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Pick Your Stage

The ideal karaoke spots for every whim.

  • For B-ing Your O.B.

  • Gagopa

    28 W. 32nd St., nr. Fifth Ave., third fl.; 212-967-5353

    The biggest non-humilation-related hazard of karaoke is the drink bill. Here, the friendly staff will make sure you get the full Koreatown experience—OED-size songbooks filled with unfamiliar Asian pop titles, beyond-bizarre video art accompanying “Ignition (Remix)”—but thanks to their BYOB policy, you’ll leave with money in your wallet and a stumble in your step.

  • For Surreal Pre-or-Post-Karaoke Moshing

  • Fuzz at Swat Bar

    59 Canal St., nr. Orchard St.; 646-559-0098

    On the last Thursday of every month, this full-time karaoke bar features up-and-comer rock acts like Mr. Dream and Fort Lean. The bands set up in the corner and thrash away—the light show is a projector flashing Asian pop lyrics on their bodies—while tattooed twentysomethings hurl against one another and middle-aged-to-old Asian men and women stare from the bar.

  • For Singing Badly

  • Sing Sing Karaoke

    9 St. Marks Pl., nr. Third Ave., second fl.; 212-387-7800

    Some main stages are actually capable of inspiring performance anxiety, but not Sing Sing’s, where it’s really more about the party atmosphere than the vocal performances. Even the sloppiest crooners are communally celebrated.

  • For a Party Thrown by Guys So Good at Throwing Karaoke Parties They Do It Every Day

  • The Kings of Karaoke

    Various locations: Check

    The almost comically professional Kings of Karaoke organization—they’ve been at this for ten years—host karaoke nights seven days a week at several spots in both Brooklyn and the West Village. Prepare for a raucous time featuring a dedicated group of regulars and emcees who actually know how to pace a show and work a bar crowd.

  • For Use As Your Personal Arena

  • BINY

    8 Thompson St., nr. Canal St., second fl.; 212-334-5490

    Tired of cramped rental rooms, but not looking to pay the price for the larger 30-person variety that most venues offer? Hit up this upstairs Soho joint during the early part of the week. BINY is hopping on weekends, but on Monday and Tuesday you’ll probably get its well-appointed main room (and its eleven-foot screen) all to yourself.

  • For Feeling Like You’ve Hit the Big Time

  • Pulse

    135 W. 41st St., nr. Broadway; 212-278-0090

    Its tucked-away entrance might make Pulse come off as a hole in the wall, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. With huge, glossy LCD screens, a full stage, and neon lights everywhere, it provides the best possible approximation of actually being a star musician blowing up the club. (We assume. We’ve never blown up a club.)

From the 2012 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine