20 August 2014

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Party Trend - Karaoke


Belt it Out
Karaoke is back – and this time it’s cool. The Japanese singalong machine has moved out of the pub corner and into sleek private rooms, attracting corporates and celebrities alike. Not tried it recently? It’s about time...

IMG_0998.jpgQuestion: what do Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Matthew Williamson, Will Young, Charlotte Church and Christian Slater have in common? Answer: they’ve all been spotted in one of London’s new breed of karaoke clubs. Even A-list stars are belting it out at these places because all the singing takes place in private.

The current celebrity favourite is Lucky Voice in Soho, a sleek Tokyo-style bar, where nine swish rooms, done out in sexy white leather, hold between four and 12 people for clandestine singing sessions. Its touchscreen playlists are easy to use and backed by an impressive library of tunes new and old, listed both digitally (with an on-screen search facility) and in folders for flicking through during songs. A nice added extra is that the rooms include a dressing-up box of wigs, tambourines, maracas and such like. The Japanese-leaning cocktails are great, too – try the Ginseng Margarita.
Largest of the lot is Leicester Square newcomer K-Box. Spread across four floors, it has a choice of 14 private rooms of varying sizes, accommodating between eight and 40 guests each.

Not quite as glitzy as those on offer at Lucky Voice, the rooms here are still nicely appointed and are equipped with a direct-dial phone so you can order top-quality Chinese food and drinks without leaving the privacy of your suite.
The one bugbear is that the state-of-the-art touch-screen karaoke system can be a bit tricky to use and many of the 5,000 songs available are in foreign languages.

Cousin Jill’s Karaoke Lounge in Mayfair has been established for more than 16 years but its offerings are bang up to date. Private parties can be staged in one of three generously proportioned rooms that have space for 12, 30 or 40 guests, and the catering is excellent. An Asian-leaning menu offers anything from Japanese sushi to Korean barbecued beef, while the karaoke machines hold 50,000 songs – although, like at K-Box, many of them aren’t in English.

VENUE MENU - Where to Karaoke

Cousin Jill’s Karaoke Lounge Basement, 42 Albemarle Street, W1, tel: 020 7499 9969, squaremeal.co.uk/cousinjills
K-Box Cranbourn Mansions, 7-9 Cranbourn Street, WC2, tel: 020 7287 8868, squaremeal.co.uk/kbox
Karaoke Box Dai Chan 18 Frith Street, W1, tel: 020 7494 3878
Lucky Voice Private Karaoke 52 Poland Street, W1, tel: 020 7439 3660
Murphis Karaoke Bar 102-108 Clerkenwell Road, EC1, tel: 020 7251 3783

Blue Lily 180 Lavender Hill, SW11, tel: 020 7350 0721
China Boulevard 1 The Boulevard, Smuggler’s Way, SW18, tel: 020 8874 9878, squaremeal.co.uk/china-b
Gallery Rendezvous 53-55 Beak Street W1, tel: 020 7734 0445
Hey Jo Club 91 Jermyn Street SW1, tel: 020 7930 3222
Imperial China White Bear Yard, 25a Lisle Street, WC2, tel: 020 7734 3388, squaremeal.co.uk/imperialchina

This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Spring 2007.

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