Life would probably be more exciting if we casually broke into song like one of those sitcom episodes where the world turns into a musical for a day. That’s why we love karaoke - we get to put aside our problems for the night and perform some of our favorite songs. Whether you choose “Sweet Caroline” in hopes of getting the entire room to sing along with you, or you’re ready to unleash your best Adele impression (moody vibrato and all), Seattle has a karaoke spot for every situation. These are the 10 best bars to drink and sing with your friends.
If you’re trying to plan the best karaoke event of the year, book a private room at Rock Box. It’s a rager of a bar where you’ll find flashing neon lights and cutesy cocktails like the “Hello Kitty” (which tastes like drinking Malibu from the bottle after shoving a fistful of shredded coconut in your mouth). The only caveat here is that it’s extremely difficult to book a room on short notice. If you’re still set on coming here on a Saturday, the main bar area has first-come, first-served karaoke as well - show up at 3pm for a day drinking session and you won’t have to wait to sing.
Bush Garden is the kind of karaoke bar where every table and chair faces the stage, and the entire room is full of encouraging locals who are singing along with passion. Even the owner, Karen, will pick up a tambourine and belt out harmonies with you if you’re nervous. After your performance, random people may scream, “you’re so good at singing!” and give you a hug. Pay attention to the low-budget music videos that play on the lyrics screen while you’re singing - they’re ridiculous and very entertaining.
If your Cap Hill bar crawl doesn’t transition into moaning “Barbie Girl” at the top of your lungs while gulping down mai tais at Hula Hula, we can’t guarantee that your night was a success. This tiki bar is our favorite karaoke spot to hang out with friends for a few drinks, whether we’re the ones singing or just watching other people ruin Elton John. Karaoke starts here every night at 9:30pm, so it’s easy to plan around. The only downside is that you’ll have to wait a really long time to sing on the weekends, so sit back, order a round of pina coladas, and drink until that sad girl who keeps doing Joni Mitchell starts to sound kinda good.
Another great Capitol Hill spot that has nightly karaoke is the LGBTQ dive bar, Crescent Lounge. This bar, which is right next to Hula Hula, checks off two key components for an ideal karaoke night - it’s never insanely crowded and serves strong well drinks. It’s also where we’ve witnessed a guy singing the best rendition of “Welcome To The Black Parade” we’ve ever heard. If you were ever in a collegiate a cappella group and think you’ve got a golden voice, be warned: the competition here is no joke.
Maybe you’re a professional wedding singer and you need to rehearse some Earth, Wind, and Fire before a gig. Or, maybe you have another karaoke night coming up and want to build your confidence. In either case, Monday night karaoke at Little Red Hen is the perfect spot for singing without fear of embarrassment, because literally nobody pays attention to what’s happening on stage. Though, since this country-themed bar has line dancing lessons right before karaoke, don’t be surprised if people are doing the two-step while you perform “Gangster’s Paradise” without inhibition.
We’re not sure where the idea to open a diner with an adjoining karaoke bar came from, but there’s something amazing about watching someone sing The Click Five while you eat a tuna melt. Karaoke happens five nights a week (every day except Tuesdays and Thursdays) at the Shanghai Room, the neighboring bar to North Star Diner. When the karaoke bar closes at 2am, you can go back to the diner, that’s open 24/7, and satisfy your grilled cheese cravings.
There are moments when it’s appropriate to gyrate on stage coated with a thin film of sticky beer and sing “Baby Got Back.” And then, there are moments when you need to plan a Happy Hour for your team at work. Stone Lounge in Bellevue is a sleek space that works well for a sensible evening sipping wine and whisper-singing some Enya in a private room or out in the main bar area. The food here isn’t spectacular, so plan to do snacks and more drinks at Lot No. 3 afterward.
New Luck Toy is one of our favorite late-night spots in the city. They have skee-ball, really good Chinese food, and alcoholic slushies that range from a strawberry prickly pear margarita to frangelico pina coladas. But the best part about this place is the private karaoke room in the front. Sure, the room is tiny, but there’s more than enough space for you and a couple of friends. The catch is that it’s first-come, first-served, so you’ll have to wait your turn - or have a Pitch Perfect-style riff-off to settle the score.
If you are a college student, or just want to listen to young people sing the Spice Girls while you throw back some jello shots, go to UW Irish pub Finn McCool’s. Their karaoke happens on Thursdays at 10pm, and they’ll occasionally host a contest that’s not scored by how well you sing, but how loud other people applaud after you hit the last note - they have a decibel reader and everything. Just be aware that if some random girl shows up with her entire sorority and sings “Let It Go” from Frozen, she’s probably going to come in first place.
For an easy karaoke night with great beer and even better food, stop by Clock-Out Lounge on Monday nights. It’s where Breezy Town is located, so you can eat delicious Chicago pan-style pizzas with caramelized cheese edges and toppings like crispy pepperoni and Beecher’s curds. It’s never too packed or rowdy, and they have a great Happy Hour if you want to hang out before all the singing begins.