The Best Karaoke Bars In Philadelphia
photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO
There are people who casually sing in the shower, and then there are your Britney-obsessed friends—those who know the choreography and lyrics to “...Baby One More Time” by heart. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, we can all agree that sometimes there’s nothing better than singing your heart out with a few drinks. While Philly may not have an endless number of places to sip on a margarita and start a massive sing-a-long, these are the best places for karaoke in the city.
Who doesn’t love a good karaoke bar? Neon lights are flashing, liquor is flowing, and for a brief moment, you get a glimpse of what your life would be like if it were a musical. The best place to do that is at Voix Karaoke Lounge in the Northeast. With an open lounge on the first floor and 10 private rooms (for up to 35 people), they have a karaoke experience with range. They also have an impressive menu of crispy chicken wings, dim sum-like steamed chicken dumplings, and an extensive sushi menu. So whether you’re just there to sip on tequila (a bottle usually comes with your room deposit), watch someone destroy your favorite Whitney Houston ballad, or sing, they’ve got you covered.
Yakitori Boy has been a karaoke staple since it opened in 2007. And it’s not just because you scream Journey at the top of your lungs here without shame. It’s because with bottle service and sparklers, VIP sections in the main lounge, and a massive dance floor, it may be the most exciting karaoke spot in town. If you’re not into having a bunch of strangers drowning out your rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin’,” you can reserve one of their private rooms (there are five). They open at 4pm and close at 1am on the weekends, so it works for everything from a sushi-filled pregame to a late night in Chinatown. A tip from us: The host in the main lounge ends the night with a Destiny’s Child song. Do not attempt to sing the Beyoncé part.
We all have that friend who constantly messes up lyrics. When you’re fed up with hearing “Sweet dreams are made of cheese,” bring them to Sky Club & Lair KTV. The Chinatown spot has a massive screen in their main room that’s large enough for your friend to finally see the actual words, and for you to feel like you’re headlining a tour. One of the few places with YouTube and music app plugins to their song library, they have one of the largest and most current selections of songs. Thanks to the colorful, disco-like floor, it can sometimes turn into a dance party and even get a little weird (we’ve seen couples do a strip tease). But if watching Magic Mike live isn’t your thing, you can always head to one of their 16 private rooms.
Center City’s Rec & Royal is like a nightlife fun house. They have vintage arcade games in one room and a full DJ-spinning nightclub in another. They completed the party trifecta with a karaoke lounge full of disco balls and an old Cadillac on the floor (which can be an ultimate prop depending on which song you go with). If you need an audience to get you going, head there on Saturdays and Sundays when the main lounge is open. But they also have two personal rooms (for 10-15 people) when you just want to keep your boozy Ariana Grande impression for those in your inner circle. It’s a hype, club-ish scene, so it’s always crowded—plan ahead and warm up those vocals.
When you need a lowkey place where you can avoid running into your ex while belting out “All By Myself,” head to Duba Karaoke and Pub in Elkins Park. It’s a small, casual spot in the rear of a Korean cafe. That means you’ll have an intimate karaoke experience, and they have some fantastic dumplings and super crispy fried chicken. They have eight private rooms and a rotating library of Korean, Chinese, and English pop songs that they update monthly. They’re one of the most popular Happy Hour spots in the neighborhood, so we imagine some of the best karaoke nights here happen after an afternoon of discounted liquid encouragement.