Sometimes you just need to get on stage and belt it out. Whether you’re an amateur shower singer that needs some liquid courage, a karaoke enthusiast or if you’re looking for a private room for a more intimate setting, Charlotte has a wide range of karaoke options.
Here are our six favorite karaoke spots (in no particular order), along with some tips for the karaoke amateurs out there.
Karaoke times: Monday-Sunday 7 p.m.-2 a.m. (during operating hours).
1601 Montford Drive.
Follow the neon finger pointing down a flight of stairs and you’ll find yourself in a true karaoke bar with little more than a popcorn machine, a bartender, a stage and a mic.
Pro tip 1: Pick a song you’re comfortable singing.
By this people usually mean pick a song in your vocal range, but I’m recommending you pick a song with lyrics you’re comfortable singing. As I’ve learned, it’s one thing to sing Salt-N-Peppa’s “Shoop” in your car. It’s another to melodically pose the question, “I wanna know how does it hang?” to a group of strangers.
Karaoke: Sunday 6 p.m.-2 a.m.
1228 Gordon St.
Those of us not on tour with a band are invited onto the Snug Harbour stage, PBR tallboys in hand, to test our pipes beneath the onlooking pirate skulls and disco lights.
Pro tip 2: Read the room.
There’s no polite way to say it: Nobody at a karaoke bar wants to hear you sing. Rather, the crowd wants to hear you sing something they can sing along to. Unless you’re the next Ariana Grande, I suggest picking a song that showcases your great taste in music over your wide vocal range.
Karaoke: Monday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 4:40 p.m.-midnight (during operating hours).
1400 S. Church St.
Seoul Food Meat Company is going to blow up your Americanized karaoke experience. Within the building there are four themed rooms each dedicated to the traditional Korean style of karaoke.
Pro tip 3: Keep it short.
Clocking in at 3 minutes and 54 seconds, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” feels much longer on stage. During a few unapologetic pauses to catch my breath, I wondered if the song would ever before the New Year’s Eve. Short songs allow you to get in and get out with minimal damage.
Karaoke: Tuesday-Wednesday 6 p.m.-til close; Thursday-Sunday 6 p.m.-2 a.m.
820 Hamilton St.
As you step on stage in the Karaoke Lounge, let the pinball vibes and neon sign reading “Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good” help you channel your inner karaoke beast.
Pro tip 4: Pick a crowd favorite.
I have personally dispersed an entire crowd to the bar by choosing Amy Winehouse’s super-niche “Back to Black.” Always pick a song that 85% of the crowd will appreciate. Songs that evoke nostalgia (i.e. anything from the ’90s) will guarantee you celebrity status for the rest of the evening.
Karaoke: Monday-Sunday 5 p.m.-2 a.m. (during operating hours).
3205 N. Davidson St. #101
At the far end of the shoebox-shaped bar, a modest wooden platform and some stage lights await anyone with a song in their heart (and likely a drink in their hand).
Pro tip 5: Don’t over think it.
I’d explain further, but that would be overthinking it.
Karaoke: Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
5124 Park Road
The projection screen-style karaoke makes for a larger-than-life experience hosted by Chubby’s Karaoke, one of Charlotte’s most seasoned karaoke companies.
Pro tip 6: Don’t go it alone.
Can’t muster up the courage to sing solo? Sign up your best friend to sing alongside you! No need to ask them first, especially if they’ll say no. This tactic is also a great opportunity to add spontaneity to your relationship.
Photos: BlueSky by Cass Bradley; CharlotteFive and Charlotte Observer file photos