These are only the spots I can remember singing at in the last 3 years. The goal is to sing at every karaoke spot in the city, just to be able to confidently compare them and recommend the best places to friends, and, like any scientist, I have a control variable: I always sing “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles, often a crowd favorite, and I am usually one of the first few people to sign up. None of these places are terrible, but there are reasons some are my favorites over others.
9. R Place – Capitol Hill
I have only been here once, on a Sunday, and only because I had a rare Monday off due to a holiday. My office hours and bus ride back home are not conducive to the days this place has karaoke (Sun-Wed), but that’s okay. Everyone has different schedules. Karaoke is operated on the 1st of 3 floors and there is no stage. I remember singing from the stairs like a diva, and honestly, it was magical. Karaoke starts at 9, though you’ll want to get there before 8:30 if you want to avoid the $10 cover because drinks are expensive (to me). They are strong though!
8. RockBox – Capitol Hill
This is a traditional Japanese karaoke set-up, with private rooms of different sizes that you book in advance, but I have never booked a room, so I cannot speak to that experience. I much prefer to be on a stage with an audience of strangers, for free. Rooms are $7 per person per hour, $4 during happy hour (4-8 pm Mon-Thurs, 3-7 pm Fri, Sat, and all day Sun). It’s free to sing in the bar, so that’s what I do, but there is no stage. Most people hang around one wall, but I know all the words to “Love Song” without looking, so I like to impress people by walking around the packed bar and interacting with the crowd when I sing. One great thing about this place, however, is that you can check their song list on their website before you go and make sure they have what you want!
7. The Crescent – Capitol Hill
I came here once about a year ago, with my friend Marissa, and boy, was it a long wait to sing, and then an even longer wait to sing again. I think we left before I could sing a second song. It was very crowded as well and there weren’t many places to sit down. Get your songs in early here! They do not have their own website that I could find, so I’m not sure if karaoke is every night, but it was definitely a Friday or Saturday when I went.
6. North Star Diner and Shanghai Room – Greenwood
North Star Diner is open 24 hours, sells your typical small-town diner fare, and shares an entrance with the Shangai Room (open noon-2 am), which is the perfect set-up in my opinion. Sing your heart out and follow it up with late-night waffles? Yes, please! They also have a new patio, which I have yet to check out. The Shanghai Room has plenty of places to sit and watch others sing, but you have to get there EARLY! I got there probably half an hour before karaoke started to join a group of girls once, and there were no seats left at all. I ended up hanging out by the arcade games closest to the stage until a booth opened up and I sat with my other friends who showed up later. The stage can only be seen well from half of the bar, but I remember the sound quality being pretty good. Karaoke starts at 9 pm everyday but Tuesday and Thursday.
5. Marco Polo – Georgetown
I would rank this one closer to number one simply because the DJ will find any song you request if it’s not in the songbook and have it ready for you the next week, and the food is amazing. HOWEVER, I only went here because my CFO suggested it after our company holiday party, which was already in Georgetown. I live on the north edge of the city, so anything south of downtown is super out of my way. I also didn’t like how there was barely any room for you to be seen by the rest of the patrons when you sing, but I thought their sound system was really good. Perhaps I’ll visit here again sometime, if only to sing “Come Round Soon” by Sara Bareilles. Once I master the high note, that is.
4. Hula Hula – Capitol Hill
The stage at this Hawaiian-themed tiki-bar is set up in the corner of the lower portion of the room, so you can basically be seen by anyone in the bar when you’re on stage, which I love. The sound is great, and they have a high-tech song reservation system. However, this place is also very popular, so you’ll want to sign up for all the songs you want to sing at once, and as soon as you can.
3. Baranof – Greenwood
I have been to this kitschy, campy, nautical-themed bar a few times and have loved it every time. I’m such a sucker for a fun decor scheme even if everything else is under par. The room is divided in two by the bar itself, and they have served jello shots every time I’ve gone. However, I do not remember being impressed with the sound system, which does no favors to people who already don’t sound that great. I need that cushion of balanced sound quality and volume if I’m feeling nervous! Karaoke starts at 9 pm, and there is a sizable dance floor, so sing something people can get down to! They do not have their own website, so I’m not sure of the karaoke schedule, but it was most likely a Friday or Saturday that I came here.
2. The Rickshaw – Northwest Seattle
I came here once with some coworkers after a company-funded happy hour. We work downtown, so most of our group must have lived up north in order for us to decide on the Rickshaw, way up on 105th. They have awesome Chinese food, and karaoke is 9 pm – 2 am every night. The restaurant is divided in two sections by a thin wall, so karaoke is only visible from one side, but that’s okay. I rated this one so high because the food is amazing. I will definitely come back here if I’m coming from home, because that’s only a 15-minute bus ride for me!
1. Ozzie’s – Queen Anne
I’m pretty sure I’ve only been here once or twice, but I remember being able to sing at least 2 songs, which is amazing considering how popular this place is. Karaoke is 9 pm to 1 am every single night! They have an actual stage, large dance floor, plenty of tables and chairs, great food menu, strong and delicious drinks, a lovely DJ, and a fantastic sound system. I came here with a group of girls from SWAF (Seattle Women’s Anti-Freeze, which I will totally blog about another day), and we had a blast cheering each other on. I will definitely be back here soon.
Where do you like to sing karaoke? Tell me in the comments!