Private Karaoke

Lincoln Karaoke

I’ve been hearing for years about private room karaoke – establishments where instead of singing your favorite AM hits in front of a group of drunken strangers, you have a small room all to yourself, so you’re singing in front of five or six drunken friends. But it was only just a few weeks ago that I was finally dragged into one by a friend’s birthday.

I’ve never been a big fan of regular karaoke. I mean, I’ve been cajoled into getting up and singing before, but it’s not an activity I’d choose for an outing. But somehow when I was in a tiny room at Lincoln Karaoke (5526 N Lincoln), I was punching songs into the karaoke controller with wild abandon.

That’s one factor to the appeal of the karaoke room, I think. Instead of being at the mercy of a karaoke DJ and waiting for hours to sing a song, you’re programming in a set list yourself. And with just six people in the room, you’re singing every fifteen minutes or so. And with no dull stares from strangers, even the worst introvert can be persuaded to get up and sing a Britney song or two.

Lincoln Karaoke has small, medium, and large rooms. We were in a medium, which meant we had a couch and two love seats, a big screen TV with a Korean karaoke computer attached, and a party-lights ball near the ceiling. The songbooks featured a large selection of Korean songs, a modest section of English-language tracks, and then a hefty J-Pop section, which included another random six to ten English songs on each page. There’s a full bar (try the Soju!) and a selection of Korean foods from the kitchen. I had an order of kalbi (Korean short ribs) which were tasty, but slightly over-priced for the amount, I thought. On Fridays and Saturdays, renting a medium or large room comes with a minimum bar tab, but they’re willing to negotiate — we were there earlyish on a slow Friday night and they waived the minimum.

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