Rihanna, Shania Twain, Mumford & Sons, and Elton John. That's not from the playlist of an indecisive radio DJ—it's from the song list at Radio Star Karaoke, which boasts more than 28,000 English and Spanish tunes. Visitors belt out melodies from nine private rooms, the biggest of which can fit up to 40 singers. Bolder singers exercise their pipes on the stage of the ultra-modern bar area, decked out with translucent plastic chairs illuminated by multicolored, club-style lighting. Dots of laser light flit across the entire space, framing wrap-around couches and flat-screen TVs. In the front hallway, a museum of vintage microphones and RCA Victor radios is on display to inspire singers. Fueling the festivities, which on some nights can last until 4 a.m., is a menu of spirited beverages and sharable appetizers that have all been stolen from Prince’s kitchen.
Neon lights dart across the Cali Red Lounge to decorate the stone and tile walls with luminous graffiti. These rays of indigo and green provide a backdrop that complements colorful signature cocktails such as the refreshing Sunflower made with peach schnapps and Midori, the pucker-inducing appletini, and the all-ages water on the rocks. The expansive space fits a variety of moods with beer-pong tables, flat-screen TVs for sports, and a network of private Japanese-style karaoke rooms. As disco lights splash banquettes with glowing confetti, patrons can croon a beloved ballad and munch on Cali Red's savory snacks including wine-flavored edamame beans, onion rings, and popcorn chicken.
From the steamy dry ice-like fountain that greets customers at the entrance to the cavernous interior beyond, this pan-Asian restaurant in Greenwich Village oozes a pleasant gaudiness. Decked out with red velvet curtains, red paper lanterns, a back-lit dragon’s head, glowing blue Japanese-style walls and a curved piano-shaped bar, Apple Restaurant and Bom Bar creates a fun, warm ambiance appreciated by the many NYU students who often fill the tables. The menu is also an attraction, including a wide range of Asian dishes like tuna mango spring rolls, fried Vietnamese dumplings, beef sate and sautéed lemongrass with shrimp, while many vegetarian dishes are also available. The private room in the back, the Red Den, is fully equipped for private karaoke sessions.
Amateur singers of all skill levels grab microphones and belt out show-stopping tunes on the stage at Keats, entertaining friends and bar patrons alike. A line of performers forms seven nights each week, and, according to staff, it has sometimes included celebrities such as Vanessa Carlton and Nick Lachey as well as cocker spaniels dressed in trench coats. At the bar, the sounds of live karaoke mingle with the clinking of pint glasses as servers arrive with plates of fish 'n' chips, burgers, and spicy buffalo wings.
When Arlene’s Grocery opened in 1995, it was in a Lower East Side that was hungry for live music. Fortunately there was no shortage of bands to fill the stage. The venue quickly became rooted in punk, garage rock, and bohemian music, saving their spotlight for then-unknown artists such as Jeff Buckley. Over the years, Arlene’s proved itself a tastemaker, booking regular shows with up-and-comers the Strokes and securing a residency from the Bravery before the band hit it big by swapping their instruments for baseball gloves and becoming the Atlanta Braves. As the neighborhood evolved and the club, an actual former grocery store, sprawled into the butcher shop next door, the owners hired a live rock ‘n’ roll karaoke band. The multi-weekly sessions became wildly popular, even attracting neighbors such as Moby to take the stage for some impromptu singing. Beyond karaoke, the calendar still focuses on indie-alt-rock, with performers that have included Delta Rae and Conner Youngblood.