Discovering Vancouver’s Karaoke Scene

Hip Hop Karaoke Photo Credit: Mark Gutknecht

Hip Hop Karaoke Photo Credit: Mark Gutknecht

Sooner or later, everyone— even the most reserved of us— is overrun with the compulsion to go to a bar, pick up a microphone, and rattle the eardrums of a room full of strangers. I’m talking, of course, about karaoke.

I was struck by this urge not long after my September move to Vancouver. One might expect that after embarrassing myself with a rendition of Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend in Beijing, China (a story for another time), I might never take the stage again. But as I settled into my new life on Canada’s West Coast, my vocal chords once again began to hunger for a decibel range unacceptable for anywhere but a karaoke night. Tom Taylor’s inner rock star, to the chagrin of everybody in a one hundred kilometer radius, was getting antsy. And so began my exploration of Vancouver’s thriving karaoke scene.

As it turns out, this city is a hub for the karaoke fan. Whether you’re a pop star who missed the plane, a hobbyist, or an actual talent, in Vancouver, venues with karaoke nights are not hard to find.

My first foray into the city’s Karaoke scene was hosted by Falconetti’s on Commercial Drive. It was a rousing affair, marked by performances from all demographics, and marred by my own. Yes, if you’re in walking distance of the Drive, a Wednesday night jaunt to Falconetti’s is never a bad idea.

But what if you’re not so close to Commercial? What if it isn’t Wednesday? Don’t panic, my karaoke kin. Neither your location within the city nor the night of the week should affect your ability to find a place to belt it out. Allow me to map it all out for you.

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You can make your Mondays musical at Joe’s Apartment on Granville. The perks, alongside stirring renditions of your favourite tunes, are drink deals and a $100 dollar prize for each week’s best performance—so be sure to warm up with a do-re-mi. Not near Granville? Try the Cobalt’s Ear Muffs Karaoke on Main.

If you’re looking for a Tuesday trill, try Pat’s Pub and Brewhouse on East Hastings. At Pat’s there’s no cover charge to cover your favourite song. Better yet? Post-performance, you can soothe your tired vocal chords with a Burger and 20oz. pint for only 10 bucks.

What about Wednesdays? Well, we know their Falconetti’s. There’s also Toby’s, just down the street at Commercial and 12th Ave. If you’re not near the Drive, try Shenanigans on Robson Street. Their night of karaoke kicks off at 8:30, and runs through till 12:30am.  You can also try Darby’s on West Fourth.

On Thursdays, satisfy your karaoke craving with All Stars Karaoke at Chandelier Lounge on Marine Drive. Not your neck of the woods? Try Malone’s on West Pender. They boast a sprawling selection of 500,000 songs— so “they probably don’t have it”, isn’t an excuse. Thursday is also karaoke night at the proud, West Hastings dive-bar, Funky Winklebeans. But so are Sundays. And Mondays. And Tuesdays too. Oh, and Wednesdays as well. Yes, Sunday to Thursday, you can get funky at Funky’s.

Weekends are a slower for karaoke. That said, in Vancouver you’re never without options (you can rest your vocal chords while you sleep). Spend your Friday nights singin’ at Pressbox on East Hastings. Come Saturday, sing your heart out at The Locker Room at 395 Kingsway, or head to the Legion on Main Street for More Than Just Your Grandparents Karaoke Club. On Sundays, try Charqui Grill in Kitsilano, or the Princeton on Powell Street.

There’s no fighting it. No matter the night, Vancouverites, you can find a place to rock the mic. That sentence rhymed way more than I wanted it to, but you get the picture. Monday to Sunday, should you be overcome by the urge to sing your heart out, this fine city will provide you with at least one venue to do so, more often than not, accompanied by great food and drink deals. So toss back some water (or a pint of delicious craft beer), warm up those vocal chords, and go have some fun. But bring your earplugs, because you never know when you might end up at the same bar as me.

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