Looking for something to do? We’ve got you!
December 8, 2022
We’re right in the teeth of The Big Dark, and one of the best ways to combat Seattle’s profound darkness is with the indulgent silliness of karaoke. But where to sing now? The karaoke scene has shifted a lot since lockdown, and several places have stopped hosting. Meanwhile, the tried-and-true spots that appear first on Google tend to get completely mobbed.
So, what if you’re looking for karaoke on a specific night? Somewhere that has a wide song selection, great sound, and a fun crowd that won’t judge your singing skill level—but doesn’t have a 90min+ wait between songs or a private room rental fee? Here’s where to go!
3401 Evanston Ave Nc
Karaoke: Mon 8 pm – 12 am
With its aesthetic of spacey, quasi-discotheque lighting and maximalist decor, Dreamland is the vibiest place in Seattle to karaoke. KJ TV will be your host, and their songbook ggnzla KARAOKE is top-tier, with homemade tracks adding to a massive collection of standard tracks. Wanna break out some Doja Cat? Some Slayer? Misfits? Selena? It’s all there. The selection: it’s wide.
Karaoke here goes down in a corner spot framed by curtains (see: maximalist decor!), pulled open so the space feels defined but not separated from the bar. You can sit at the long and cushy benches and hang with your fellow singers like you’ve got a karaoke room with some new friends. Or you can grab a table in the outer bar area and still not miss a beat.
It all adds to ethereal lights, abundant disco ball sheen, great song options, cool mic effects, and even a fog machine. Hey, it’s right there in the name: it’s a karaoke dreamland!
If you wanna sing a lot, get there right when karaoke starts. That’s evergreen advice for any karaoke night, but the rotation here is especially wide open during the first hour.
5305 Roosevelt Way NE
Karaoke: Tues 10 pm – close, also on Fri & Sun
A deep, dark, true dive bar, Monkey Pub has been at it since 1993 and has the lived-in atmosphere to match. It’s got a tough exterior with a heart of gold, y’know? KJ Xuan23 runs karaoke tonight, and not only is the songbook gigantic, but Xuan adds new tracks to it every month. Recent additions include Mitski, Iron Maiden, Kendrick Lamar, Pavement, Wet Leg, Nina Simone, et al—there’s all kinds of variety.
There’s no stage, but The Monkey does host live music too, so the sound is brash in a satisfying way. It’s a whole basement show feeling, and that’s part of the fun of karaoke here: the crowd is young and convivial, and there’s lots of quirky decor. Ha, look at that white neon sign that just reads “Seattle” in plain all-caps. Or the mini Paramount Theater sign replica on the ceiling. You’ll definitely notice the profane non-sequitur accompanying the Nikola Tesla image on the karaoke rotation screen—What? (Oh, and there’s a wait time estimate on screen, too. A nice touch! Why don’t more places do that?)
So, top-notch karaoke in a shambling setting that practically demands that you come as you are? Perfect for a Tuesday.
309 NE 45th St
Karaoke: Wed 8 pm – close
Kate’s Pub might be the most cottage-core karaoke experience possible: the classic Tudor-influenced Irish pub aesthetic, the ultra-comfy chairs, the homey and hearty food, the hospitably long happy hour. And a karaoke host who even goes by KJ Kuddles.
Yeah, everything at Kate’s adds up to maximum coziness. That also means that the karaoke vibe is more understated, but it feels exactly right. That’s to say: the stage is small and tucked in the front corner, but KJ Kuddles has the sound system dialed in and sounding fantastic. Homemade karaoke tracks aren’t the game here, but the song selection is still enormous and full of what you’re looking for. There isn’t space for a dance floor, but that just frees you up to sing moody torch songs if you want.
It’s all so good, a karaoke cocoon in the middle of your week.
You wanna be there for that. It begins at 4, runs til karaoke starts at 8, and offers lots of cheap and good bar food.
And: After happy hour, any whiskey is half-price the rest of the night. COZY.
9646 17th Ave SW
Karaoke: Thurs 9 pm – 1:30 am, also on Tues & Wed
It’s time to up the indulgent silliness factor. How about a karaoke bar connected to a roller rink? So, this is a choose-your-own-adventure: Wanna skate, too? Then enter the roller rink from the parking lot off of 17th Ave. Once you’re set up with skates, you can roll over to the bar from a passage at the end of the rink. Don’t wanna skate at all? Then head to the entrance on the other side of the building on 16th Ave—that’s the direct entrance to the bar from the outside.
Now that footwear is squared away, let’s get to the karaoke, run by KJ Ivan of Baby Ketten Karaoke. IYKYK, but if you don’t, you need to: KJ Ivan’s song selection is second to none, full stop. Baby Ketten makes their own tracks, and adds to the supermassive selection every single week. This is the time and the place to sing the song you heard in that documentary about the underground art-pop band from the ’70s, y’know?
The best part though is that KJ Ivan sets an easygoing tone that keeps things from veering into the competitively esoteric. You don’t have to choose something obscure; it’s just that you can if you want to. Anything goes!
Oh, and yes, it’s true that you can skate while you sing!
1452 NW 70th St
Karaoke: Fri 9 pm – close, also on Sat
Ok, it’s the weekend, the primetime for karaoke. So you just have to accept that everywhere will be jam-packed with ultra long rotations, right? Not if you go to Tarasco. Walk in here on a Friday night and find it with plenty of available seats and a short rotation all night long.
This is a classic Seattle karaoke spot, though! There’s a stage with fun lighting, a dance floor, big sound system, everything you could want. Drinks are cheap and there’s snacky Mexican food to pair with ’em, and the bartenders are friendly. It’s wild that Tarasco isn’t incredibly busy these days, what gives?
Turns out longtime host Karaoke Kurt retired from the industry during the lockdown, and he was the one promoting karaoke—Tarasco by itself doesn’t have much social media presence. A nearly 20-year legacy is a tough act to follow, but new Friday night host KJ Tim is filling Kurt’s shoes ably. The song selection is still big, Tim’s got the sound mixed just right, and the vibe is just so welcoming.
Is it corny to call a place a “best-kept secret?” Probably, but Tarasco is right here, ready to be rediscovered.
If you don’t mind longer waits between your songs, and an occasionally competitive vibe here and there, you could stay on the Hill all week:
2300 California Ave SW
Karaoke: Sat 8 pm – close, also Thurs, Fri, Sun, Mon
It’s rare to find a great karaoke spot where you can sing more than two songs on a Saturday, but Yen Wor Village is it. It’s another Seattle karaoke institution that people have been sleeping on lately, with the West Seattle Bridge closure adding transportation insult to pandemic injury. But the bridge is open! It’s time to come back to this gem.
Karaoke here hits just right: an expansive songbook, great sound system, big stage, spacious dance floor, colorful lighting, all in an old-school Chinese restaurant that has now aged past outdated and into vintage charm. It’s just the very essence of karaoke, and presiding over it tonight is KJ Loretta.
Things don’t start to pick up here til after 10, so if you arrive around 8, you’ll generally have two hours to sing a lot, enjoy overhearing neighbors bantering with the bartender while boxing up their pork fried rice, and be treated to Loretta’s whimsical asides on the mic between singers. (e.g. “Y’all ready for the holidays? I got my Christmas hat on now, ’cause I didn’t feel like doin’ my wig tonight!”)
It’s a whole vibe here, destination-worthy but with intimate neighborhood warmth. Have your cake and eat it too!
206 N 36th St
Karaoke: Sun 10 pm – close
Sunday night is about easing out of the weekend, and The George & Dragon is just the place for that. New ownership has toned down the George’s old fratmosphere, so you can roll in when karaoke starts at 10 and cozy up. Bartender might be wearing a Winnie the Pooh t-shirt reading “No Bothers Given,” that’s the gently carefree territory we’re in here.
Karaoke takes place in a raised seating area, so it’s sort of a stage but not exactly. Doesn’t matter—host Marteen the Karaoke Machine(!) has the sound here fine-tuned so well it’s incredibly fun to sing through. You can use your phone to sign up via Karafun, but Marteen’s selection isn’t limited to theirs. If you write the song you want on a slip and hand it to him, he’s probably got it. He might even kindly ask if you mind if he harmonizes with you during your song. (You should say yes, it’s gonna sound sweet and incredible.)
The kitchen here is usually open til 11, and part of the fun is pairing karaoke with some British pub food. A full English breakfast, then a song by Japanese Breakfast, perhaps? Eat bangers, sing bangers, I say.
Mark is a lifelong Seattleite (ok, Bothell and Seattle) and writes about PNW culture and travel. He doesn’t believe that the Freeze is specific to Seattle or that Seattleites “bring the rain” with them to other cities.