Read our essential guide to Boston’s best karaoke bars—insider tips and recommendations, written by local experts. From the intense renditions of Courtside’s Mark the Shark to the rowdy Thursday night parties at The Asgard, we bring you the finest karaoke bars in Boston.
RECOMMENDED: See the full list of the best Boston bars
Best karaoke bars in Boston
DJ Paul B keeps things moving at this laid-back Irish pub, where newbies and regulars get equal time in the spotlight come karaoke night. The song selection is vast and regularly updated with Top 40 hits. Bonus: the funny folks from ImprovBoston (located a few blocks away) are known to drop by and offer their, um, unique vocal stylings.
It might be a stretch to call a place a dive if it's technologically advanced enough to serve “real” food and host karaoke three nights a week. Still, in ethos, its questionable cleanliness and willingness to harbor a sex-toy claw machine, the Courtside is a bona fide dive. Grab a seat in a shabby plastic chair, dig your teeth into the poor boys' special ($16.95 for a pitcher of PBR and a large cheese pizza), and enjoy the most debaucherous karaoke-fied watering hole since Razzy's shut down.
The owners of Dbar took over a grubby little Irish pub and installed a dark wood interior, a lengthy martini list and an upscale menu that rivals most of its downtown cousins. After 10pm on weekends, the smoke machines, lights and rib-shaking subwoofers come on, and suddenly the night belongs to Mariah—or at least Mariah impersonators, thanks to Friday’s night late-night karaoke takeovers.
Winter Hill's southern-style eatery is worth the trek (literally uphill from pretty much anywhere) for the shrimp and grits ($9.95), but if you've got a long afternoon to burn through we'd recommend trying a bit of everything—from buffalo-fried brussels sprouts ($6.95) to the pulled pork sandwich ($7.95) to the spicy coconut curried goat stew ($18.95). The cocktail list is dominated with bourbon and gin, and should help fortify you enough to participate in one of the place's weekly "People's Karaoke" nights.
A homey neighborhood bar with a dangerously diverse mix of acts from Boston and beyond, the Midway also features regular DJ nights and the epic, gay-themed Dyke Nite on Thursdays. Did we mention that you can buy a 16-ouncer of ’Gansett for $3? Well, perhaps we should. Though not officially gay, this tiny, noisy, divey Jamaica Plain rock bar has always been popular with local queer folk. On Thursdays, a rowdy, dykey crowd takes over the bumping dance floor and postage-stamp stage for Queeraoke.
Want your warbly Bon Jovi cover with a side of daytime tequila? The Fort Point outpost of the Mexican mini-chain now boasts the only karaoke brunch in town. Call ahead for a reservation and let the host know you plan to sing; both your table and your place in line will be waiting for you when you arrive. Even better: If you get up on stage, you get a free brunch entree (the short rib burrito gets our vote).