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).