Best karaoke bars in Chicago

Sometimes you just need to pick up a mic and let loose. Here are the best Chicago bars for karaoke to practice your singing (and drinking) skills.

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Alice's is one of the best Chicago bars for karaoke.

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Photograph: Mark Wright

Brando's Speakeasy is one of the best Chicago bars for karaoke.

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Mary's Attic is one of the best Chicago bars for karaoke.

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Photograph: Kate Leahy

Sidekicks is one of the best Chicago bars for karaoke.

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Photograph: Chandler West

Spyner's Pub is one of the best Chicago bars for karaoke.

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Pop KTV is one of the best Chicago bars for karaoke.

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Photograph: Maddie Blecha

Trader Todd's is one of the best Chicago bars for karaoke.

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Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

Sakura is one of the best Chicago bars for karaoke.

Chicago is a karaoke-loving city, and you have plenty of spots to sing your heart out. You can hit a low-key night at a dive bar or a raucous gay-friendly party (or lesbian-friendly bar). Plus, there are a couple great spots in Chinatown to check out. Here are our picks for the best Chicago bars for karaoke.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best Chicago bars

Best karaoke bars in Chicago

Alice's Lounge

This long wooden bar is helmed by a few middle-aged women who, on Sundays, mix huge batches of kamikazes and sell them for $2 a pop—but the real draw here is karaoke. If you get there and the door’s locked, don’t get discouraged. Just ring the bell over and over again (sometimes the bartenders can’t hear it over yet another version of “Don’t Stop Believin’”). Karaoke: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 11pm–3:30am; Saturdays 11pm–4:30am.

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Avondale

Brando's Speakeasy

True to form, Brando’s Speakeasy is anything but what it seems. It’s a lounge, but conversation flows more like a neighborhood haunt. While there's a cocktail list, most people seem to down beer anyway. The decor and vintage posters throw it back eras, but the karaoke and late-night dance music add modern flair. While it’s not Don Vito Corleone meets Al Capone as the name might imply, Brando’s is definitely a mash-up. Karaoke: Wednesdays–Saturdays at 7pm.

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Loop

Mary's Attic

Don't expect this upstairs bar to vaunt a granny's attic vibe. It sits above the gay-friendly Hamburger Mary's and it’s a raucous night, what with the rampant kitsch, rowdy karaoke nights and fringe theater dominating the Attic's tiny stage. Karaoke: Sundays and Wednesdays 9:30pm.

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Andersonville

Murasaki

After 22 years as Cafe Shino, this Gold Coast stalwart got a makeover and has emerged as a sake lounge, complete with two dozen varieties of rice wine, a private karaoke room and a menu of otsumami, traditional Japanese small plates (we're fans of the crispy-edged hot-dog bites, plummy baby octopus, spicy salmon hand rolls and tofu-topped udon noodles). For a primer on sake, ask manager Kerry Tamura, who's happy to steer you in the right direction.

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Pop KTV

The lounge’s black walls and color-shifting lights feels like walking onto the set from Tron: Legacy. The other patrons, mostly groups of Chinese Americans, are supportive of all the singers, and while the karaoke control box isn’t intuitive, friendly staff and bartenders will happily walk you through the process. Want to just sing with your friends? Private rooms are $48 (prices go up after 2am) and they’re clean and cozy. The food is good, so snack on fried chicken wings, beef skewers and fries. Bonus: Pop KTV opens at 2pm, so you can kick off your night by pre-gaming here.

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Chinatown

Sakura Karaoke Lounge

Sakura offers a blend of Eastern and Western karaoke, with bright colors, monitors at every booth and an energetic party vibe. Drink prices and late night snacks like spicy chicken legs and lemongrass wines are moderately priced (and delicious), and there’s a stage near the bar. For private parties, rent a large room for $50 an hour (it has its own private bathroom!) or opt for the $15 a head cover charge or a private room for $35-$40 an hour.

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Chinatown

Sidekicks

The decor of this spacious karaoke and darts bar is reminiscent of roller rinks circa the 1980s: pink and aqua neon signage, wood paneling, fantastic mullets and all the nachos and pizza you can handle. Drinks are ridiculously cheap, and the karaoke book is chock-full of corny ’70s and ’80s hits with a dedicated stage for performing, making this place a natural choice for getting drunk and stupid with large groups of people. Karaoke: Every night at 8pm.

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Jefferson Park

Spyners Pub

This unmarked hole-in-the-wall is the kind of neighborhood spot you’d easily pass by until someone in the know introduces you to its discreet charms: old-school matrons working the bar, cheap drink specials and weekend karaoke jamborees. FYI, it’s also an unofficial hangout for same sex–loving ladies. Karaoke: Fridays and Saturdays at 9:30pm.

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North Side

Trader Todd's

Pop into any bar boasting seven days of karaoke and you're likely to hear more than your fair share of Bon Jovi. Thankfully, this Lakeview parrot-head hangout offers ample patio space (heated in the winter) to escape juiced-up choruses of "Sweet Caroline." This place is good for satiating drunk American Idol desires, but bad for house cocktails. Stick to your beer of choice over Todd's odd concoctions. Karaoke: Every night at 7:30pm.

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Lakeview

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