Karaoke has come on leaps and bounds during recent years. Whether you want to test your rap skills in front of a crowd, sing anthems with your mates or just scream Bon Jovi lyrics, there’s a singalong event waiting for you to own it. So take your pick from London’s best karaoke nights below.
‘90s and ‘00s Pop Jam: Piano Karaoke
Sadly, the good ol’-fashioned piano singalong is something of a dying tradition in London. Keeping the dream alive in super-fun style is this new night, where punters gather around a piano (and pianist, obviously) and belt out songs with as much gusto as they dare. To further up the fun quota, the music policy is strictly tunes from 1990-2009, across pop, R&B, rock, rave, garage, hip-hop and much more. The fun even culminates in a mass, communal eyes-closed singalong, presumably to shed inhibitions and allow attendees to sing their flippin’ hearts out.
From August 14-September 11. The Landor, Stockwell.
Friday I’m In Love
This popular singalong club night allows punters to belt out their favourite indie and pop anthems from the ‘80s and ‘90s. But it’s not karaoke – it’s ‘massaoke’ (mass-karaoke), say the organisers, meaning the whole crowd sings along as one, backed by the live house band for a more authentic experience. And don’t worry, lyrics are projected onto the wall so you don’t have to memorise the words. Music-wise, think everything from The Human League to The Cure to Oasis to Erasure.
From September 11-December 11. The Phoenix, West End, www.phoenixcavendishsquare.co.uk.
Think you can rap? Prove it at this popular karaoke night, where you can flex your rhyming muscles to your favourite hip-hop cuts from over the decades. If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a Missy, Eminem, Beastie Boy/Girl or you think you could give Snoop a run for his dough, here’s your chance to act out some rap fantasies. And hey, what could be easier than trying to rap in front of loads of strangers? Don’t worry: this long-running night is actually a lot of fun. There’s a huge list of classics and lesser-known jams to choose from, and all songs are rated for rhyming difficulty.
Until December 10. The Social, West End, www.hiphopkaraoke.co.uk.
Hot Since ‘91
This new-ish addition to London’s karaoke scene is pegged as a ’90s karaoke night, but don’t go asking for Primal Scream or Spice Girls here – it’s strictly R&B and hip-hop on the song list, covering anything from Aaliyah to Wu-Tang. So break out that Tupac bandana and/or denim dungarees and get rhyming. That moment when you nail Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes’ solo rap in TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ will be glorious.
Until September 30. The Stillery, Camden, www.thestillery.co.uk.
Hosted by comedian Quint Fontana (disclaimer: possibly not his real name), this popular night combines pop karaoke and comedy – two disciplines that are inexplicably intertwined when you think about it. Expect a fair amount of mayhem and audience participation/abuse directed at the singers, all (okay, mostly) in good humour, of course. There are various themed instalments (‘90s, American pop singers), but essentially it’s a full-on fun mix of karaoke, comedy and chaos.
Until August 27. Star of Kings, Kings Cross and St Pancras, www.starofkings.co.uk.
Since its launch in 2014, this Brixton-born rootsy singalong night has secured a second monthly slot, branching out to east London at Shoreditch’s Queen of Hoxton. There’s a healthy list of songs, including classics from Barrington Levy and Gregory Isaacs, chart-bothering favourites like Chaka Demus & Pliers’ ‘Tease Me’ and contemporary crossovers from Gyptian and Chronixx.
Until October 28. Queen of Hoxton, Hoxton, www.queenofhoxton.com.
If, like garishly face-painted ’80s rockers KISS, you just love to rock and roll all night, Rockaoke is the gig for you. Wail and shriek through rock and punk classics, plus a bit of pop and indie if you’re more Mumford than Metallica. And don’t worry if your air guitar needs re-stringing: at Rockaoke you’re backed by a four-piece live band who’ll riff and tub-thump you through your chosen anthem.
Until November 19. Star of Kings, Kings Cross and St Pancras, www.starofkings.co.uk.
Inspired by a love of music videos (and pop ephemera in general), Videoke’s team of actors and dancers aim to recreate classic pop promos before your very eyes. As well as the performances (which spring up both on stage and around the venue), punters are able to have themselves placed on classic album covers (thanks to a green screen photobooth) and get made up like their favourite stars. Make sure you arrive early, as the Videoke crew will be teaching everyone some dance moves for the featured videos, so you can brush up on your ‘Thriller’ zombie grooving. A whole load of interactive fun, especially when you add lip sync battles, live acts and dance-offs into the mix.
Until August 22. The Phoenix, West End, www.videokelondon.com.
Need to know
British Airways flies direct to London from Dhs2,495 return.