour, gloriously divey spot known for its pool, poker, and live karaoke shows. It’s what should pop up in your mind when you picture a Vegas karaoke club. While they haven’t done it six years, Dino’s used to publish a “Drunk of The Month” that celebrated the club’s particularly inebriated patrons. TripAdvisor is crawling with reviews boasting about the chill atmosphere, passionate locals, and “hottest bartenders” in town. Dino’s Lounge should be your first and last stop in Las Vegas.
Crunchy’s (East Lansing, MI)
Say you were to find yourself in East Lansing, Michigan for some reason. You’re tired, you’re hungry, you wanna sing, and it happens to be Friday after 9pm -- come to Crunchy’s. First off, this place looks like it should be called Crunchy’s (possibly due to the crunchy facade) and might just be the pinnacle Michigan karaoke spot. A robust song list paired with a healthy selection of standard and independent brews makes Crunchy’s an easy go-to for the weary, song-thirsty traveler.
Charlie’s Kitchen (Cambridge, MA)
It doesn’t get any more New England than Charlie’s Kitchen. Located in Harvard Square, this restaurant could almost be a case study of the effect of incredible food and booze on rowdy Nor’Easters. While karaoke only happens on Tuesdays, it’s well worth the week-long wait to come back and belt your way through a song you forgot to do last time. We suggest the double hot dog with a side of sweet potato sides before you launch into your cover of “Roadrunner” by the Modern Lovers. One key lyric you should make sure to belt out loud enough for everyone to hear: “I’m in love with Massachusetts!”
Of course, you can’t be expected to visit ever karaoke club, bar, and lounge in the country, or even the one down the street. When you have that urge to raise your voice and kill the room with your best Dave Lee Roth impression, you can always download Wurrly and make your house the most happening place in the country.