Best karaoke bars and nights

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

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  • Photograph: Tatsuya Morita

    Karaoke 17

  • Photograph: Tatsuya Morita

    Karaoke 17

  • Photograph: Tatsuya Morita

    Karaoke 17

  • Photograph: Tatsuya Morita

    Karaoke 17

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Karaoke Cave

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Karaoke Cave

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Karaoke Cave

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Karaoke Cave

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Planet Rose

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Planet Rose

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Planet Rose

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Planet Rose

  • Photograph: Tatsuya Morita

    Winnie's

  • Photograph: Tatsuya Morita

    Winnie's

  • Photograph: Tatsuya Morita

    Winnie's

  • Photograph: Tatsuya Morita

    Winnie's

  • Photographs: Noah Devereaux

    Arlene's World Famous Live Rock 'n' Roll Karaoke

  • Photographs: Noah Devereaux

    Arlene's World Famous Live Rock 'n' Roll Karaoke

  • Photographs: Noah Devereaux

    Arlene's World Famous Live Rock 'n' Roll Karaoke

  • Photographs: Noah Devereaux

    Arlene's World Famous Live Rock 'n' Roll Karaoke

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Ron Stewart sings Smells Like Teen Spirit

    Rock Star Karaoke NYC

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Amber O'Reilly sings Black Velvet

    Rock Star Karaoke NYC

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Rock Star Karaoke NYC

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Jilliana Richcrick sings Unbelievable

    Rock Star Karaoke NYC

Photograph: Tatsuya Morita

Karaoke 17

Arlene's World Famous Live Rock ’n’ Roll Karaoke

The Strokes played some of their first gigs at LES mainstay Arlene's Grocery, so you can take comfort in the fact that you're rocking out where Jules & Co. played some of their earliest drunken shows. Just make sure you bring it—cuts by Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC and other tried-and-true rock staples (the more anthemic, the better) require some serious wailing. The free Monday-night shows have the wildest crowds, and in true rock-star fashion, ridiculous antics like stripping and playing air guitar are encouraged.

  1. Arlene's Grocery 95 Stanton St, between Ludlow and Orchard Sts
  2. Until Mon Dec 23
More info

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.

  1. Union Hall 702 Union St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Fri Jun 6
More info

Planet Rose

  • Price band: 2/4

On weekends, patrons of this Alphabet City joint have been known to let the spirit of rock & roll take over by jumping onto the bar while belting out tunes. But during the week, you can catch glimpses of more subdued insanity; we recently saw an old guy in giant shades belting out Kenny Rogers's "Through the Years." The song list covers the popular bases, with Broadway tunes (from My Fair Lady and The Phantom of the Opera) and '70s classics (Wings' "Band on the Run," Carly Simon's "You're So Vain"). But if you'd rather vocalize your favorite Rent tearjerker away from the judgmental public, the joint also has a private room that holds up to 40 aspiring singers ($7 per person per hour; one-drink minimum per person).

  1. 219 Ave A, (between 13th and 14th Sts)
More info

Rock Star Karaoke

  • Free

This quintet (with three backup singers) pounds out sets twice a week. Stadium-rock staples by Creedence, Black Sabbath and—of course—Journey are all on the group's playlist, but in keeping with the joint's honky-tonk vibe, we suggest choosing the Stones' "Dead Flowers" or Johnny Cash's "Cocaine Blues." Sign up from 10–10:30pm to avoid a wait of up to ten songs. While it's totally free to belt out a number, tips for the players are encouraged.

  1. Brother Jimmy's Baitshack 1644 Third Ave, at 92nd St
  2. Until Sat Dec 21
More info

Wicked Willy's

There are no private rooms at this Greenwich Village bar, but it does host amateur performers Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at around 8pm. The extensive song list carries the latest pop hits , a decent selection of Spanish songs and most of the staples. Performers also get a free shot with the first song they sing—presumably to help steady those nerves. Should the caterwauling overwhelm your fancy ears, there is a large projection screen in the back for taking in the Yankees game. 

  1. 149 Bleecker St, (between La Guardia Pl and Thompson St)
More info

Winnie’s

  • Price band: 1/4

The crowd is eclectic at this Chinatown dive, though young, party-hearty hordes descend on weekends. Singing doesn't get underway until 8pm, which gives you plenty of time to ingest some liquid courage before taking your place on the small, makeshift stage. Opt for the bar's eight-liquor-strong Hawaiian Punch ($9) before making your selection. After a few slugs, you'll be working your falsetto to the Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love," crooning Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman," or shouting Modest Mouse's "Float On" in no time.

  1. 104 Bayard St, (between Baxter and Mulberry Sts)
More info

Users say

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