Karaoke is a beloved pastime of countless nations across the globe. Though it originated in Japan, where it is still much more popular than in the West, karaoke bars filled with drunken patrons belt out their best Bowie renditions all over the U.S. — and the East Coast is no different.
Working our way up the East Coast from Florida to Massachusetts, we’ve got eight of the most notorious karaoke bars that are a guaranteed good time. After all, when have rowdy, alcohol-fueled crowds and poorly sung music not been a great combination?
1) Midway Cafe — Boston
Dubbing their karaoke night, “Queereoke,” this karaoke bar is one of Boston’s longest-running queer nights that also just happens to be a great place to showcase your singing skills (or lack of). Midway encourages anyone to attend, and features a mixture of tunes from all spectrums of the music world with an emphasis on alternative and throwbacks.
2) Arlene’s Grocery — NYC
While this place might go unnoticed by most passersby, the former bodega is easily one of the top spots for some karaoke action in NYC. Opening way back in 1995 as one of the first music clubs in the Lower East Side, the venue is also known for hosting tons of awesome live music, with two bars and a gallery for local artists to display their work.
3) Yakitori Boy — Philadelphia
Perhaps the most traditional karaoke bar on this list, Yakitori Boy is the epitome of what a karaoke spot should be, with cheap food, sake and beer to wash it all down. Sticking to the Japanese tradition of honoring a hard day’s work with a little stress relief, Yakitori features eight private rooms for singing on the second floor that are perfect for any event or simply a fun night of unwinding.
4) Wanna B’s Karaoke Club & Restaurant — Virginia Beach
Also first opening back in ‘95, Wanna B’s has gone through quite a few changes and overhauls over the last couple of decades. Despite this, the club is still a Virginia Beach icon with a dedicated group of regulars. If you still don’t think this place sounds like fun, just read their description, “Our goal is that you feel welcomed and have as much fun as possible until we turn on the ‘ugly lights’ at the end of the evening.”
5) Santa’s Pub — Nashville
Santa’s Pub has ended up on a ton of lists and been featured in quite a few publications. Though it blurs the line of a “dive bar” since it is now known to be a bit touristy, this pub is housed in a double-wide trailer and has a cash-only bar (a spot on factor for determining a classic dive). With a mix of eager hipsters looking to see what the buzz is all about and some regulars just looking to drink and kick back, this one is easily a must-see.
6) Upper Deck Tavern — Charleston
If you were casually strolling past this place, you’d probably never even know it was there. With no clear sign to point you inside, patrons have to traverse a dark alley and a stairwell that deters all but the most determined karaoke fans. Once you get inside Upper Deck however, you can see why it’s on this list. Grab a PBR and a shot and get ready for some classic Southern karaoke every Sunday night.
7) Karaoke Melody — Atlanta
Karaoke might not be the most prevalent form of late-night entertainment in Hotlanta, but at Karaoke Melody, you’ll find the frequent winner of Atlanta’s best karaoke business. With homemade Jell-O shots and other infused alcohols at a reasonable price, the night can easily turn up from 0 to 10. Be sure to reserve a spot well ahead of when you want to go, as it typically takes a week or more to reserve the single large room, otherwise just walk on in.
8) Ginger’s Place — Jacksonville Beach
Often the topic of hauntings and spiritual visitors, Ginger’s Place in Jax Beach is celebrating their 40th anniversary — and has been family owned and operated the whole time. If you’re not a local, most people would probably skip right by Ginger’s, but you’d be a fool to miss out on this diamond in the rough. Affordable drinks, the best regulars around and even a full-service package store make Ginger’s the best karaoke bar along Florida’s First Coast.