At the right place, at the right time, karaoke can be a totally forgivable, enjoyable and hilarious night out. To do this properly you’re probably gonna have to add booze and the appropriate amount of dancing to make those power ballads properly belt out, and a wig and blow up guitar never went amiss. So we exhausted our vocals all over town to find the best singing spots, this is how it’s done…
This Battersea institution is famed for its karaoke stage that faces both the bar and the pizzeria so your performance will not be missed by anyone. Lucky them. When 10pm hits, the song list is sent around and the first – and bravest – contestants get going. Not feeling too confident at the off? Hit their £6 cocktail list with special cocktails only available on karaoke nights with drinks such as Son of a Pizzaman. Puntastic.
3 Battersea Bridge Road, London SW11 3BA
You’re nothing in karaoke circles if you can’t rap on the mic like motherf*ckin’ Jay Z so don’t even hit The Social if all you want is some Mariah vibes. Get your blue flag hanging out your backside – but only on the left side, yeah that’s the Crip side – and go get so cray like Kanye. Music and lyrics provided, BYOB (bring your own bling).
5 Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JD
The mother of all karaoke bars, this baby is spread around all of London which is perfect for when you find yourself in those karaoke emergencies. Each venue is made up of different rooms, all in different sizes depending of the number of people you’ve dragged along to listen to your warbles. For all you keen karaoke heads, you can prepare a playlist before you even rock up – perfect for those of you who like to have rehearsed a full on dance routine post-performance. Hit the thirst button, get in the wine, beers, spirits – we say sake – and get stuck in.
If you struggle to get into full Aguilera-mode when you’re on stage then The Old Queens Head’s fancy dress box will be a total game changer. Pick your outfit, hit the booze button, order up and then wreck the mic. We say get there on a Sunday when the private room is totally free but if you’re feeling mid-week then it’s just £20p/h or £40p/h on the weekend. That’s some bargain to hear your crooning.
44 Essex Road, London N1 8LN
This karaoke sesh will totally take you back to the good ol’ days of being a child and singing your actual lungs out crossed with that adult goodness of getting hammered at the same time. The clock is always set at 3:10pm – schools over, b*tches – which means this is not the place for those super long ballads; it’ll seem like time has literally not moved.
111 Long Lane, London SE1 4PH
Mahiki might not be everyone’s flex what with all the rich kids dropping it like it’s hot on over-priced treasure chests of booze, but check in downstairs to the No-Tell Motel Room which has a sofa, a bed, a mini kitchen and a bathroom. F*ck it, move in. Up to 25 guests can get in here so grab a microphone and get yourself singing in the shower. Heads up – the taps in the bathroom are the volume control and you can get yourself a personal waiter. Well played, Mahiki.
1 Dover Street, London W1S 4LD
Looking for some good ol’ seedy Soho vibes to go with your warbling? Korkers is so for you. With their retro atmos hidden under the busy streets, these private rooms are ideal for groups with some special moves. They’ve got somewhere for you to plug your own music into because who hasn’t got their own secret backing track album, obv.
34 D’Arblay Street, London W1F 8EU
Dos and Don’ts
Do sing, even if you’re sh*t
Don’t sit in the corner being boring
Do get involved in group songs. No band is too big, remember So Solid Crew? That could be you.
Don’t be that person who hogs the mic because everyone’s already over you
Do embrace the fancy dress. Songs sound better when you’re wearing an afro.
Don’t stand still. Nobody wants to see a performance without some moves so shake that ass.
Madonna – Like a Virgin. Extra points for rolling around on the stage.
Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive. Because obviously.
Karaoke to Avoid
Meatloaf – I'd Do Anything for Love. This bad boy is 12 minutes long. No.
Michael Jackson – Earth Song. At seven minutes long, nobody cares unless there’s a wind machine and actual trees.
The Proclaimers – I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles). Unless you’re walking 500 miles away from us, we don’t wanna know.