Kings (County) of Karaoke
A few years back Leila Sales put together a karaoke calendar for us, listing spots to get your sing on around the borough, each and every night of the week. Since then, a whole host of new karaoke events have sprung up so we’ve updated the list, included a few private party options (you know, for that holiday office party you’re planning), and added some new standouts to the mix.
Right now, we’re loving piano karaoke at The Manhattan Inn in Greenpoint. Joe McGinty leads the stage as a serious musician and he brings out the best show in every singer.
The gay karaoke scenes at Sugarland and Ginger’s are also seriously fun. Though the former leans dude-centric and the latter is more of a lady scene, neither feels exclusive in any way; gay, straight, trans, bi–everyone’s there to sing. And, we’re happy to say that Hope & Anchor in Red Hook, which has survived serious damage from Sandy, remains open for karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights.
SPECIAL EVENT KARAOKE
What: Karaoke and Billiards Parties
Where: 100 Fun Lounge and Billiards, Sunset Park, open every night
You should know: 100 Fun is one of the largest karaoke bars in New York, with a huge selection of music to choose from. It’s best for large groups because you can get a private room, or just chill at the lounge and bar area. 100 Fun has 32 private rooms, all equipped with big TVs or projectors, state of the art sound systems, and (optional) club mood lighting.
You should also know: You can get bottle service in your private room or have Korean barbecue on the second floor balcony.
Vibe: Diverse, very Asian. Bring your favorite pink wig.
What: Private karaoke party
Host: Cap’n Goodtimes
You should know: Cap’n Goodtimes has possibly the greatest karaoke website that we’ve seen (though it does not explain the difference in rank between a “Captain” and a “Cap’n”). You should hire him for karaoke, and his additional services include DJing, movie screenings and “party enhancements.”
Songs he’s sick of hearing: “Love Shack,” “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” “My Way,” and “American Pie.”
His karaoke song: The Cap’n says, “My guilty pleasures are “Part of Your World,” from The Little Mermaid, or “Suddenly Seymour,” from Little Shop of Horrors.”
What: Manic Monday Karaoke
Where: Sugarland Nightclub, Williamsburg
Host: DJ Dan Paul Roberts
You should know: Roberts studied fine art, drawing and painting at the University of North Texas. If you’re an artist, this is the place to network.
Vibe: Gay (mostly dudes), Top 40 songs
What: Piano karaoke
Where: Manhattan Inn, Greenpoint
Who: Joe McGinty
You should know: Joe McGinty has recorded or performed with The Psychedelic Furs, The Ramones, Debbie Harry, Stew and The Negro Problem, Devendra Banhart, Nada Surf, Ronnie Spector, Daniel Johnston, Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes, Space Hog, and many others. He now brings along an iPad so he can back singers on pretty much any song that exists on the internet. This place is great for groups.
You should also know: There are some really great musicians in this neighborhood, so there are a lot of powerhouse performances.
Vibe: Live piano, classy.
What: Mo’s Karaoke
Where: Mo’s Fort Greene, Fort Greene
Host: Shelley Watson
You should know: The guacamole and homemade tortilla chips at Mo’s are delicious.
You should also know: First four singers get free drinks.
What: Heavy metal karaoke
Where: St. Vitus, Greenpoint
You should know: Heavy metal karoke is insanely fun, and also, more difficult than you might think. You sing up on the stage here, in front of a roaring crowd, so you better practice your jump kicks, growls and wails before you go.
You should also know: You get a shot before you go on stage. As one regular put it, “How else would you sing right?”
Where: The Woods, Williamsburg
Who: DJ Johnny Dott in the booth, hosted by Anthony, the man in the red Subaru
You should know: The Kings of Karaoke also host at Good Company on Sundays, Grand Victory on Mondays, Rock Shop on Thursdays, St. Vitus on Saturdays, and more.
Songs they’re sick of hearing: Anything by Steely Dan.
Vibe: Songs are all over the place, but indie, metal, punk, 80s and 90s hits tend to dominate. DJ Johnny Dott plays all sorts of eclectic music between performances.
What: New Sound Karaoke presents…Open Mic Karaoke
Where: Tandem Bar, Bushwick
Hosts: Bobby Service and Black Waterfall (they’re married!)
Songs they’re sick of hearing: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Wanted Dead or Alive.”
Their favorite karaoke song: Bobby says, “Right now, our favorite track is “Hotel Relax,” a mash-up of “Back to the Hotel” and “Relax.” The 1980s documentary-style karaoke video shows what happens when my wife and I set out for a romantic leather-themed evening in a honeymoon suite only to find our room double booked with a newlywed couple. Needless to say, it’s a steamy karaoke smolder fest!”
What: The Kings of Karaoke at Pine Box Rock Shop
Where: Pine Box Rock Shop, Bushwick
Hosts: Sarah Booz, and DJ KP behind the booth
Songs they’re sick of hearing: Booz says, “’I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ by Aerosmith. I hate that song.”
Coolest karaoke move they’ve seen: “Someone decided to sing Hava Nagila and three dudes jumped up on stage unannounced with a chair and started lifting the dude up like it was his bar mitzvah,” says Booz.
You should know: Sarah Booz rides a unicycle and Pine Box Rock Shop used to be a coffin factory. Also, come early, the list gets full pretty quickly.
What: Ginger’s Brooklyn Idol Factor Karaoke
Where: Ginger’s Bar, Park Slope
Hosts: Hot Hostess Anna, with mixologist Michael Shane Conner on the beer taps and microphone
You should know: Karaoke is on alternating Thursdays; there are always drink specials.
Vibe: Gay (mostly ladies)
What: Karaoke Killed the Cat
Where: Union Hall, Park Slope
Hosts: Chris Goldteeth and Lord Easy
What you should know: This is not one of those karaoke nights where you sit politely while other people sing–it’s a party. Come prepared to act like it.
What: Late Night Karaoke
Where: Trash Bar, Williamsburg
Hosts: Kenley Collins from Project Runway
Songs they’re sick of hearing: Mr. Jones, by Counting Crows, and Semi-Charmed Life, by Third Eye Blind.
Vibe: Divey hard rock, this is a beer and whiskey crowd.
What: Karaoke in the Back Room
Where: Alligator Lounge, Williamsburg
You should know: Buy one beer, and get a free personal pizza. Low key and great for birthdays.
Music scene: 80s music galore
What: Karaoke, on Friday and Saturday, 9pm to 1am
Where: Hope & Anchor, Red Hook
Host: Dropsy Dousman and Stella Dora
You should know: There are vegan options here. Try the gazpacho and veggie samosas. Alternatively, the hamburger is a fav. And, yes it is open, post Sandy!
Vibe: Hipstery; fun but not rowdy–the music is conducive to conversation.
Where: The Old Carriage Inn, Park Slope
Host: Mike, a.k.a. The Sisco Kid
You should know: Mike has been a KJ for 12 years now. The Old Carriage Inn has hosted pretty much every sort of karaoke party–birthday parties, engagement parties, wedding parties, memorial parties, etc.
Songs he’s sick of hearing: “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” by Bonnie Tyler, “The Rose,” by Bette Midler, and “Wind Beneath My Wings,” by Bette Midler.
His karaoke song: Mike says, “Wow, this is tricky. I don’t want to do the same songs every week, I don’t want to do singer favorites, and I try not to do an artist that someone else sang before me. I asked my wife what my song is, and she couldn’t nail one down for me, either!”
What: Eddie Mac’s Saturday Night Karaoke Party
Where: Shenanigans Pub, Kensington
Host: Eddie Mac
You should know: This place still has a bit of an undiscovered vibe to it, being a bit off the beaten path in Kensington. If you want a place where you can definitely get to sing your song or bring a group, head here. If you want to sing for a packed room, maybe not.
Vibe: Everyone from hipsters and punks to long-time residents get together and sing along with Eddie Mac–it’s a diverse, fun crowd that show up on Saturday.