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Jess Hutchison / For The Times

29 essential L.A. karaoke spots for every kind of singer

There’s no better city for karaoke lovers than Los Angeles, where anyone from nervous newbies to wannabe American Idols can find a stage, down liquid courage and make magic on the mic seven days a week.

Only in L.A. can you stumble upon karaoke overlooking the Pacific on the Venice pier, hitch a ride on a roving karaoke RV, channel your inner diva at drag queen karaoke and sing live with punk rock legends backing you up.

Whether your idea of karaoke heaven is a friendly dive bar, a private room with all the perks, the perfect group spot for your next birthday bash or something more adventurous and unexpected, we’ve got you covered with 29 essential L.A. karaoke spots.

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Interior of Alex's Bar, with seated and standing patrons and a man onstage
(Michelle Woo / Los Angeles Times)

Alex's Bar

Long Beach Bar
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach’s vampy live-music venue with blood-red walls, gothic art and crystal chandeliers, opens its stage for karaoke every Tuesday night. Want a spot on the lineup? Get there early; it’s packed by 10 p.m.

As you wait for your moment in the spotlight, you might pose in the vintage photo booth, order some food out on the patio (there were $3 tacos when I went) or grab a drink. (The local craft beer list is seriously impressive.) And of course, don’t forget to cheer on your fellow performers, many of whom are karaoke night regulars. The song list spans a whopping 194 pages — accessible via a QR code — so you’re bound to hear some killer tunes.

Parking: Free street parking, plus a small lot behind the bar.

Hours: 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Karaoke on Tuesdays from 9 p.m. to midnight. The bar opens at 4 p.m.

Cost: Free.

Pro tip: Follow Alex’s Bar on Instagram for special karaoke events. Punk Rock Karaoke, which has its own song list, is a crowd favorite.
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Bartenders serve customers over a wooden bar at Astro Karaoke.
(Michelle Woo / Los Angeles Times)

Astro Karaoke

Lomita Bar
What this nondescript karaoke bar lacks in frills, it makes up for in tasty izakaya-style Japanese grub — sushi rolls, mentaiko spaghetti, takoyaki, beef bowls and, of course, hefty pitchers of Sapporo beer, which you can order to your private room throughout the night at the press of a button.

South Bay locals appreciate Astro’s cozy vibe — one guest described it as “Japanese American ‘Cheers.’” While reservations fill up quickly for the few rooms in the back, anyone can walk in and perform in the front bar area, a snug, brick-walled space with wooden tables and shelves of premium sake. With televisions on the walls displaying lyrics for everyone to see, don’t be surprised if you’re at the mic and the whole bar starts singing along with you in raucous unison.

Parking: Free street parking.

Hours: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 6:30 p.m. to midnight Sundays.

Cost: $5 per person per hour.

Pro tip: The song selection is less than current here, so stick to your classic standbys.
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Two people sing karaoke onstage inside Backstage
(Phi Do / Los Angeles Times)

Backstage

Culver City Bar
On karaoke nights at Backstage bar and grill, across the street from the Sony lot, you may find a couple of patrons warming up their vocal cords outside the entrance. Inside, performers may lead the audience in a giant sing-along, or patrons might hype up a singer’s duet with the KJ. Rick James’ “You and I” can get people up and dancing throughout its more-than-8-minute runtime.

Requesting a song is simple. Scan the QR code at the KJ’s table to join the KaraFun session. Then sign in with your name and pick whatever song calls to you. While you wait your turn, try some Backstage favorites like a Vermont (Rosaluna Mezcal, maple syrup and fresh lemon, $11) or a Pickle Back (shot of Buffalo Trace Whiskey and house-made pickle juice, $9).

Song requests pile up quickly. One bartender recommended 9 to 9:30 p.m. as the sign-up sweet spot. After that, the list fills up fast.

Parking: Street parking on Culver Boulevard. Do not park in the residential neighborhood; those are permit-only spaces.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Karaoke Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Cost: Free.

Pro tip: Instead of waiting until you feel ready to sing, put your name on the list as soon as you find your song — you may end up waiting about an hour to get onstage.
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Singer Nick Robinson blames it on the rain at karaoke night at Bigfoot Lodge in Los Feliz.
(Jen Yamato / Los Angeles Times)

Bigfoot Lodge (East)

Atwater Village Bar
Stroll into this cozy Atwater Village watering hole, past the animatronic critters and sasquatch-themed decor, and immerse yourself among the energetic Angelenos who flock to the weekly Monday karaoke nights.

The low-key mountain lodge vibes here are like nowhere else in the city and stay fairly chill throughout the night: On a recent evening, a lone drinker sat immersed in a book at the long wooden bar and couples on dates leaned in close as singing rang out from the elevated corner stage, where enthusiastic warblers belted out everything from Tom Jones classics to Spice Girls to “That Thing You Do” beneath a chandelier made of antlers.

Scan a QR code to pull up Hi Ho Karaoke’s easily navigable online song list and add your name to the queue. Then cozy up in a comfy leather booth as you sip a Bigfoot Negroni ($12), a Lemmy (Jack Daniels and Mexican Coke, $12) or a $10 Bigfoot classic (a shot of bourbon and PBR tallboy) and wait for your name to appear onscreen. By the end of the evening the whole place might be singing along to any number of millennial classics, like the jovial 20- and 30-somethings that erupted in unison to Phantom Planet’s “California” one balmy night in October.

Parking: Street parking.

Hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Karaoke 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday.

Cost: Free.

Pro tip: Save your tears for the themed first “Blue” Monday of each month, when sad songs are on tap — bring your weepiest game and you might even earn a free shot.

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Old-school decor, including a disco ball, at Break Room 86.
(Kailyn Brown / Los Angeles Times)

Break Room 86

Koreatown Private Karaoke Room
Music aficionados will appreciate the vibe at Break Room 86 inside the Line L.A. The retro bar — which feels like stepping into Narnia, though here access is through a false vending machine entrance — is brimming with ’80s-inspired tunes and decor, including cassette-tape-covered walls.

Break Room 86 offers four private karaoke lounges, which are hidden behind the VIP tables at the bar, and range from $350 to $1,400 depending on how large your group is. (The maximum capacity is 20.) This will get you one hour of karaoke, but if you visit on a slow night, you might be able to secure a few more hours of singing.

The music selection via KaraFun (an online karaoke system) is expansive, with more than 40 genres including TV and movies, rock, hip-hop, musicals and Broadway, Latin music and other world music. You’ll also find several current jams, including tracks from Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” album.

Parking: Street parking or valet ($11 for the first two hours with validation; $5 per hour thereafter)

Hours: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Tuesday to Saturday.

Cost: $350 to $1,400 for a private room, plus tax and 20% service charge.

Pro tip: Avoid karaoke on Wednesdays — that’s when a live band performs, and it can be difficult to hear yourself singing.
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A person stands at a microphone onstage in front of a pierced screen and a sign that says Boardwalk 11.
(Phi Do / Los Angeles Times)

Boardwalk 11

Palms Bar
Palms’ neighborhood karaoke bar boasts an extensive selection of drinks and songs. With more than 30 rotating taps, you have a lot of options to help you get hyped for your upcoming performance.

Karaoke starts at 8 p.m. Buy a drink at the bar to get a slip where you can write down your name, the song you want to sing and the artist. KJs here use VirtualDJ to queue up songs.

If you go often enough, you may catch a few regulars and groups stepping up to the mic. Your bartender may even perform a song or two.

Parking: Street parking. The bar shares a small lot with nearby businesses, but it fills up fast.

Hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Friday, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday.

Cost: Buy a drink to perform ($9 to $11 beers; cocktails are around $10)

Pro tip: If the song you’re looking for isn’t in the songbook, you can still fill out the slip to ask if they have it.
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The common area at Cafe Brass Monkey karaoke bar features a Spuds Bud Light neon sign.
(Jeong Park / Los Angeles Times)

Cafe Brass Monkey

Koreatown Bar
Cafe Brass Monkey is as old-fashioned a karaoke bar as it gets. Open since 1971, the lodge-style bar on the ground floor of an office building in Koreatown makes you feel like you’re at an after-party during summer camp. The place is not big, hip or swanky but it’s charming nonetheless — photos of celebrities from John Mayer to Manny Pacquiao decorate the wall, but so does a Teamsters Local 911 union T-shirt.

The karaoke’s selection feels dated: There do not appear to be any Lizzo or Bad Bunny songs, for instance. Still, the place has all the classics. It also has pretty good and affordable drink and food selections. What makes this place the place to be, most of all, is the instant camaraderie one feels singing along with everyone.

“This is L.A.,” one patron said, after screaming Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” with dozens of complete strangers. It is, indeed.

Parking: Free after 5 p.m. in the lot behind the bar on Mariposa Avenue. Make sure to get a validation card from the doorman.

Hours: Karaoke takes place 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday; 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday; and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The bar is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. weekdays and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. weekends.

Cost: Free to enter. It’s about $5 to $15 for a plate of food or a drink.

Pro tip: Request your song early. During a visit on Halloween, the karaoke waitlist ran about 20 songs long.
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A woman sings with a band at night on an outdoor stage.
Maureen M. channels Alanis Morisette at Casual Encounters’ karaoke night at El Tepeyac in Industry.
(Jen Yamato / Los Angeles Times)

Casual Encounters karaoke band

Hollywood Bar
Live band karaoke: the final frontier. When you’ve hit up all the other bar nights and private rooms in town and you’re hungry for new thrills, step up to the mic and bring your rock-star fantasies to life with Casual Encounters.

Formed in 2009 after founder and bassist Graeme Hinde put out a call on Craigslist, the band plays regular shows just about every day of the week across L.A. and Orange County, attracting courageous first-timers and returning fans for the chance to sing anything from ABBA to AC/DC to Adele.

An impressive catalog of more than 300 genre-spanning songs runs the gamut from Johnny Cash classics to Ginuwine’s “Pony.” On a Friday evening at one of their regular shows on the patio at El Tepeyac in Industry — one of the only places in the Greater Los Angeles area you can karaoke outdoors, and where the lackluster Mexican dishes won’t entice you as much as the $12 margaritas and $5 daily sangria specials will — Hinde, drummer Rich Smith and guitarist Chris Miranda expertly jammed out Dion’s “Runaround Sue,” Britney Spears’ “…One More Time” and “Alone” by Heart without missing a beat.

Yes, singing with a live band is more challenging than regular old karaoke. It’s also a huge adrenaline rush. But Casual Encounters’ rotating lineup of talented musicians is extraordinarily generous to anxious crooners and will skillfully guide you if you lose track of the lyrics.

It’s no wonder fans follow the band across county lines like they’re the Grateful Dead of karaoke. Catch their regular residencies from Glendale’s Jewel City Bowl on Sundays to Hollywood’s Hard Rock Cafe on Friday nights, with stops in Eagle Rock, Koreatown, Westwood, Anaheim, Brea and Lincoln Heights in between, or book them for private parties, weddings and birthdays and front the band all night with your friends.

“I think it’s a lot better than regular karaoke,” Smith said with a grin after a singer with bright pink hair, a faux leopard-print coat and confident swagger, put her own spin on Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” and a follower from Orange County sang a haunting rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep.” “It makes you feel like you’re the lead singer of a band, and a lot of people don’t get that experience.”

Parking: Varies by venue.

Hours: Varies by day; check website for schedule.

Cost: Free to sing; reservation requirements may vary depending on host venue

Pro tip: Can’t find your dream song on the band’s exhaustive list? For a fee, you can request to add a title, and the maestros of Casual Encounters most likely will have it ready to rock within a week.
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The Hello Kitty Starry Night karaoke room at Energy Bistro & Karaoke.
(Ada Tseng / Los Angeles Times)

Energy Bistro & Karaoke

Hacienda Heights Private Karaoke Room
At Energy Karaoke, which has locations in Hacienda Heights and Alhambra, you can karaoke in Sanrio-themed rooms. Reserve in advance online for your choice of the Hello Kitty Classic Room, Gudetama Lazy Room, Aggretsuko Heavy Metal Room, Hello Kitty Starry Night Room, My Melody Balloons Room and Little Twin Stars Omoiyari Room.

There’s a giant touchscreen in the corner, which is fun to play around with. In addition to searching by artist and song title, you can scroll through lists of trending songs in English pop, Mandopop, Cantopop, J-pop, K-pop, Latin pop and Minnan. You’ll be singing along to the lyrics on top of the official music videos — or sometimes live performances. It’s an adorable place to bring kids, who get in free if they’re under 6. There’s a tambourine for those who can’t read the lyrics but can join in when “Frozen” songs pop up.

No outside food allowed, but there’s a menu of appetizers (crispy garlic wings, deep-fried oysters, salted egg yolk French fries, takoyaki, egg rolls) and various noodle dishes.

Parking: Ample free parking.

Hours: 6 p.m to 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday.

Cost: Rooms from $70 to $220 for two hours. There’s a minimum of two hours, and the price is calculated based on room and number of people.

Pro tip: If you’re having a big party, splurge for the Hello Kitty Starry Night Room, which can fit up to 35 people. Also, during the pandemic, Energy is short-staffed and not serving the Sanrio-themed food menu, but here’s hoping it comes back soon.
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A Dance Dance Revolution machine and other arcade games at Factory Tea Bar, with a neon sign that says "karaoke"
(Ada Tseng / Los Angeles Times)

Factory Tea Bar

San Gabriel Valley Teahouse
Factory Tea Bar is a chain of tea houses with locations in San Gabriel, Granada Hills, Duarte, Westminster and at University Park at USC. But so far only the San Gabriel location, across the street from the mission, is home to what the establishment calls the Factory Tea Bar fun house.

In addition to the specialty boba drinks, there’s an arcade room with billiards tables, “Dance Dance Revolution,” toy claw machines and more. In the back, there are several clean and stylized karaoke rooms. The smallest one is called the Boba room. Bigger ones have Galaxy and Malibu themes.

To choose your songs, Factory Tea Bar uses a Vietnamese system that pulls a curated selection of karaoke videos from YouTube — everything from the more professionalized KaraFun and SingKing to user-made fan videos to educational tools like Pinyin Learner, which allows non-native Chinese speakers to karaoke Jay Chou songs they know but can’t read fast enough. This means you can sing almost anything, even songs you usually wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. Yuna’s “Mountains” and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down’s “Meticulous Bird”? Thank you to whomever made videos for those.

Parking: Free street parking and limited parking in the lot.

Hours: Noon to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday.

Cost: Rooms from $30 to $60 an hour.

Pro tip: If you sing for two hours, you get a third hour free. If you sing for one hour, you can get your second hour 25% off.
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A man holds a microphone and sings at the Fable in Eagle Rock.
Karaoke fanatic Michael Lerman sings Kate Bush at the Fable’s weekly karaoke night in Eagle Rock.
(Rachel Walker / For The Times)

The Fable

Eagle Rock Bar
Both cozy and spacious, Eagle Rock’s the Fable offers karaoke two nights a week. It also has a sprawling outdoor patio equipped with speakers so you can catch up with pals in the open air, nosh on tasty eats from pop-up vendors slinging pizza and BBQ, and still hear your name when it’s your turn on the mic. Drawing an eclectic neighborhood crowd, it offers warm and inviting vibes for singers of all skill levels, while on any given karaoke night you might see intrepid singers giving their all to Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” hitting the high notes on Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” or starting a conga line of strangers dancing to “Jump in the Line,” pints in hand.

Inside the old-timey tavern lined with wooden banquettes (formerly the Old Chalet and the Black Boar), karaoke stays relaxed early in the week, when you might catch visiting KJs popping in on their nights off or see the bartender wow the crowd crooning a tune. The absence of a dedicated stage means the floor is yours to strut across as you channel your inner rock star. Use your space! And feel free to let loose — the better to entertain the folks cheering from their seats at the bar, where a selection of craft beers ($7 to $10) and cocktails ($13) accompaniesy a generous selection of whiskeys and other spirits.

The Fable is one of the flagship locations of local outfit Hi Ho Karaoke, which boasts a library of more than 10,000 songs (Hi Ho founder Thom Sigsby is also an owner of the Fable). The Thursday night crowd is livelier. Themed Mondays rotate between pour-out-the-feels Blue Mondays and live band karaoke, making the Fable one of the more intriguing additions to L.A.’s karaoke scene in recent years.

Parking: Street.

Hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Karaoke 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Mondays and 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursdays.

Cost: Free.

Pro tip: With dog-friendly front and back patios, your pupper can come along to karaoke night too — finally.
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The Gaslite's red sign beckons at night: "World famous karaoke nightly."
(Jen Yamato / Los Angeles Times)

The Gaslite

Santa Monica Bar
One Angeleno’s dive is another’s treasure, which is what makes this longtime Santa Monica spot one of the city’s most enduring go-to gems for getting sloshed and singing the night away.

With its iconic red and white sign lighting up an otherwise dead stretch of Wilshire Boulevard, the Gaslite beckons any and all for karaoke and cheap drinks every day of the week. Not much has changed for decades inside this cramped hole-in-the-wall, where Jewel famously sang her own hits while disguised as a homely businesswoman in a viral 2010 Funny or Die stunt, and where it’s easy to rack up a tab on $12 well drinks — don’t expect anything fancier — with nothing to soak up the booze but the free popcorn at the end of the bar and that McDonald’s cheeseburger you slipped into your purse on the way there.

On weekends, the electric chaos of the Gaslite ratchets up, as the KJs manning the stage take their own turns on the mic and bump up regulars who come just as ready to hype up the eager crowd. It’s casual and gets messier as the night goes on — but that’s what you came to the Gaslite for, right?

Just down the hallway, a door opens to the spacious back patio, where you can catch your breath after getting sweaty on the dance floor with the motley assortment of flip-flop-wearing Westside weirdos and friendly partiers mixing it up inside to ’80s pop and ’90s rap. If you’re lucky, someone will step up in the name of Tupac when a gaggle of buzzed coeds mangle the lyrics to “California Love” before a tattooed maniac in a metal shirt starts a swirling mosh pit that brings the room together with a spirited rendition of Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff.”

Parking: Free street parking.

Hours: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Karaoke 8 p.m. to close Monday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday; 6 p.m. to close Friday.

Cost: Free.

Pro tip: The bar opens at 4 p.m., and happy hour goes till 9 so you can be properly lubricated by the time you jump onstage.
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The exterior of Good Nite in North Hollywood.
(Brittany Levine Beckman / Los Angeles Times)

Good Nite Bar

North Hollywood Bar
On a good night at Good Nite Bar, “The group vibe is everything,” says regular Martin Lopez. “The audience is very supportive and you feel like a rock star.”

At the neighborhood spot that has karaoke nightly starting at 9 p.m., you’ll see performers who are skilled at showmanship or hitting all the notes, as well as nervous newcomers on the small stage. All will get whoops from the crowd.

Locals come throughout the week, while Fridays and Saturdays fetch a mix of new and old faces, says Blue Perez, who is the karaoke jockey on Tuesday nights under the banner Kiki Karaoke. Tuesdays can be just as busy as Fridays, and Wednesdays are busier than Saturdays, Perez says. Lopez notes that Thursdays seem to be the chillest. On a Saturday in October, there were about 35 people in the small bar by 9:30 p.m. It felt lively but not crowded. I put in my request at 9:07 p.m. and was called up 50 minutes later to give my best Meredith Brooks. You can only request one song at a time and are supposed to buy a drink to perform. If you don’t drink alcohol, soda’s fine, Perez says.

Most nights you’ll request a song from the KaraFun website, which has a wide selection, by writing your name and the song/artist on a scrap of paper and handing it to the KJ. On Tuesdays, Perez says he organizes requests by Instagram direct messages. Perez says KJs will tweak the key, tempo or vocal guide if you ask.

Disney’s “Part of Your World” and “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes are popular at Good Nite, as are ’90s songs, Perez says. When I went, the night started with songs by Michelle Branch, No Doubt and Eminem.

Parking: Free street parking; read the signs.

Hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly; karaoke 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Cost: Buy a drink to perform ($8 to $10 beers; $13 cocktails).

Pro tip: Spicy chicken nuggets are available at Humble Bird next door, and sometimes your order can be delivered to the bar.
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The red Max Karaoke sign, with the entrance to the studio on the right
(Matthew Ballinger / Los Angeles Times)

Max Karaoke

Downtown L.A. Private Karaoke Room
Max Karaoke has been the go-to place for many private-room karaoke aficionados, who consider the hangout unparalleled when it comes to song selection. Sure, you could do John Legend’s “All of Me,” but what about “Conversations in the Dark”? Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” is way popular, but what if your favorite is actually “Fast as You Can”? Are you coming with a group of folks who want to sing in five different languages? No problem: Max has songs in 15 languages. And if you can’t find your song, you can request it.

Max Karaoke used to diligently update its songbooks, but now patrons can enter their songs through the Healsonic app. Everyone in your group should download the app; once you get there, join the studio’s Wi-Fi, enter a code on the monitor, then start selecting tunes.

It’s not fancy. Even the VIP rooms don’t have much flair. There are simple drinks and snacks available for purchase, but you can bring your own food and alcohol for a fee of $1 per person. Cleanliness can be a battle, as evidenced by signs at the check-in counter warning about the $100 to $300 fines for smoking, vomiting and worse. There’s also a reminder that beer and wine are OK, but nothing more than 20% ABV is allowed. We all know karaoke and too much alcohol can be a messy affair.

But Max is where you go with your friends who don’t require frills. The ones you’re so comfortable with that all you need is a mic and a TV screen to have a memorable night. You don’t need to dress up. You don’t need to pay a lot of money. You can make a fool of yourself and mess up. You’ll be back again to redeem yourself.

The beloved Sawtelle and Torrance locations closed during the pandemic, but the location in Little Tokyo is back in business, and a Fountain Valley location opened in 2020.

Parking: Two hours validated in the attached lot. Downtown street or lot parking otherwise.

Hours: 3 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. to midnight Sunday.

Cost: $38 to $190 an hour, with happy hour specials.

Pro tip: It can get packed during popular times, so call ahead if you’re going on a busy night. Also, sign up for a Healsonic account before you go if you want to give yourself a fun name — otherwise the defaults are monikers like “King of Blues” or “Queen of Soul.”
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The outside of Moxie Lounge & Karaoke with a lighted sign.
(Ada Tseng / Los Angeles Times)

Moxie Lounge & Karaoke

Arcadia Private Karaoke Room
If you want all-you-can-eat sushi when you sing, Moxie Lounge & Karaoke is the place you’ll get it. This venue is hidden on the second floor on top of a parking structure at a sprawling suburban plaza in Arcadia. You enter an open dining area (which can be rented out for a party up to 100 people) with a sprinkling of arcade games along the walls; in the back are simple, clean rooms with strobe lights that can fit five to 20 people.

Moxie is operated by the same company behind Energy Bistro & Karaoke, so it uses the same karaoke system. There’s a large touchscreen in the corner where you can search by not only artist and song title but trending pop songs in English, Spanish and many Asian languages. You’ll be singing along to the music videos onscreen, and you can choose whether to keep the original singer’s vocals. This is helpful for when you love singing along but you don’t know the song well enough to perform it without, say, Taylor Swift backing you up.

Worth noting: Most private-room karaoke places charge by the hour, but Moxie calculates your rate by the minute. So if you’re having a good time, you don’t need to hurriedly finish by the 1-hour, 59-minute mark to avoid getting charged for an extra hour. Let the folks who didn’t get to sing belt out those extra three songs, and end the night at the proper pace.

Parking: Ample free parking. Park on the second floor of the parking structure for closest access.

Hours: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday to Sunday (no sushi on Tuesdays).

Cost: Rooms from $40 to $100 an hour.

Pro tip: Happy hour is 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and you can get your room free if everyone in your party spends $30 on food and drinks. While this deal doesn’t apply to the all-you-can-eat deal, there are plenty of other sushi and izakaya options on the menu. Any food you can’t finish you can take home.
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People sit in a colorfully lit room watching a karaoke singer, with screens showing lyrics around the room.
(Ada Tseng / Los Angeles Times)

New Wave Restaurant & Bar

Bellflower Bar
This neighborhood hangout is part ’80s dance club, part ’80s karaoke bar. The decor itself is worth the trip: the Pac Man entrance, the black lights, the record covers on the walls and the movie posters. Even the bathrooms welcome you with Madonna and Michael Jackson artwork on the doors and framed posters of Adam Ant and Duran Duran inside.

The main area has the stage, bar and dance floor, while the karaoke takes place in the side room. The vibe is respectful, welcoming and nonintimidating for newbies, and the crowd is multigenerational. You can choose songs from New Wave’s specialized selection at Songbookslive.com, but you’re not limited to ’80s music. Performers on a recent visit sang Black Sabbath, Alanis Morrisette and Radiohead.

Cocktails — with names such as Purple Rain, Pretty in Pink, Richard Blade Rum Runner and Dramarama — are bright, and start at $11 ($25 for fishbowl glasses). Menu items include $3 tacos, $9 cheesy tater tots and $13 buffalo wings. New Wave also hosts tribute bands and dance party theme nights, including rock en español, gothic/industrial and Saved by the ’90s.

Parking: Free street parking and limited parking in the lot.

Hours: 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday to Saturday.

Cost: $10 cover.

Pro tip: Feel free to hang out on the dance floor while you’re waiting for your turn to sing. There’s a TV screen above the bar, with the same lyrics that are playing in the karaoke room, so you can come back if there’s a song you like — or when you see on the scrolling bar on the bottom of the screen that you’re next.
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A dimly lit karaoke room at Palm Tree L.A.
(Jeong Park / Los Angeles Times)

Palm Tree L.A.

Harvard Heights Private Karaoke Room
Palm Tree L.A. is as Korean as karaoke can get — from the language of its machine, to its location next to a dumpling place in a Koreatown strip mall, to its overall vibe. It attracts a more mature clientele — as evidenced by some belting out trot, a Korean genre popular with elders. Still, the place is clean and feels fairly new.

Song selection is diverse — the machine even has songs from the Philippines and Indonesia — and pretty fresh. BTS’ “Yet to Come,” which came out in June, and Lizzo’s “About Damn Time,” which dropped in April, were available. The machine also provides multiple scoring options, although it’s still a mystery as to what the singers are being graded on.

Parking: Plenty of free parking in the back lot.

Hours: 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Cost: $40 an hour. Food items are in the $20 to $30 range.

Pro tip: Ask the server to help you understand the karaoke machine’s remote control, since much of it is in Korean with no English translation.
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Pang Pang Karaoke in a strip mall.
(Ada Tseng / Los Angeles Times)

Pang Pang Karaoke

Hawaiian Gardens Private Karaoke Room
This popular spot in the corner of the Hawaiian Gardens Square plaza is sandwiched between a Legend Chicken and Gaon Korean Restaurant. It’s BYOB — so you can bring your own food and drinks for a fee of $25 to $35, depending on the size of the room.

The rooms are simple and clean, and you can search for music in various languages by remote. Posters outside the venue show lists of updated songs each month, but the music selection is updated daily.

This is a great alternative for Max Karaoke enthusiasts who don’t want to drive to downtown L.A. or Fountain Valley. Also worth noting is that Pang Pang Karaoke’s internet reviews are full of customers appreciating the friendly front desk service.

Parking: Free parking in the plaza.

Hours: 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Cost: Rooms from $35 to $80 an hour. Happy hour — where you get an hour free — is from 2 to 5 p.m.

Pro tip: Pang Pang Karaoke is very student-friendly because it’s affordable and opens early.

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Pharaoh Karaoke Lounge is colorfully lit.
(Kailyn Brown / Los Angeles Times)

Pharaoh Karaoke Lounge

Koreatown Private Karaoke Room
From the moment you step inside the Pharaoh Karaoke Lounge in Koreatown, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a Las Vegas nightclub.

Tucked in the basement of the unassuming shopping center — which is a feat to locate on your first visit — the recently renovated karaoke bar boasts nearly 40 private rooms. Each has a flashy interior: Think sparkly vinyl couches, red chandeliers and an extravagant neon-colored light display equipped with lasers and LED strobes. There’s also a full-service bar.

Pharaoh has a limited selection of English-language tracks, which are stored in a large book. You can find everything from Weezer to Lizzo, N*SYNC, Drake and Harry Styles. You’ll also find at least one deep cut that you’ve never heard before from an artist you love.

Parking: There’s a parking lot at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Serrano Avenue, which guides you directly to an elevator for easy access to the venue. Don’t forget to get your parking ticket validated.

Hours: Open 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Cost: The clublike experience comes with a hefty price tag. Packages start at $190 plus tax and 20% tip. For a small room of up to five people, that covers two hours of karaoke, the choice of a bottle of liquor with mixers or soju and beer, and one food item.

Pro tip: Reservations can be made via text or email, but walk-ins are accepted Monday through Wednesday.
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R Bar's curved corner marquee.
(Jeong Park / Los Angeles Times)

R Bar

Koreatown Bar
Entry into this female-owned Koreatown bar no longer requires a speakeasy-esque password, but its thrice-weekly karaoke slate still feels like one of the best-kept secrets in town. On the right nights, in the sparkly glint of its hanging disco ball and colorful lights, the buzzy energy climbs to a heady fever pitch, strangers become besties by the end of a song and you can experience a moment of transcendent karaoke magic.

Slipping into the dimly lit booths and shadowy corners of R Bar can feel like partying in a pirate ship. Good for groups (call ahead to reserve space) and drop-ins alike, it’s the spot for anyone looking for a night of karaoke adventure in the heart of the city and a short walk from numerous Korean BBQ joints. But be warned: It can get crowded; try tipping the KJ generously to help expedite your wait time.

On Thursdays and Saturdays, write your name on the list at the foot of the stage and people-watch as a young and boisterous crowd mixes and mingles in the intimate space. Sip creative and cleverly curated $12 cocktails and munch on better-than-average eats as a wide-ranging clientele belts out mostly ’80s, ’90s and ’00s English-language tunes over speakers cranked up to 11. You never quite know what you’ll get at R Bar, from comedy types doing their best Tenacious D impersonations to the resident mixologist with an Amy Winehouse voice, and the dance floor that breaks out on packed weekends in front of the stage.

Sundays are for something a little different. Brunch karaoke, a unique weekly offering, might be a daytime affair, but it involves two crucial words: bottomless mimosas. Sing accordingly.

Parking: Free street parking, but forget it, Jake — it’s K-town.

Hours: 4 p.m. to midnight Wednesday; 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday and Friday; 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday; noon to midnight Sunday. Karaoke 9 to 11:55 p.m. Thursday; 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday; 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Cost: Free.

Pro tip: The third Thursday of the month is for the emo karaoke kids: Throw on black eyeliner and your angstiest band T-shirts for R Bar’s nostalgia-fueled Taking Back Thursday night.
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Star Night's entrance, with lighted buildings behind it.
(Jeong Park / Los Angeles Times)

Star Night

Koreatown Private Karaoke Room
After OB Bear was damaged by a fire in 2020, the beloved Koreatown pub — or at least its beloved spicy chicken wings and other menu items — moved to the restaurant and noraebang Star Night.

Star Night is a hybrid of open-air outdoor patio and indoor dining, surrounded by twinkling lights that live up to the venue’s name. Some may come for the extensive menu of spicy rice cakes, squid, tripe, blood sausage and seafood leek pancakes — and the soju. Others come for the two simple but spacious karaoke rooms inside. (The venue has plans to remodel and add more karaoke rooms.)

Enjoy flipping through the old-school binders — hoping that if your pick isn’t there, it’ll be in one of the updated songs sections — and make peace with the classic Korean-language brick remotes where you sometimes can’t tell if it actually saved your song. The English-language song selection is less robust and not as updated as the Korean one, but it has most of the staples you need to have a good time.

Parking: There’s a small lot for valet. You can also go to the parking structure across the street and validate with an H Mart purchase, or try your luck with Koreatown street parking.

Hours: Open 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. daily.

Cost: The smaller room, which fits 10 people, is $50 an hour. The bigger room, which fits 20, is $60 an hour. There will be a 18% gratuity added to the bill, and on Fridays and Saturdays there’s a $100 food and beverage minimum.

Pro tip: If you eat dinner in the restaurant area first, you have to close your tab before moving to the karaoke room. So either eat first and then go sing — or order food from inside the karaoke room.
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A private karaoke room at SoopSok Karaoke with lyrics on a screen and a songbook and drinks on the table
(Phi Do / Los Angeles Times)

SoopSok Karaoke

Koreatown Private Karaoke Room
SoopSok is a Koreatown fixture; it’s been around since 1986 and was a filming location for Justin Chon’s “Ms. Purple.” The karaoke bar and restaurant offers private, disco-light-filled rooms packed with drinks, snacks and songs.

At a minimum, you will need to purchase one of the room packages, which includes drinks, at least one entree and two hours of karaoke.

The karaoke machines are imported from Korea, and although the English-language song selection isn’t extensive, you can still find karaoke classics, Disney tunes and a good number of recent hits. SoopSok also offers songs in Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese.

Change the key of a song to suit your vocal range, and change the onscreen lyrics to include the song’s sheet music, if that will help you. The system can also rate your performance, if you really want to get competitive — or make it a drinking game.

Parking: Free private parking lot.

Hours: Open 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Cost: Packages start at $200 plus tax and a 20% tip.

Pro tip: Walk-ins are possible, but larger rooms fill up fast on the weekends, so email or text ahead for a big group.
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A gold-tinted private room at Spark Karaoke with a tufted banquette and a TV screen displaying lyrics.
(Ada Tseng / Los Angeles Times)

Spark Karaoke Lounge

Rowland Heights Private Karaoke Room
Does all-you-can-sing for $25 sound like music to your ears? This is the place for those who see 3 p.m.-to-midnight karaoke as a dare — and for the math whizzes who can quickly calculate that $25 per hour, plus an 18% service charge, divided by eight hours equals less money than other private-room karaoke places.

Tucked into the upstairs corner of Rowland Heights’ Diamond Plaza is Spark Karaoke — unassuming on the outside, lit like boozy summer nightlife and full of possibilities on the inside. You can pay by the room (which starts at $38 for the smallest) or $25 per person (which includes one jasmine tea or soda). This means if you come with more than two people, all-you-can-sing is the best deal.

With the black and gold decor, even the small rooms are designed for karaoke royalty. There’s a giant touchscreen monitor in the corner of the room where you can search for songs in Chinese or English. It uses a Chinese-language system (you also need WeChat to download the app from the QR code), but it’s not hard for non-Chinese speakers to figure out.

Many of the songs are labeled as a KTV song, which comes with real-time scoring, cartoon character emojis that pop up to root you on and more subtle commentary like “Good” or “Perfect” in the bottom right corner of the screen. Most selections come with the lyrics over the original music videos.

No outside food is allowed, but there’s a menu of appetizers (fries, dumplings, skewers, Taiwanese sausage), noodles (with Spam), platters (including a limited-availability Supreme Fruit Platter for $79.95) and drinks (teas, apple cider, yogurt drinks).

Parking: Ample free parking.

Hours: 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Cost: Starts at $38 per room or $25 per person for all-you-can-sing, plus an 18% service charge. The only times not included in the all-you-can-sing price: 8 to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Pro tip: For impatient typers, this system allows you to search for artists by initial: JB will bring up Justin Bieber. Also, pick up a guava hard candy in the bowl on the way out — or a Hui Lau Shan mango pomelo sago drink a few doors down — for some extra sugar in your step after hours of crooning.
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A man sings karaoke in a tiki bar, with patrons lined up at the bar
(Brittany Levine Beckman / Los Angeles Times)

Tiki No

Bar
For Jose Gabriel, Tiki No is “like ‘Cheers.’ Everybody does know your name.” He regularly sings George Michael and David Bowie at the back end of the tiki-themed bar amid its thatch-covered red booths. Karaoke is on Wednesday and Sunday nights and technically starts at 9 p.m. but really kicks off whenever the karaoke jockey shows up. On a recent Sunday, it didn’t start until 10:30 p.m. By then, about 35 people had filled the bar. A gaggle had arrived together from Mrs. Robinson’s Irish Pub in Toluca Lake. “This is the place everyone goes after,” says Kasey Norian, who sang “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse.

Wednesday karaoke tends to be busier than Sunday, and there’s a fair share of regulars, says Sam Godinez, the KJ. “There can be only 10 people in here, and everyone’s having a great time,” says Godinez, who also KJs at the Oaks Tavern in Sherman Oaks. It’s a low-key process to request a song at Tiki No: Just ask the KJ. Wait times depend on crowd size. The song list is powered by online karaoke platform KaraFun. Some popular choices: “Creep” by Radiohead and Tenacious D songs. “Everyone that does Tenacious D thinks they’re the first to do Tenacious D,” Godinez quips.

Tiki No’s drink menu includes tiki bar staples like a piña colada, $12; a blue Hawaiian, $15; and a 22-ounce scorpion bowl, $33.

Tiki No regular Laura Hayes says she comes for the vibe: “It’s not about being the best singer in the world. You want to have fun.”

Parking: Free street parking

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.; 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Karaoke Wednesday and Sunday, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Cost: Free

Pro tip: The tiki drinks sneak up on you.
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Karaoke night at Tramp Stamp Granny's
(Mariya Stangl)

Tramp Stamp Granny's

Hollywood Bar
Want to sing in public but reluctant to wield the mic? Try something a little different. Tramp Stamp Granny’s is a piano bar located in Hollywood’s Cahuenga Corridor. The bar owned by Emmy-winning actor Darren Criss (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”), which opened in 2018, is styled after Broadway institution Marie’s Crisis Café.

Most nights it’s not exactly a karaoke spot, though the musician may share the mic if you ask politely, tip well and have some singing chops. If the idea of listening to good singers perform crowd-pleasers while you and your friends sing along sounds appealing — as opposed to having all eyes on you in a traditional karaoke setup — Tramp Stamp should be your go-to. The cocktails (around $16-$22) are pretty great too.

Once a month, there’s a free piano bar karaoke night hosted by Anna Goodman with Laura Wiley on the piano. Goodman, the program director at the Jewish queer nonprofit JQ International, said she started Open Dyke Night as a place for lesbians and queer people to connect over their love for music, singing and Broadway.

Attendees can sign up on a clipboard, and the piano players will back you up on a variety of song styles — Alanis Morisette to Backstreet Boys to Barbra Streisand.

“It’s always a huge variety of songs people select,” said Goodman. “However, we like to think that our Open Dyke Night anthem is ‘Take Me or Leave Me’ from the musical ‘Rent.’”

Parking: Street parking.

Hours: Open 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday to Saturday. Piano performances are from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Open Dyke Night is usually the second Thursday of the month, but check Tramp Stamp Granny’s Instagram page or calendar for the exact date.

Cost: No cover charge unless indicated on Instagram.

Pro tip: The dress code is “dress to impress” — no gym shorts or flip-flops allowed. Limited table seating has to be reserved ahead of time.

Contact: info@tsghollywood.com
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The Venice Room bar where patrons are watching the baseball game and singing karaoke
(Ada Tseng / Los Angeles Times)

The Venice Room

Monterey Park Restaurant
Where else can you grill your own steak and sing karaoke? The Venice Room is an Italian-style bar and restaurant in Monterey Park that’s been there since 1955. On one side is the restaurant, known for hand-cut New York or rib-eye strips you can self-cook at a grill in the corner of the room. The setup comes with a variety of seasonings and sauces, and the signature meal for $29.95 includes garlic bread, a baked potato and all-you-can-eat salad. (Cocktails are $8-$11; beers are $4-$7.)

In the adjacent room is the bar where karaoke happens. There isn’t really a stage, just a long, crowded table where the KJ sits with the patrons. You could say the stage is wherever the person with the mic is.

To sign up, either give your request to the KJ directly or, if it’s your first time, ask for the slip of paper with a phone number where you can text your name, song title and artist. There are no songbooks, just a promise that there’s a wide selection.

It’s loud and lively. No one’s listening that closely. Some people are shouting about a baseball game. Others are slow-dancing.

Parking: Free street parking and limited parking in the lot.

Hours: Noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Wednesday; noon to 11 p.m. Thursday; noon to midnight Friday and Saturday. Karaoke 7 to 11p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Cost: Free.

Pro tip: Even if you plan to eat dinner first, sign up early if you want to sing. On a busy night, it could take an hour or two for your turn to arrive.
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A dimly lit karaoke room at the Venue
(Jeong Park / Los Angeles Times)

The Venue

Koreatown Private Karaoke Room
As you walk down the steps into the basement floor of an office building in Koreatown, the Venue stuns from the beginning. Even in the smallest of its 13 rooms, there are all kinds of bells and whistles — from rotating and flashing disco lights to a tablet where you can press a button to flip back and forth between a preset YouTube app and a more traditional Korean karaoke setup. But frankly, the YouTube option is unbeatable — after all, how else are you going to sing karaoke to “The Duck Song?

The bar also stuns with its wide selection of food and drink options. One cocktail came in a pineapple-shaped glass that invited oohs and aahs. Hosts were so attentive that the bell to summon them was used only once or twice during a three-hour session.

Still, all of this comes at a cost. The Venue also stuns at the end as you pick up the check, which will be at least a couple hundred dollars.

Parking: Park at Central Plaza Parking on Mariposa Avenue, south of Wilshire Boulevard. You can get validation with a purchase of $30 or more per ticket.

Hours: 5 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday.

Cost: Rooms range from $40 to $150 an hour. There’s also a food and beverage minimum order of $100 to $500 required, depending on the room.

Pro tip: Keep in mind that the Venue has a dress code: no flip-flops, tank tops or gym shorts, for instance. The dress code for the karaoke rooms is more lenient than that for the main dining area, but best to be on the safe side.
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Tables of people sitting on the front patio of Ye Rustic Inn
(Kailyn Brown / Los Angeles Times)

Ye Rustic Inn

Los Feliz Bar
If Ye Rustic Inn’s mouthwatering chicken wings haven’t been enough to convince you to visit the Los Feliz dive bar, then perhaps the beloved karaoke night will do the trick.

Every Tuesday starting at 9 p.m., you can find people singing their best renditions of songs ranging from Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy” to “Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish and “Summer Nights” from the “Grease” soundtrack. (The bar’s karaoke jockey, Adam Jones, says the most requested songs are “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes and “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers.)

Brian Morrison, who sang “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys on a recent night, says he enjoys doing karaoke at Ye Rustic Inn because it’s walking distance from his house and you never know what type of performance you’ll witness.

“I feel like just the regular people in this city are some of the greatest performers in the world,” says Morrison, who works in television. “You might see someone mutilate [a song] that you love or you might see someone give an incredible performance.”

But no matter how your performance goes, Ye Rustic Inn’s friendly crowd and staff will cheer you on. Once you’ve secured your name on the karaoke list, order a plate of wings — which range from mild to suicide spice levels — and pair it with a rustic mule, Cadillac margarita or spicy mezcal Paloma, all featured on the bar’s $15 drink list.

Parking: Free parking in nearby lot.

Hours: 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Cost: Free

Pro-tip: Sign-ups for karaoke start at 9 p.m. Get there early so you can sit in the main room, which fills up quickly.
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The outside patio of Ye Old King's Head bar adjacent to the Tudor-style building.
(Phi Do / Los Angeles Times)

Ye Olde King’s Head

Santa Monica Restaurant
Ye Olde King’s Head is many things: a pub, a restaurant, a gift shop, a bakery, a place to meet for afternoon tea. But on Sunday nights, microphones come out and the darts area makes way for karaoke.

Decked in bulldog portraits, sports banners and plaques paying tribute to Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, this British pub offers a unique atmosphere for singing through your feelings or leading the audience in a dance party. Snack on some sausage rolls and sip on a Churchill’s Dark & Stormy (Myers Rum, Bacardi, ginger beer, bitters, $15) or a Queen’s Cosmo (Vodka, Triple Sec, Cranberry, Lime, $15) as you listen to renditions of Radiohead’s “Creep” or ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.”

The Sunday affair is hosted by Karaoke Star Entertainment. To sing, consult KaraFun’s 50,000-song catalog on your phone, then use the computer at the KJ’s desk to add your name and song to a spreadsheet.

The pub can get crowded, with the karaoke space taking up about half of the bar area, but you can take a breather on the heated patio outside.

Parking: Street parking or park in a nearby garage.

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Thursday; 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday. Karaoke 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday.

Cost: Free.

Pro tip: Respect the sign-up sheet. All entries are seen in real time on the KJ’s side, and anyone seen manipulating the list will be skipped.
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