Montreal has a handful of well-known karaoke haunts, some of which are better-known than others. There are some, I’m sure, that should die in the same obscurity they were born in. (The mysterious Lolita Bar in a basement on Sherbrooke comes to mind, which never seems to have its door unlocked even when it’s “open,” despite being vividly advertised by signs visible from the busy street, and which I’ve never actually heard about in connection with anyone actually doing any karaoke there).
But among the names you hear floating around – Pang Pang, K Karaoke, MBox, and KTV – there’s often little to clue you in to whether or not the place is affordable and enjoyable if you haven’t tried it yourself. (Though I’ve heard enough negative reviews of KTV to want to stay away from it — anyone have an experience to the contrary?)
I can happily say now that K Karaoke is a pretty adequate karaoke lounge. What looks like a tiny place on the second floor of a building on rue Crescent turns out to boast at least 7 private karaoke rooms. This type of establishment is often called a ‘karaoke box‘ to distinguish it from the karaoke bar, where people take to the stage in front of a full bar/restaurant to show off or humiliate themselves (only sometimes deliberately).
The decor in K Karaoke is cute and minimalist. The rooms are of different sizes, and cost $30/hour for one big enough to easily hold 6. There were two microphones, and a disco light which was unfortunately broken. The karaoke screen was a very big TV, and the interface/remote is easy to figure out.
There are some drink-and-sing specials which save you a little money, but not a lot. We paid $150 total for 3 hours of singing, and around a dozen bottled beers. They have over-priced shots and a bottle service, as well. It’s not the most inexpensive place to drink, so I advise getting your nerves settled with some liquid courage before you show up, and keep yourself coasting and your vocal chords well lubricated with a beer or two.
They have songs in Korean, Japanese, and English. (I think there were some Chinese tracks as well). Note that the Korean and Japanese songs will not be in the English alphabet phonetics, but in hangul and kana respectively. Most of their songs are midi files, which means you’re not getting the intense karaoke-pub effect of full guitar and drum kit, but most of the files were adequate and entertainingly kitschy. They had some very recent hits from Asia and North America, meaning they keep their song list updated regularly. They also had some classic tracks that people love to sing, and a lot of genres are well-represented; we never ran out of songs we wanted to try, and in fact ran out of time before we could catch up with our playlist.
We reserved a room on a Saturday night a few days in advance, and since the other rooms were full, I suggest you do too. Bring friends who don’t want to showboat, but who want a good laugh and a chance to do comedic duets and a roundtable Bohemian Rhapsody. Have fun trying to keep a straight face when the music video showing to Crazy Town’s “Butterfly” is actually some heartfelt K-drama breakup scene, or you’re singing Tom Jones over a strange tropical travel voyage commercial on-screen.