Who ever thought that knowing the lyrics to 90s pop songs would pay off later in life? And that’s if you’re classy and don’t secretly know the words to all of Billy Joel’s finest. Karaoke enjoys one hell of a following in Toronto, and even if you hate singing in front of others, $10 says at least 3 of your 5 closest friends are down with it and know how to convince you after a certain amount of drinks. Anyway, suggestions…
The Office Pub | 117 John at Adelaide, Wed. 9:30pm-2am
When the Gladstone’s Melody Bar was damaged in January, the famous west end karaoke night was no more; however, Peter Styles (who hosted the event) has just started running a new night at this venue. Hopefully the magic can be rekindled.
Fox and the Fiddle | 280 Bloor Street West, 10pm-close
With karaoke pretty much every night of the week and a list of over 35,000 songs, some of the people who come here are regular devotees (like the woman who always wants her mic levels adjusted.) This is to an audience, not a booth of your friends, so, recommended if you’re confident in your singing voice.
Revival Bar | 783 College Street, 3rd Fri. every month, 10pm-close
The infamous hip hop karaoke night at revival. Described as a “prime opportunity for closet MCs to finally grab the mic and bust their favourite raps,” it’s been going strong since 2004.
— Hip-Hop Karaoke TO (@hhktoronto) April 18, 2014
Bar+ Karaoke Lounge | 360 Yonge Street, 5pm-3am
Private rooms seat up to 25 people but the real draw is the song list, with monthly updates of 50 to 70 songs, on average. Also, they’ve created a phone app to help you decide which tunes to pick before you get there. App also lets you queue the songs you’ve picked directly to your room so, wow, 10 points for modernity here.
XO Karaoke | 396 Bloor Street West
Say what you will, XO Karaoke is popular and has to get a mention. They have over 500,000 songs (from the 1970s to the present), their rates start at $20 an hour, and they serve soju, which is an absolute plus. Internet haters, stop hate’n.
Honourable Mention: Gladstone Hotel (Closed)
Crooners, rockers, and wanna be disco divas from far and wide came to the Gladstone Melody Bar hosted by the one and only Peter Styles week after week. For 15 years, the Gladstone karaoke served as one of Toronto’s favourites, voted Best Karaoke Bar by NOW Magazine for 8 years straight. Sadly, due to a burst pipe during this winter’s polar vortex, Torontonians would sing their last song March 22.