Because Sweet Caroline won’t sing itself at 1am on a weeknight
There is a famous Jackie Chan quote about karaoke. And when I say it’s famous, I mean it’s one of the first results that comes up when you google ‘karaoke quotes’ and it goes like this: “Sometimes I need to go to karaoke, sometimes I need to relax.” In this respect, we are all Jackie Chan. Every single one of us, because at the end of the day, we all need to relax.
Deep, I know.
But it goes deeper. Because there’s also a famous Jeremy Renner quote about karaoke. It’s also on that very same google results page. “I used to hang out at karaoke bars all the time. It was the most fun you could have when you had no money.” In the age of Tory leadership death spirals and infinite inflation, this also strikes a chord.
So, without further ado, let’s remind ourselves of the places that we can sing like nobody is watching, whether it’s a safe, and dare we say it overdone ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond or a challenging and ultimately more gratifying ‘Senorita’ by Justin Timberlake (both parts, Justin and Pharrell), these are the places to sing karaoke in Manchester. These are the places to channel your inner Jackie Chan and Jeremy Renner.
Read on for the best karaoke bars in Manchester.
Boom Battle Bar
When all the boards have been shuffled, all of the augmented darts and axes thrown and the beer ponged, not to mention the American pool balls potted, there is only one thing left to do at Boom Battle Bar in the Printworks. You know what it is. The last battle at Boom Battle Bar is a battle of wills, of you versus yourself or at least your friends, in one of two karaoke booths. One to 15 people per room, £8 per person for 60 minutes. The equivalent of singing Kiss from a Rose by Seal about 13 times.
Unit 2A, The Printworks, 27 Withy Grove, Manchester M4 2BS
Slow down Sporty Spice, Thursday is bandeoke night from 8.30pm at Box on Deansgate. C’mon, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work it out. Karaoke with a live band. It goes off. Sing all your favourite songs with the added pressure (read: glory) of a live backing band comprised of talented individuals on guitar, drums, keyboard and whatever else is in a band these days. Fill up on pints of house special Budvar and sing as if you’re watching live sport but better.
125 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BY
We’ve got nothing but good things to say about Churchill’s and it’s a shame to see it getting such a hammering on Trip Advisor. Cheap and cheerful, if you’re after a bottle of wine, it’s probably not the place you should be prioritising. But if you want a sing and a dance with your drink served in a plastic cup, it’s great fun. Part of the Bar Pop empire in The Village, expect karaoke DJ sass and plenty of drag queen shade if you’re not up to scratch.
37 Chorlton St., Manchester M1 3HN
Sometimes it’s important to have private time. Especially when it comes to karaoke. There’ll be times in this life when the world isn’t ready for you singing Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat and that’s okay. Sometimes you need a private room to unleash that sort of energy and K2 Karaoke, also a nightclub, is an ideal place for this. The Chinatown karaoke spot does VIP karaoke booths for all occasions be it a hen do or a work night out. Bookable by the hour and open until the early AM, there are cocktails and happy hour deals to take advantage of too.
52-56 George St, Manchester M1 4HF
“Forget everything you know about bowling alleys, because Lane 7 is different. Really different.” A ballsy strapline from Lane 7. Whilst we can confirm that Lane 7 does indeed provide a smorgasbord of activity, with Fat Hippo burgers, plenty of drinks, shooting pods (gaming), American pool, beer pong, shuffleboard and ping pong, it does also do karaoke. £10pp, expect premium sound-proof, day-glow booths and a classic tune selection.
Unit 3, 235 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN
You know when people in musicals walk around and people burst into song as they go past? The Millstone is the closest thing you’re going to get to that in the Northern Quarter. Unbridled passion for song with a lager top chaser. Legendary covers of famous songs have gone down in this institution bursting with “Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be…” energy. An all-day affair, the last time we were in there a man in a leather jacket was crooning My Girl by The Temptations so sweetly, it brought on our hay fever.
67 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1LQ
If you want to sing your heart out on Portland Street on the edge of Chinatown every night, you can. Orchid Lounge is open daily until late for open mic karaoke. No booking is required. Just turn up and belt out Believe by Cher. You could sing it every day of the week if you wanted to. Get really good at it. Become the Believe person, a legendary figure. Or you could just divert your mates there next time you’re on a night out for a fun end to proceedings.
54 Portland St, Manchester M1 4QU
The heads at Vina Karaoke Bar on Charlotte Street really like to stress that you’re not allowed to wear sportswear or tracksuit bottoms at its venue. Don’t ask us why, it’s just a prominent feature of the bar’s website and we wouldn’t want you rocking up and getting turned away. Correct trousers on and a world of underground karaoke awaits. Open seven days a week 7pm - 4am, the atmosphere is rocking and the cocktails and bar selection is notably better than most karaoke places.
34 Charlotte St, Manchester M1 4FD
Taking place monthly, YES team up with Islington Mill’s Fat Out for a dungeon’s worth of karaoke in the Oxford Road venue’s basement. The rules are simple: don’t be basic, don’t request Mr Brightside and do be fabulous. Starting at 11pm and going on late into the night, the free event is an ideal opportunity to dance, drink, sing and get trashy with a rotating cast of MCs. Get stuck in.
38 Charles St, Manchester M1 7DB
Header image: Vina
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