Field Guide: Bringing Down the House

Looking for a different karaoke experience? Head to one of these six spots on your next night out.

Get in touch with your inner rock star by singing with the Johnnys.

Photo: Tracy Chan

Maximum Rock ’n’ Roll

Led Zeppelin aficionados and Eagles tribute band members, 9th Avenue Rock House is your kind of karaoke bar. This small, open-atmosphere joint specializes in songs of the rock ’n’ roll type, and lots of it. On a recent visit, we witnessed leather-clad, mullet-wigged birthday partiers take to the mic and relive the rockin’ ’80s. You can also get the crowd going by requesting “Sex Farm” from Spinal Tap or the amiable “C is for Cookie.” Rest your pipes and take advantage of the happy- hour specials and an order of French fries or kalua-pork fried rice. 3435 Waialae Ave., 738-5524.


Photo: thinkstock

Live Action

You’ve always wanted to be in a band. The groupies. The guitar solos. The glory. The Mercury Bar can help you live your dream, even if only for a couple of songs. Every second Friday of the month, the Johnnys, a live karaoke band, takes the stage, sans lead singer. That’s where you come in. “Our job is to give them confidence, to have fun,” says bar owner and backup singer Andrew Bugreyev. Bugreyev and guitarist Chris Volk came up with the concept. “It started with our anniversary parties and we wanted to make it regular.” There’s no cover charge and each song is $3. The Johnnys have regular performers, including artists from other local bands, and take requests. “We play a lot of Neil Diamond, Rolling Stones, Beatles and Sublime,” says Bugreyev. Don’t miss their (and your) next performance on Nov. 11. 1154 Fort Street Mall, 537-3080, search for The Johnny’s page on Facebook.


photo: thinkstock

Party of the Year

Planning the most epic karaoke session ever? Krazy Karaoke on Young Street is the spot. The super room holds up to 60 people. All you need to supply are the food and drinks. If you’re going to spend more than four hours singing—and you are—the room rate drops from $160 per hour to $125. Other specials include Tuesday military nights ($5 off every hour), Wednesday student nights (first hour is free) and one hour free if it’s your birthday. This place is also known for its song selection. Krazy Karaoke adds new songs every month, so if you’re looking to sing the latest from Katy Perry or Lil Wayne, chances are Krazy has it. 1308 Young St., 591-8843.

Photo: thinkstock



Did You Know?

At Karaoke Hut, manager Joe Morgan sees a lot of song requests, written on pieces of paper, old-school style. The most requested songs: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Journey’s “Faithfully,” Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” “I Will Survive,” “Like a Virgin,” Grease’s “Summer Nights,” and “Sweet Caroline.” What’s Morgan’s favorite karaoke tune? “I don’t have one,” he says. “I don’t sing.” For those who do, though, Morgan says the Hut is scrapping the paper system and going remote. 909 Kapahulu Ave., 737-0599,


Have an ultimate karaoke session at Krazy Karaoke.

Photo: michael keany

Pau Hana Power

At Wang Chung’s, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re the one holding the mic or not. “Everybody tends to sing along together,” says owner Dan Chang with a laugh. With friendly bartenders and outgoing patrons, you’re bound to make friends belting out “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga or Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” Even better, songs are free from 2 to 8 p.m. daily. Chang says hard-core regulars use that time to practice their singing. Past 8 p.m., songs are just $1. You can even create a play list on your phone beforehand by looking at the bar’s song list online. Be sure to order a lychee martini or two in between songs. 2410 Koa Ave., 921-9176,


Just Relaxing

Duck into the small, dimly lit bar at Wailana Coffee House and you’ll see industry employees unwinding with a drink or singing their favorite songs. Anytime is a good time to be in the cocktail lounge—the drinks are cheap, the fried bar fare is decent and there’s a variety of songs to choose from. Happy hour is actually a happy six hours, daily, from noon to 6 p.m., and, on weekdays from 3 to 5 p.m., all pupu are half off. After you’ve had your fill of Journey or Elton John tracks at 1 a.m., a hot stack of pancakes awaits you mere steps away in the restaurant. 1860 Ala Moana Blvd., 955-1764.