Good spots for karaoke?

microphone closeupCatherine emails with a simple tune:

I'm looking for places nearby that do karaoke.

We know you have some good suggestions for Catherine. Please share!

Earlier on AOA: Good spots for trivia night?

photo: Flickr derekGavey

Comments

It's not the place, but the host.

Back in the days when I went Karaoking....Mark the Shark was the best host. He had the most songs and met and talked with everyone who showed up.

I can't vouch for any of them but it looks like Metroland has a number of places listed on their "club" calendar:
http://www.metroland.net/calendar/calendar_clubs.html

I have two favorite spots. The first is Eugene's Side Door Cafe on Western Ave in Albany. The KJ, Mark the Shark, has a pretty wide selection and keeps things current. It's also a fairly quiet place on most weekends. Some weekends are busier than others, but it's a relaxing atmosphere to drink and hang out with friends. (karaoke on Friday and Sat nights starting at 10pm)

The other is Muddys in Watervliet. This place is known for having a topless bartender, but in 6 years of frequently going for saturday night for karaoke at approx 10pm, I've never seen her. The KJ Steve has a decently sized library. He updates occasionally, so he might not have the newest stuff, but there's a stage and he'll even give you a free recording of yourself singing [if you'd ever want it]. Drinks are fairly expensive, but the atmosphere is great most times.

My friends also talk about The Mill in Round Lake, but I've never been there. From what I hear, there's no real set night for karaoke besides saturday. Sometimes they have it on Friday, sometimes Thursday.

I agree with Lwoodbluz that the most important thing is the DJ (oops, "KJ"). The way they handle rotation, the banter they have with the singers and the crowd, and their relationship with the bar make all the difference - plus, since they mostly provide the equipment and songs, they determine whether you'll be able to sing the song you want and sound good doing it (well, as good as possible).

At one point, I was a Mark the Shark devotee (although I know that at least for a while he had been replaced at Side Door - maybe he's back). But I defected to Lenny Thomas, who was at Bourbon Street in Colonie - he had a better song selection and the quality of his Karaoke equipment was worlds better than Mark's. (He's also been recognized several times in the Metroland "Best Of" poll.)

As I understand it, Lenny is now at Flightline Pub in Glenville but I haven't been so I can't say whether the atmosphere there is as great as it was at Bourbon Street.

Oh, and if you go to Lenny's karaoke, be sure to ask him to do some hair metal (he used to be in a Judas Priest tribute band) or, my favorite song of his, Hall and Oates' "Sara Smile". Guy's got a killer voice.

Lenny's website is here: http://www.lennythomas.com/Karaoke.html
(click on Calendar to see which nights he does karaoke).

For a different twist on karaoke you might want to try "bandaoke" at Savannah's/The Dublin Underground on Thursday nights. You get to go on a stage with full PA, lights, and a real band backing you up. The house band, The Ruddys, have a book of about 500 tunes (with lyrics) and can even accommodate certain special requests. The current season just wrapped up but it should be starting back up again in the early Spring.

I don't know about being "good," but I've recently just sang karaoke at Rafferty's (Weekday) in Latham and also J.T. Maxie's (Saturday night) on Wolf Road. They aren't crowded, so it's fun to go with a few friends and be ridiculous without waiting two hours for your turn, not to mention feeling less judged! Have fun :)

I used to love karaoke, I've been told I sound like Jewel...but I don't know too many people out here in Albany

I am not in Albany any more but the Karaoke at Bombers was always a good time. The Elbo Room had a pretty decent one too. Side Door is pretty much the go to place and I heard good things about Bourbon Street but never made it there before moving out west. The one at the Mill is a good time and used to be every other Thursday or something like that and they stream it on the web so you get to perform for the whole world.

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