Those who have never used their brush as a mic while singing in the shower, raise your hand. There is a reason that karaoke is such a popular activity: nothing spells “fun night out with friends” quite like the collective embarrassment of singing “Hit Me Baby One More Time” on top of your lungs with your best mates by your side to cheer you on or join in a tribute to pop music.
Be the Frontman in Your Own Empty Orchestra!
Karaoke, which translates to “empty orchestra” in Japanese, is an ancient and honourable Friday night tradition – well, not exactly so, but it is more serious than you might think. The global karaoke market is estimated at a value of roughly $10 billion and its appeal has spilled over other markets, too. Gaming is karaoke’s best friend, both in terms of dedicated games like Sony’s SingStar for PlayStation (that allows up to 8 to bundle their efforts in team challenges on Party mode) or the Rock Band franchise, which allows for a group of friends to each choose to play different instruments on a given song, including singing the vocals. It has also provided inspiration for other types of games, as in the case of online slots like Karaoke Party which has a karaoke theme, all complete with boy bands and eccentric pop stars. Chinese automobile company Geely attracted worldwide attention when they decided to launch a new model (called Beauty Leopard and priced at $18,000) that came with an in-built karaoke machine (perfect for long road trips), while Northern Michigan’s Karaoke Cablets you choose from their collection of 550 CDs and over 6000 songs while they take you to your destination – or just around the city.
Karaoke is so popular that 2008 saw over 145,000 karaoke machines sold, and a further 84,000 were sold in 2016. It is no wonder then that karaoke remains an extremely beloved pastime - and no one knows how to do fun quite like North Hollywood. Here you will find some of the best karaoke joints in town – and to save you the trouble, we compiled the ultimate top 4 to visit when you are looking for something fresh and fun to do on a night out!
- The Other Door
Burbank Boulevard is the place to start, and more precisely number 10437: here you will find The Other Door, a beautifully decorated bar with a sort of old school vibe in the air. You will find two pool tables at the end of the bar and in the back a separate room that hosts their special nights: live gigs, comedy stand-up, DJing and the like. Every Monday night, the room is reserved for karaoke fanatics – and there are also themed karaoke nights or you could book the venue for a karaoke birthday! They run on a sign-me-up basis so you have to make sure you are on the schedule early as the place can get packed. If you are a bit shy, one of the KJs will offer to sing along a duet with you to help you get over that stage fright. And as you leave, pause by their vintage photo booth for a cheeky reminder of the night.
- The Good Nite
A little bit further down from the Other Door, at number 10721, you will find a hidden gem of a true karaoke bar. The Good Nite is devoted to karaoke and they do it properly: loud, blaring, fun and unexpected. You will catch the occasional patron with the incredible voice as well as the group of semi-drunk college students who decided it was a good idea to sing Eurovision songs – all packed in this North Hollywood spot. The bartenders are nice and the KJs know every song. They do karaoke almost every night of the week, starting at 9pm (9.30pm on Monday and Thursday, right after comedy gigs), which is very convenient for impromptu late night decisions – but make sure check their schedule beforehand to avoid disappointment.
- The Oaks Tavern
Situated at Sherman Oaks, at 13625 Moorpark St, the Oaks Tavern provides it all: a relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff, knowledgeable bartenders, their signature “Shot Wheel of Death” – which you spin to determine what kind of shot you’ll be getting or even score a $5 booze deal – and lots of event nights. They do stand up comedy nights every Monday at 8pm and they really love it when the crowd is participating, which is why they have an open mic opportunity, and they do trivia nights every Wednesday and Sunday. But of course, every night is karaoke night, and it is their strongest point: they have countless songs for you to choose from, helpful KJs and a really good sound system to boost your singing. The best thing about this karaoke spot is perhaps the friendly reputation it has built over the years and the kind of crowd that it attracts: everyone is supportive and encouraging – and believe us, no one is going to judge you if you cannot imitate Axl Rose’s vocalizations down to the last bit!
- Ireland’s 32
Back at Burbank Boulevard, at number 13721, you will find the best Irish bar in town – and arguably, one of the best karaoke spots, especially if you fancy an Irish spin on things. They do karaoke every Tuesday and Sunday (starting at 9.30pm) and the rest of the days they have live bands, so you know that these people know a thing or two about a good sound system. They also have a great selection of draught beers, including of course Ireland’s sweetheart Guinness but also less famous option like Smithwick’s and 805.
So whether you are a karaoke fanatic or are just looking for something fun to do while you are in L.A., make sure to check out these cozy and welcoming spots for some happy sing-alongs with your best friends!