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The best karaoke bars in NYC

Calling all wanna-be rockers, Broadway babies and crooners: Sing your heart out at these spots

Photograph: Shutterstock

Birthday parties, after-work hangs, solitary dark nights of the soul—they all have one thing in common: Karaoke can brighten up every one of these occasions. Lucky for you, NYC is an amateur singer's playground, whether you're the type who likes to belt out show tunes in one of the city's cramped, sweaty bars or croon the best ’80s songs in a private room full of your 15 closest friends. Every karaoke fiend has his or fave haunt, but why not branch out and try somewhere new? Check out our list of the best karaoke songs ever, rest those vocal cords, and get ready for your next star turn at one of these fine New York establishments.

NYC's best karaoke bars

1

Arlene's Grocery (live band)

This beloved LES joint shines a spotlight on eager singers looking to rock out like Bowie or Aerosmith to tried-and-true rock staples. Hold on to that feelin’ at the venue's regular Monday sesh; ridiculous antics like stripping and playing air guitar are encouraged.

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Arlene's Grocery Until Mon Dec 23
2

Baby Grand

This Japanese-style karaoke bar isn't named for the diminutive piano (you won’t find one here) but for its small size and proximity to Grand Street. There are no private rooms: The brave have to perform in front of everyone, but after a few drinks (beer, wine, sake, cocktails), it should be easy to get the nerve up.

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Little Italy
3

Duet 35

Part of the thriving Karaoke Duet empire that consists of three private-room palaces in and around Koreatown, Duet 35 is the quintessential midtown karaoke hang. If you're looking for a place to get sloppy drunk with your coworkers while belting out Third Eye Blind, Alanis Morisette and other ’90s (and ’70s and ’80s) faves, this is the spot. Bonus points for the venue's bring-your-own-food policy.

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4

Hill Country (live band)

Alt-rock group the Wicked Messengers ushers in your 15 minutes of fame, honky-tonk style. Classics like Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Hank Williams’s “Hey Good Lookin’” rank among the 300-plus songs to choose from. Audience members can even request a three-part backup harmony if they are so inclined.

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Midtown
5

Karaoke Boho

In addition to an active song-filled main bar, this West Village spot offers 18 private rooms in which to regale friends and acquaintances. The venue's website maintains a list of recently added songs—convenient if you want to make sure they've got the latest Kanye or T-Swift tune.

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West Village
6

Karaoke Cave

Don't let this karaoke-scene staple's unassuming exterior fool you. You enter the Greenwich Village den by descending a flight of stairs in a restaurant. Once inside, order a drink and receive a ticket for a free song; picks are only a buck after that. There's no real stage—patrons simply go to the front of the spacious room and rock out. Choose from the massive songbook, featuring a diverse array of genres including show tunes, Top 40 hits and new-wave classics. Those with stage fright can retreat with two or three friends into a private room in the back.

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Greenwich Village
7

Karaoke Killed the Cat

Getting down to '80s and '90s hits (including Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It") hasn't been this fun or guilt-free since grade school. Every Friday, hype men Chris Goldteeth and Lord Easy deliver on their promise of a late-night karaoke party in this Park Slope bar's basement. And remember to be energetic: Your enthusiasm (booze-fueled or otherwise) will really get the crowd going.

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Union Hall 06 Jun 2014
8

Karaoke 17

Even the biggest music snob will be impressed by the ginormous song list at this multiroom spot. With more than 80,000 cuts in 14 languages, you'll never fail to find an esoteric song that shows off your knowledge of Portuguese pop.

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Flatiron
9

Planet Rose

"Each one of our bartenders sings,” says co-owner Dave Peña. Each drink slinger also has a slightly different take on the bar’s signature Planet Rose cocktail, but they all mix ’em strong. Many customers dig the cliquey singles scene happening on the zebra-striped wraparound couches. If that’s not your thing, however, the nightly karaoke is free.

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East Village
10

Sing Sing

Karaoke fans can head to either fo the two East Village locations of this sing-along bar (the other is at 81 Ave A), but our pick goes to the St. Marks location. Though Sing Sing offers private rooms, the best option here might be the public bar area, which for our money is the best place in the city to embarrass yourself while belting out ’80s classics in front of friendly, inebriated strangers.

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East Village
11

32 Karaoke

It may be modestly named, but 32 Karaoke boasts the "best karaoke in K-town" and—get this—the "biggest collection of songs in the world." We'll have to take the latter claim on faith, but we will say that if you're looking to get loud and silly with your pals in a lovably tacky private room (complete with spinning disco ball and disorienting geometric patterns on the wall), you've found your karaoke mecca.

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Comments

3 comments
Karaokaholic
Karaokaholic

Welcome to the wonderful world of karaoke!

zhan
zhan

thanks beth, great pic of us at the cave! tell me though, does that microphone make me look fat? haha! zhan

Anonymous
Anonymous

It figures you don't list anything in Queens. You should change your title to Time Out Manhattan and if you're Lucky Brooklyn