Boston's best: Karaoke bars
DJ Paul B keeps things moving at this laid-back Irish pub, where newbies and regulars get equal time in the spotlight. The song selection is vast and regularly updated with Top 40 hits. Bonus: the funny folks from ImprovBoston (located a few blocks away) are known to drop by and offer their, um, unique vocal stylings. Wed 9pm–1am. Free.
The Courtside Restaurant and Pub
This über-dive is home to Boston’s most famous karaoke regular, Mark Hoffman, a.k.a. Mark the Shark, who gets the crowd going with his intense renditions. While waiting to take the stage (and given its popularity/infamy, you will have to wait), take advantage of the cheap drinks (think $12 pitchers of beer) and waffle fries. Thu–Sat 9pm–1am. Free.
Do Re Mi
If you prefer to humiliate yourself in front of friends as opposed to drunken strangers, it’s worth schlepping to Allston and shelling out for a (relatively inexpensive) private room. Do Re Mi boasts an impressive international songbook and the nonsensical background videos add an extra element of hilarity. Mon–Thu 6pm–2am; Fri, Sat 4pm–2am; Sun 5pm–2am. Private rooms start at $30/hour.
Though a bit off the beaten path, Highland Kitchen offers a one-night respite from the dearth of karaoke options in Somerville. The song list is very current, with offerings from the likes of Florence and the Machine and MGMT. If you need liquid courage before tackling the mic, down one of legendary bartender Joe McGuirk’s signature cocktails. Wed 10pm–1am. Free.
Hong Kong at Faneuil Hall
Most Boston natives steer clear of the tourist hellhole known as Faneuil Hall, but the karaoke scene at the newly reopened Hong Kong might just make the trip worth it. Where else are you gonna watch an entire bachelorette party get wasted on scorpion bowls and belt out “Total Eclipse of the Heart” en masse? It may just be the best free show in town. Mon–Wed 9pm–2am; Thu 6pm–2am; Fri 6pm–10pm; Sat 5pm–9pm; Sun 5pm–2am. Free.
The Lansdowne Pub
For a more authentic frontman experience, jam out with the Jukebox Heroes, a live band that covers hundreds of songs. Their repertoire heavily favors rock, pop and country; jazz crooners and rappers will have more difficulty selecting a tune. Lyric sheets provided. BYO groupies. Thu 9pm–2am. Free.
Limelight Stage + Studios
American Idol wannabes will feel right at home on Limelight’s stage, which is tricked out with state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment. No ratty binders here; performers program their songs via a computer touch-screen. Studios with recording capabilities are also available to rent by the hour. Thu 8pm–1am, $5; Fri, Sat 7pm–1am, $10; private studios $12/per person per hour.
The vibe is a little fratty, but don’t dismiss Sissy K’s outright. Those with vocal chops could take home some serious dough if the audience deems your performance the best of the night. Every Wednesday, one lucky winner gets $250; second place gets his/her bar tab paid. Sun–Thu 8:30pm–1:30am, Free.