Don’t save your singing for the shower and hit these Dubai spots
Karaoke nights are a regular feature of Dubai’s nightlife scene. What’s more, since our last foray into the emirate’s sing-a-long options, we’ve got wind of a few new spots that host such nights. While some venues have decided to sadly hang up their microphones, fun new options have emerged, precipitating the need to take a fresh look at what’s on offer for the burgeoning singer in you.
So in the spirit of fun and at the risk of looking everso slightly red-faced, the Time Out team hit the karaoke spots of the city. We’ve checked out some of the long-established singing haunts and have unearthed a few dens where you can worble to your heart’s content. And the result? We’ve discovered a veritable plethora of lively nights just awaiting your star turn.
Time to channel your inner rock star? Fancy a singalong in Chinese? Feeling competitive and confident in your crooning? We’ve discovered a couple of nights where the talent stakes are really rather high. One thing’s certain, with Dubai still in such good voice, it’s time to get involved.
Voices Karaoke Night A newbie on the Dubai’s karaoke scene, the night is popular with guests at the hotel and regulars at the Belgian themed bar. The hosts are friendly and welcoming and encourage everyone to have a go without being too forceful, meaning wallflowers among you can sing from the comfort of your bar stool rather than coming out to the front. There’s a 50 percent discount for hoteliers, airline and shipping staff, too. Free. Tue 8pm-1am. Lucien Bar, Ramada Dubai, Al Mankhool Road, Bur Dubai, www.ramadadubai.com (04 351 9999).
Kung Korean Restaurant and Karaoke An authentic Asian karaoke night with eight private booths. The suites are nicely decorated and can be rented per hour. There’s even a tambourine in the rooms so your backing singers can get into the groove while you sing. Food and drink can be ordered in the booth, making this venue a popular choice with groups. The booths can be booked until 1am. Dhs180 per hour. Daily. 7pm-2.30am. Kung Karaoke, Byblos Hotel, TECOM, www.bybloshoteldubai.com (04 4488 000).
Hibiki Karaoke Lounge Set in a Japanese themed room with cherry blossom decorating the walls, this karaoke lounge has a wide range of popular songs as well as show tunes. Friendly host Pocholo has a personable manner with the punters and encourages people to sing, or will happily belt out a number for you. (He does a fantastic rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’.) As one of the first karaoke lounges in the city, it attracts a good number of regular singers that make this an enjoyable place to be whether you take to the mic or not. Weekends are very busy so if you like to sing best to come midweek. Free. Daily. 7.30pm-3am. Hibiki Karaoke Lounge, Hyatt Regency Dubai, Deira Corniche www.dubai.regency.hyatt.com (04 209 1234).
The Stables Bar and restaurant This bar has a relaxed vibe with its sports bar come-country-barn décor. There is a real mix of people out for this midweek karaoke night and a lively atmosphere. There are plenty of drinks promotions available and in addition to the karaoke there’s a live band that performs before the amateurs take to the stage. The bar is currently hosting an X-Factor-style competition called So You Can Sing, with contestants and the winner chosen by judges. Free. Tuesdays only. 8pm. The Stables, off Sheikh Zayed Road, next to Radisson Royal Hotel. www.facebook.com/StablesDubai (04 342 5571).
Katon Popular among the Filipino community, this bar is on the first floor of The Majestic Hotel, but you have to take the stairs at the back of the lobby and not the elevator to get there. This really is one for night owls as the singing doesn’t really get underway until well after midnight. The bar is decked out in gaudy black and red, and before the karaoke starts the house band perform requests for punters. There is also a comedian who adds to the general merriment and singing den vibe. Free. Daily. 10pm-3am. Katon, Majestic Hotel Tower Dubai, near Al Mankhool Road, Bur Dubai www.dubaimajestic.com (04 501 2666).
Kitakits Kafe & Klubb First impressions aren’t great at Kitakits Kafe and Klubb. Located down an alleyway next to the Marco Polo Hotel, merited, it’s not the sort of place you’d wander into by chance. But inside you’ll find an inviting bar area with a large stage dominating one side of the club. This raised performance spot is where karaoke takes place, so you’ll certainly be the centre of attention while singing here. You’ll find a mixed clientele of couples and groups of friends either enjoying the entertainment or getting up on stage to belt out a slew of commercial hits. Free. Daily. 9pm-2am. Kitakits Kaffe & Klubb, Marco Polo Hotel, Deira, www.marcopolohotel.net/dining/kitakits-kafe-klubb (04 272 0000).
Harry Ghatto’s This teeny karaoke spot is cosy to say the least. One of a trio of Japanese-themed venues, it fittingly serves up some decent Japanese, rice-based drinks and it gets fairly packed, although given its size, this doesn’t take much. Expect a mix of after-dinner guests, karaoke fans and people spilling across from a DIFC night out. The hitlist has a bit of everything from old eighties rock to current pop tracks, and there are regular themed nights such as fancy dress or Russian songs. There’s no minimum charge but as you might expect from its glam location, the drinks aren’t cheap. Karaoke every day from 10pm, earlier on Fridays and special themed nights. Sat-Thu noon-3am, Fri 4pm-3am. Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 319 8088).
Rock Bottom Café (TECOM) The lively nightspot hosts a free karaoke competition every Friday, with the occasionally raucous ceremonies commencing at around 9pm. There’s a mix of people from post-brunchers to crooning blokes with all their mates in tow and the odd couple. The song choice varies from Johnny Cash to Shania Twain and Lady Gaga. First place in the competition wins a Dhs200 voucher to spend at the venue, but there are free nips of beverages to all those who give it a go. Free. Fridays. 8pm-3am. Ramee Rose Hotel, TECOM, www.rameehotels.com (04 450 0111).
Pegasus Tucked away on the first floor of the Chelsea Plaza Hotel, this simple, windowless Filipino bar hosts karaoke sessions on a daily basis between 6pm and 9pm. The song selection is remarkably good, with a host of classic as well as up-to-date hits to choose from, plus Hindi and Filipino tunes. You’ll need courage to take to the raised stage here, or you can just boss the mic while still seated at your table, but don’t expect too large an audience, as the place only really gets going after 9pm. Free. Daily 6pm-9pm. Chelsea Plaza Hotel, Satwa, www.chelseaplaza.crimsonhotels.com (04 398 3333).
O2 Karaoke This late night spot is popular among Korean, Thai and Chinese punters. The dimly lit reception with a blue neon O2 sign welcomes you before you head into one of the six private singing rooms. This place gets started late, but it is a popular spot and staff suggest you book in advance, especially if coming with a large group. There’s a wide selection of songs in various Asian languages as well as classics in English. Dhs2,500 for two hours (including one bottle of house beverage and fruit platter). Daily. 7pm-3am. Avari Dubai Hotel, Al Rigga, www.avari.com (04 295 6666).
KTV Chinese Karaoke Bar If you speak Chinese, this could be the spot for you, if not – you might struggle to get past the bar’s reception as none of the staff speak much English. The song list caters predominantly for the Chinese community and the karaoke booths have to be booked for the night, not just for a few hours, so you could be in for the long haul here. Dhs1,500 for the night. Daily. 10pm-3am. Phoenicia Hotel, Baniyas Square, www.phoeniciahoteldubai.net (04 222 7191).
Makati Comedy Bar An all-round entertainment night, Makati hosts comedy and karaoke. In between the comedians, skits singers can get up and do their thing. This venue also has a set of private suites you can sing in if you don’t have the nerve to sing in the spacious bar. On the night we visited, the venue was buzzing and a few decent singers took to the mic. The playlist features plenty of Filipino, Chinese and Japanese hits that go down well here. Dhs100 for private booths. Free to sing in the public bar. Daily. 7pm-3am. Asiana Hotel, Salahuddin Road, Deira www.asianahoteldubai.com (04 238 7777).
Time Café This free, weekly karaoke night doesn’t draw the city’s best singers, but it does appear to attract some of its most uninhibited. Fortunately, with plenty of other distractions around the bar, most of the regulars who aren’t taking the mic will barely bat an eyelid, even if your warbling could be used to extract information out of the hardiest double agents. That said, fellow patrons in the queue to belt out their favourite tunes will whoop and cheer you on, making it a great spot for karaoke newbies. Free. Fri 10pm-1am. Ramee Royal Hotel, Karama, www.rameehotels.com (04 334 4088).
1UP This vibrant weekly karaoke night attracts a smorgasbord of people and musical tastes. On the night we visited we were treated to energetic rock and metal, sweet show songs, and classic pop and dance tunes. There’s a competition running until May 30, where the winner could bag a cash prize, but even if you don’t fancy competing you can still take to the stage. The bar is quite small and this is a popular night so arrive early to nab a table. Singers have to perform on the stage, so there’s no place for the shy to hide, but with screens dotted around the bar the raucous crowd will sing along with you. Free. Fri 9pm-2am. Boutique 7 Hotel and Suites, TECOM, www.facebook.com/1UPfusionlounge (04 448 7928).