Vancouver’s best karaoke venues

Few events can create or strengthen friendships like shared tragedy and triumph. So the fact that memories and relationships blossom from a karaoke experience is not surprising. Vancouver has tons of great places where you can gather ’round the teleprompter for a booze-fuelled sing-along. Hit these local venues next time you want to belt out Queen hits on stage or croon to Roy Orbison in an intimate room full of fans.

Fantacity Restaurant

1133 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1B5

Probably Vancouver’s best karaoke joint if you want to belt out the hits behind closed doors with your buddies. And according to most of Vancouver, probably just the best place in general. Fantacity is an authentic Japanese karaoke experience where you and your buds can book your own room and sing to your heart’s content without the embarrassment (or glory?) of being on stage in front of dozens of strangers. They’ve got a massive catalogue and the songs are accompanied by those great generic videos of people wandering longingly through gardens or beaches or forests while looking for something.

Army Navy & Airforce Veterans Taurus Unit 298

3917 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P3

The Main Street Legion has a small-town feel and is a popular karaoke spot for spectators and die-hards alike. Arrive early on Wednesday nights and you’ll get a spot on stage nestled somewhere between a 60-plus pro who’s been belting out “Pretty Woman” every week for years and three drunken toque-clad twenty-somethings slurring a musical revival of their high school heydays with a Britney Spears classic. Arrive late, and getting on stage to sing your favourite probably ain’t going to happen.

Astoria Hotel

769 Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1R3

This East Hastings dive bar plays host to a slew of punk, metal, and local indie bands regularly, but their Sonic Sundays and Manic Monday karaoke nights see the loyal denim- and leather-clad crowd (who are usually fist-pumping or moshing in the audience) take centre stage. Amateur performers holler everything from David Bowie to R. Kelly to Whitney Houston in a no-judgement zone that feels more like mom and dad’s basement in 1985 than a music venue. Also, free pool and cheap beers. Check their Facebook page before you go; sometimes karaoke nights are cancelled if a show is scheduled.

Two Parrots Taverna

1202 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1M4

There are almost zero reasons I’d ever point you in the direction of downtown Granville Street on any night, but this one is legit. If you’re comfortable with singing in front of a bunch of intoxicated strangers – with a steady stream of tourists walking by to stop and peer in the window – welcome home. Tuesday night karaoke at Two Parrots is guaranteed fun, especially when you’ve just seen your favourite band’s reunion tour and you’re ready to pay homage to your favourite rock gods.

Simply Delicious

4316 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P9

Climb up the stairs at this sushi joint on Main Street and you’re in for a surprise. This large room with a stage is definitely unexpected, but there it is; and it gets used well. From hip-hop shows on Wednesdays to the odd local show, SD Galleria serves up tasty Asian fusion fare and tasty licks on the karaoke box. With a crowd that tends toward the Main Street locals, it’s not necessarily fit for those wanting an A-Class karaoke experience, but they’ve got two mics, a proper teleprompter, and a catalogue fit for nervous beginners and seasoned vets alike.

Holy Chow

433 Pender St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 1V2

This downtown pub, frequented by passersby and VFS students, is relatively new to the karaoke game but has already garnered a rocking reputation for its Saturday night sing-alongs. Hosts alternate weekly and the sassy and welcoming Red can warm up the staunchest of crowds. After having witnessed an entire victorious rugby team sing, “We Are the Champions” with enough pizzazz that soon the entire bar followed, I was convinced the karaoke spirit here is alive and well.

Funky Winker Beans

37 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G4

A year of working right next door to Funky’s painted a vivid picture of what the Evil Bastard Karaoke experience is all about. From Sunday to Thursday (save for the nights a band is playing), a varied cast of characters takes the stage, typically occupied by hard-core metal bands. Hosted by Evil Bastard himself, you can make requests on his Facebook page beforehand if you’re prepared. Or just throw back a few $5 tall cans and see where the night takes you.

Cobalt Hotel

917 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2V8

It’s called Earmuffs Karaoke for a reason. While most of Vancouver is tucking into bed, getting ready for another Tuesday in the office, Monday night karaoke at the Cobalt is just getting started. Singers take their turn on stage to belt out tunes that tend toward the hip-hop and rap side of the songbook, although one particular highlight was pretty smooth rendition of “Fat Bottomed Girls.” If you don’t take your karaoke too seriously, want to party with the 20 to 35-year-old crowd, and are okay waking up with a headache on Tuesday morning, this is your jam.

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