How to Do Karaoke in NYC

entrance to karaoke duet 35

TIA HERE and all I can say is KARAOKE. As someone who finds singing a huuuuge stress relief and super fun, karaoke is the perfect type of weekend activity. I've gone maybe five times throughout the span of the summer with friends and family, and it's remained just as enjoyable each time.

Full disclosure, deciding to go to Karaoke Duet 35 in particular was based on a very simple google search by my friend Winnie. But the results--totally worth it. Karaoke Duet is a chain ("35" indicating that it is on 35th street) throughout the city and includes a bar, private rooms of different sizes, and stacks of books of songs. You can find almost any old song and a lot of the new stuff too with monthly-updated books of recent popular songs. In between your song choices, which you enter in based on a number code and via a remote control to the TV, they play scenes from random anime movies. As I would frantically read out codes for Winnie to enter, there would be clips of Ponyo swimming across the screen and reminding us of our time limit and how if we didn't hurry up with the next code, we would just be paying to watch (silent) anime films--which is, given, better than staring at a blank screen.

Karaokers at Karaoke Duet are given two microphones as well as the books of their choice (you can pick different language songbooks, including English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and probably more at no extra cost--just the request that you switch language every other song) and are led to the room where they will be staying for whatever amount of time they have decided on. Going for two hours seems to be the best bet, at least for me, although an hour and a half, one hour, and three are all just as possible. If you plan on taking up a lot of time or going on a busy day with a large group, consider calling ahead and making a reservation, although I've never needed to do that and I was always able to fit into a time slot with my small group of friends.

After you've been singing for a while, about 5-10 minutes before your time runs out, the phone in the room will ring and one of the people working there will tell you how much longer you have. Then you have the perfect amount of time to panic about what songs to end with. Sometimes, you can ask for more time, but usually that's all you get--so you better use it wisely. Once your time runs out, you will stop being able to enter songs into the machine and will be forced to show yourself back out to the lobby. When you exit, you go back to the bar to pay, based on time and day. I always bring back the microphones and books, although I'm not sure if that's required (I would suggest it). Then you're done!

Karaoke Duet is really great with a simple setup, and special because of its private rooms, rather than a bar setting, which is a little more typical in the United States. I definitely recommend you go to them if you plan on singing karaoke in the city. The prices are reasonable, the setting is clean and fun, and the song selection is as good as I honestly think is possible. Sing your heart out!

For more, check out Tia's new blog!

Much love,

T.