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 with a karaoke bar for everyone—whether you're the type who likes to belt out show tunes in one of the city's cramped, sweaty beer bars or croon the best ’80s songs in a private room full of your 15 closest friends. 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 the best karaoke bars in NYC.
RECOMMENDED: More of the best bars in NYC
Find a karaoke bar in NYC
After Chinatown's favorite karaoke bar closed four years ago, our hearts were broken. Now, Winnie's is back and better than ever.
To get the most out of this divey favorite, wear white: You’ll glow against the blacklight and the zebra couches. The neon bar and friendly bartenders will pour you a cocktail for as little as $8, and it’s great for those with stage fright: Wireless mics let you sing from wherever you’re sitting.
After grabbing dinner at Kiki's or Scarr's Pizza hit up Up Stairs to top off the night. This dive is located up a narrow set of stairs (big shock) above a bus pickup point in Chinatown. Most people would agree that this no-frills place is the best option for those on a budget, since you don’t have to pay for a private room. We encourage you to sing in front of the usually supportive crowd and just let loose while sipping brews on tap (i.e. Yuengling).
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.
A blue neon sign points karaoke-lovers to this basement lounge, where groups of young revelers take to the stage to shamelessly belt out Mandarin pop songs along with sing-along standards from Tina Turner and Billy Idol. Hesitant newcomers can loosen up with a specialty cocktail procured from the upstairs bar. Harness liquid courage via a Zen martini—Absolut Citron infused with green tea.
This spacious restaurant-karaoke combo is perfect for those who feel like singing after getting their buzz on, and don’t want to head to K-Town for dinner. Wash down the bibimbap, pork belly and short ribs with a Tiger’s Whisker (tequila, agave, green salt, pineapple and citrus). While you’re waiting for a room, check to see if they have your go-to song by downloading the KJ Touch R app which lists tracks by name...then get psyched to belt out your favorites.
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. There's a second location in Greenpoint, as well.
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.
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.
With its white leather banquettes and futuristic looking blue, purple and green neon decor, K-One is perfect for anyone who wants to feel like they’ve been transported to China for a night of singing. It’s also great if you only kinda know the lyrics to the song you’ve chosen: The artist’s voice comes in at a low volume halfway through, so you’ll feel like you’re doing a cool duet. The downside: It’s cash only, so come prepared with a stack of bills. The upside: If you buy 12 beers, you get a dozen free--great if your group of friends is thirsty.
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.
A karaoke bar off Bushwick's lively Montrose L train stop.
This thai spot in Flushing serves up amazing tom yum soup and acapella opportunities in equal measure.