On an unassuming Chinatown side street lies Bow Bow Lounge, the narrow, red-hued lair of proprietress Mama Candy. Here, enthusiastic karaokers can perform into the night, bolstered by one (or several) of the potent beverages served behind the bar.
2 DJ Purple Dance at Slate Bar
DJ Purple Dance is more than a screen and a microphone— it’s a full-on performance, accompanied by live sax solos from the man himself. DJ Purple’s skills in the booth keep the energy up and the dance floor hot and heavy, all night long. He can be found Thursday nights at Slate Bar, from 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.
3 Encore Karaoke Lounge
A pleasantly dive-y bar, where regulars come to perform their hits every night of the week. For those less inclined to belt out a tune on the small stage, there’s also a pool table and plenty of tables for observation.
A decently fancy selection of wines combined with a rather small karaoke space is what sets Festa apart from other lounges. The lychee martinis come highly recommended at this tiny Japantown lounge, where singers can live out Broadway fantasies in front of their signature city lights backdrop.
5 Mint Karaoke Lounge
Though there are no private rooms at The Mint, there are plenty of cheap drinks to take the edge off of a public performance. Plenty of neon lights, spectacular carpet adorned with an 80’s neon geometric pattern and and a good selection of songs keep regulars returning to belt it out, again and again.
6 Pandora Karaoke & Bar
This Tenderloin karaoke oasis offers a public lounge for the exhibitionists, plus private rooms for a more intimate experience. The private rooms, all of which are named for different brands of booze, are little islands of inexplicably-themed entertainment. Choose from the Jameson room or the Patron room, depending on how much you want to end up in a fight later.
Playground boasts private rooms, plus the bonus of Korean BBQ (people rave about the cheesey corn). Plenty of soju and Hite will get the party started, whether your chosen songs are in English, Korean or Japanese.
At first glance, this is a typical Japanese restaurant. However, take the elevator the subterranean karaoke lounge and you’ll find a number of disco ball-equipped private rooms, complete with phone ordering systems. Order down some sake bombs and sushi and rock out to an extensive song list.