So you’ve finally decided to show off your singing skills outside the forgiving acoustics of your bathroom. Where better to make your debut than New York City, where the karaoke scene is well equipped for both beginner crooners and Beyoncé wannabes. So before replacing that showerhead with an actual microphone, take a look at our favorite sing-along spots across the boroughs.
This boutique karaoke bar—the first and only one in NYC—is surely one of the tiniest (and best) karaoke spots you’ve never heard of until now. If you’re looking for bachelorette party ideas or locales for an epic birthday bash, this is not the place. Instead, this is where you’ll make unexpected new friends and sing to a supportive crowd that just wants to have a good time. The small stage, charming decor, and lack of private rooms add to the laid-back environment and welcoming vibes you’ll feel the moment you walk in. Do yourself a favor and save your visit for a weekday—the crowd will be less overwhelming, freeing you and your small group up for a much more relaxing and fun experience. 161 Lafayette Street (at Grand Street), Little Italy; 55 McGuinness Boulevard, Greenpoint
I call dibs on the Recording Studio room! No matter what the occasion, this midtown bar and lounge can pretty much accommodate anything your imagination comes up with. With 11 themed rooms (designed to fit parties as small as six people and as large as 35) and “the most extensive digital library on the planet,” Japas 38 continues to stand out as one of the top karaoke spots in the city. Surround yourself with an abundance of vinyl in the R&B room; flex those vocal and dance muscles while raving in the EDM space; or honor Lady Gaga’s first Oscar nomination with a “Shallow” tribute inside the Hollywood booth. And if you only feel comfortable belting in the bathtub, check out the Singing in the Shower room. 9 East 38th Street (between Fifth and Madison Avenues), Midtown East
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If you’re looking for a good deal, you can’t beat Beats. Sunday through Thursday, you can choose from any of the room specials, which include a round of shots, extra karaoke time, or a free bottle of bubbly. Take advantage of the BYOB package and bring in the alcohol and food of your choice—but if you’re smart, you’ll also consider the bar’s sake and soju selection before it’s your turn to serenade the Brooklyn crowd. Also unbeatable: the song list, which is offered in 16 languages, from Japanese and Vietnamese to Hindi and Ethiopian. 219 Grand Street, Williamsburg
Two words: Free. Pizza. Three and a half more words: Beer ’n’ shot specials. Nothing will help you muster up the courage to hit the stage better than a cheese slice and liquid courage in the form of High Life and Jameson. This karaoke spot is not for the bashful—the front and back lounges are open to anyone, so you’ll have an audience whether you like it or not. Feeling a little shy? Let your friends risk the vaudeville hook while you play bingo, show off your trivia smarts, or break the Skee-Ball record. 600 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg
K-town’s Turntable is one of the more unique karaoke spots in Manhattan (not to be confused with its two other sister restaurants, one on Fifth Avenue and the other on 33rd Street). Private rooms give off retro and futuristic vibes simultaneously, with see-through furniture, funky artwork, and white-wood walls lined with shelves of records and musical memorabilia. But in the Beatles-themed booth, you’ll think you’ve just stepped into a recording studio, complete with plushy couches and photos of the legendary band splashed across the room. While waiting for your jam session to begin, be sure to order the Korean fried chicken, perfectly crisp and seasoned with soy garlic. 34-36 West 32nd Street (between Broadway and Fifth Avenue), Midtown
If the fact that this bar and Lower East Side rock institution is located inside a former bodega doesn’t already immediately grasp your attention, how does a live karaoke band sound? The two caveats: The band only performs rock-and-roll, and it is only there on Monday night. If you’re hoping to serenade that special someone with an Ed Sheeran ballad, you won’t have much luck. But anyone looking to shake off the workday with a bit of Black Sabbath or Queen, prepare to melt some faces. 95 Stanton Street (between Orchard and Ludlow Streets), Lower East Side
Sing in the lap of luxury inside this trendy spot in the heart of Koreatown. Maru is the club version of karaoke nights: bottle service, top-shelf liquor, and neon pink lighting your way around the elegant lounge. The impressive menu options range from kimchi paella and seafood udon to hearty burgers and steak-and-eggs, but your night of indulgence wouldn’t be complete without trying one of the craft ’tinis. Put away “Don’t Stop Believing” and find the Christina Aguilera bop you’ve been practicing—tonight, you’re here to impress. 11 West 32nd Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), Midtown