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Fun Things To Do In New York City: Best Karaoke Singing

Updated on May 24, 2012

Great Karaoke In Manhattan

One of the best ways to enjoy a night out with friends is to do some karaoke. It's fun, it's inexpensive and it's something that anyone can do, regardless of his singing abilities. In New York City, there are now more karaoke bars and lounges than ever before, many which offer private rooms that come with individual karaoke machines. This way, you and your friends can have all of the fun with much less of the humiliation!

There are plenty of places to find fun karaoke in NYC and a typical evening at one of these karaoke lounges runs about $25. Most offer deals where the price comes with dinner and a guarantee of a certain number of people. Many ask that you rent the room for certain blocks of time (usually about 3 hours), but some do have hourly rates. But no matter where you go, karaoke is a great way to forget your troubles and tap into your inner rock star. Here are some of the top karaoke lounges in New York.

Top Karaoke Places

The following are all karaoke places worth visiting during your next NYC visit.

1. BINY (8 Thompson Street): BINY (which stands for Best In New York) offers both the bar and private lounge karaoke experience. You can dine in the main restaurant, which serves Japanese food, and sing in front of the other patrons, or you can rent one of their lounges for three hour blocks of time. They claim that their largest lounge can fit 25 people, but truthfully, it can only comfortably accommodate about 15. Still, the modern lounges have tables and chairs, and a nice big screen on which you can read the lyrics. BINY's drinks are expensive -- about $14 for a pina colada! -- but aside from that, their prices are reasonable. They generally charge about $20 per person (though the price depends on how many people are in your group) and serve a five-course Japanese meal, which includes miso soup, sushi, a main course, salad and dessert. They recently updated their systems so no more song books; everything is computerized. Also, they offer tunes in many languages.

2. 2nd On 2nd (27 2nd Avenue): This downtown establishment has a similar set-up to BINY. There's a main bar where you can get drinks or sing with a large group, or you can rent a private room for a few hours. They also have a dinner deal and serve Japanese and Thai cuisine. I found their rooms to be slightly larger and more comfortable than BINY's. They also have an option where you can call ahead of time and ask them to include a song if you don't see it on their song list (which they list online). The one drawback is that they can be difficult to reach by phone because they're so busy.

3. Karaoke Duet 35 or Duet 48 (53 W. 35th St. or 304 E. 48th St.): These lounges, owned by the same people, are about as modern a karaoke joint as you can get. Their Web site is great because it's easy to access the song list and find the tunes you want in advance. As for the establishments themselves, they're pretty bare-bonesl you simply enter a main lobby, check in at your time and you're led down a long hall to your private lounge. The rooms are pretty small, but the system works well and is easy to operate, and they have a great song list. They don't serve dinner, but you can order drinks and Japanese-style snacks at the bar. You can also rent the room by the hour. We were having so much fun singing, we asked to stay an extra hour, and it was no problem. The service is also fantastic and they're open until 6 a.m., so can karaoke all night long, if you so desire.

4. Heavenly Bamboo Pavilion (10 E. 39th Street): This place is not nearly as modern as the others listed on this page. HBP is a Chinese restaurant that has a little karaoke system in its upstairs party room. It's semii-private, meaning that if you come with a large group of people, the room is yours; but if you come with say, five or six people, you may have to share. Also, the room is open, so everyone in the restaurant can hear you warbling. When you rent the space, it comes with your own personal Chinese buffet dinner, which is quite delicious. The microphones sometimes don't work and the song list is rather short. Which begs the question, I'm sure: why are you recommending this place? It's fun. There's something quaint about the little lounge and the primative system, which "scores" your singing (hint: the more people who join in, the higher the marks). It may not be the best set-up in Manhattan, but the service is terrific and every time I've been there, I've had a lot of laughs.

5. Planet Rose Karaoke (219 Avenue A): This bar has a funky vibe with leopard-print couches and mobile microphones, which allow you to dance as you sing. Even your servers will join in the fun! The party atmosphere makes this a fun place to go with a big group.

6. Sing Sing Karaoke (81 Avenue A or 8 St. Marks Place): Their Web site prouldy boasts that they were rated best karaoke bar by Citysearch in 2008. These two bars, run by the same people, are open until 5 a.m. on the weekends. You get your own private lounge here and the prices are pretty low -- less than $10 per person, per hour.

Karaoke Machines And More

Tips On Having An Awesome Karaoke Party

1. Go with outgoing people who are actually willing to sing. It can really put a damper on the evening if you have people there who clearly aren't enjoying themselves.

2. Pick a variety of songs from different eras. Singing current tunes is great, but mix them up with some '50s, '80s, disco... you get the idea. You want the evening to be lively and not get boring because the songs all sound the same.

3. Pick songs that people know. You might love an obscure tune that they just happen to have, but karaoke is more fun when everyone joins in. So stick with favorite songs. The Beatles, Billy Joel, Abba, Frank Sinatra and Elvis are usually safe bets.

4. Let everyone have a say in what they like. One person may love disco, while another adores rock. Make sure everyone gets a chance to pick songs so no one feels left out.

5. Study the playlist ahead of time. Most lounges these days include a copy of the playlist on their Web site. Go through it and mark down which songs you like ahead of time. This way, you won't waste too much time choosing at the bar. Those three hours go by quickly!

6. Check your shame at the door. So you can't sing? So what. Chances are, most of your friends can't, either. It's all about the spirit of the thing. So don't worry about what others think of your voice. Just chill out and belt out the Elton John tune!

Embarrassing Karaoke Songs

What song wouldn't you be caught dead singing?

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    • profile image

      Salsa Dancing 8 years ago

      Thanks for the tip, I live in London and a lot of comparisons can be made between our two great cities. I've been to karaoke twice in London and had some of the greatest times of my life. I have to echo what you say about going with outgoing people, or making sure you have enough outgoing people in your group to encourage the others. Failing that, maybe pile on the tequila shots for some dutch courage??

    • Febfifth profile image

      Febfifth 8 years ago from LAS VEGAS

      I love Karaoke and can say it is really how I got my start as a professional singer! Thanks for a great Hub!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I like singing. I have karaoke set in my home. I think this is nice place to visit. with family or relative to relax.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      I've sang all the others (won't sing Macerena) on the FOBs of Iraq, Great Hub Thanks!!