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.
Pulse, New York’s only multimedia lounge, is hip and modern in a space-age way, decked out with Rock Band, moody lights, and six private suites. Pulse also has a fully stocked bar and tons of appetizers. If you’re ambitious and attention-starved, hold center stage all night and redeem your $50 Groupon for 50 songs. The wide musical selection spans from all the top 40 classics to Korean and Chinese hits, so throw down to chart-topper “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga or show off your surprising linguistic abilities with karaoke favorites “把箸氾伴蛤” by 氾伴把 and “氾伴伴箸” by 伴氾 featuring Pat Boone.
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.
Since most people never experience the rush of belting beloved tunes in front of thousands of adoring fans, there are places like 5 Bar Karaoke Lounge to provide the next best thing. Spotlights, disco balls, and black lights illuminate amateur chanteuses as they take the stage in private rooms that hold groups of up to 18. A savory selection of small plates and platters such as edamame, seafood rice cakes, and chicken wings keep power-ballad singers fueled for their next heartfelt rendition, while draft beers heighten the feel-good atmosphere and placate friends who’ve lost their voice.