By Caroline Fontein
Are you tired of listening to Vegas lounge acts cover songs that you know you can sing better? Does seeing the marquees on the Las Vegas Strip make you long for your time in the spotlight? Do you secretly fantasize about being a rock star every time you see someone walking on the Strip with a yard-long drink holder in the shape of a guitar (yes they actually have these)?
Well, wait no longer. You can solve all these problems and more by making some time for karaoke during your next visit to the Strip. Yes, it’s that easy.
First of all you need a good starting location to warm up your vocal cords, and may I recommend TJ’s All-Star Karaoke Party at The Piano Bar at Harrah’s. Karaoke starts at 6 p.m. every night of the week. Not only do you get a chance to sing, but this karaoke party also features entertainment from a wacky host. He does comedy and impressions getting everyone loosened up for a good time on stage.
A few doors down, rock star wannabes can seek refuge at the Imperial Palace Karaoke Club located on the third floor next to the Sports Bar. Karaoke starts at 9 p.m. Sun. – Thu. and at 10 p.m. Fri. – Sat. and features a selection of 15,000 songs. This is a must-sing spot if you want your night of stardom to live on forever because here you can have your performance memorialized on a DVD to play again and again and again.
If you’ve been having a hard time finding your favorite song, search no more. Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon located on the corner of the Strip and Flamingo Road hosts karaoke at Bill’s Lounge featuring an extensive library containing 30,000 of the most popular songs of all time. It operates 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sun. – Wed. The lounge is located right on the casino floor, allowing every passerby a good view of your performance. Ready or not this is your moment to shine, but who are we kidding you’re always ready to steal the spotlight.
For those of you hanging out on the northern end of the Strip Rock & Rita’s Restaurant and Bar at Circus Circus hosts karaoke on Thursday nights from 9 p.m. until midnight. Hosted by a live DJ, Rock & Rita’s lively party atmosphere entices even the most timid singers to get on stage. The flair bartenders and outrageous drink menu help everyone get the added gusto they need to grab the mic by the horns. You know you wanna rock. It’s time to prove that all those hours of playing Rock Band really have paid off.
After you’ve cured all stage fright, keep heading north on the Strip to Dino’s Lounge. This well-known night spot hosts karaoke from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thu. – Sat. with DJ Danny G. Don’t expect any frills when it comes to ambience. This dive bar has been around for more than 40 years and draws a diverse late-night crowd that likes to party. What Dino’s does have is a lot of character, cheap drink specials and a large inventory of songs to choose from.
Next, there’s Ellis Island, a well established karaoke hot spot that operates every night of the week from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. It’s located on Koval Lane one block south of Flamingo behind Paris and Bally’s. Their karaoke lounge is dark, smokey and basically the perfect venue to show off your inner rock god. It’s usually packed with an eclectic mix of people, so get there early to avoid a long wait. To top it off, this casino also has its own brewery, making for some very reasonably priced draft beers.
While most of the karaoke venues in Vegas have a more kitschy and not-so-modern vibe there is a more contemporary option for some of you divas out there who might need a trendy spot to test out your vocal cords. Prima donnas, meet Brand Lounge & Steakhouse at the Monte Carlo. Every Tuesday and Thursday starting at 9:30 p.m. OMT’s Extreme Karaoke takes over, turning the refined lounge into a cool karaoke joint.
If you want to prove your karaoke prowess in a place owned by a real rock star Vegas has that too. Head over to Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina located at the front of Planet Hollywood. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday starting at 9 p.m. rock star hopefuls can belt out their rebel yell in the colorful cantina. The best part is anyone who tries to sing is rewarded with a complimentary shot of Cabo Wabo tequila.
Well, there you have it. Your chance to really rock out in Vegas has arrived. Now that you know where to go, here are some tips for having a successful karaoke night out.
- Tip the host. Vegas loves tips, and that also applies to karaoke. After you’re done filling out that little piece of white paper with your song requests include a couple dollars with it when you return it to the host. It lets the host know you’re serious about wanting to sing and may even help you bypass the list of other people in line waiting to get on stage.
- Don’t scream into the microphone. We don’t care how drunk you are, just don’t do it. Some karaoke places will even stop the song and end your turn if you start screaming out things other than the song lyrics.
- Don’t drop the microphone or kick anything. We realize you want to be a rock star, but that doesn’t mean you should embrace everything that some rock stars like to do. At some of the venues the karaoke equipment is provided by the hosts, and they won’t be happy campers seeing someone attempt to break a microphone by slamming it on the stage, even if you’re doing it in the spirit of rock ’n’ roll. They can and will kick you out. (Don’t ask how I know this.)
- No ballads. Singing a ballad is usually a mistake.No one wants to hear you belt out “My Heart Will Go On” no matter how good you think you sound. Let’s face it, people came here to get drunk and have a good time not hear Barbra Streisand’s greatest hits. Leave the ballads for your shower and pick something people can sing along and/or dance to.
- Have fun. Regardless of whether or not you have any real singing ability karaoke is all about having a good time and possibly doing something that you wouldn’t normally do sober. If people really wanted to hear good entertainment they wouldn’t be hanging around a dingy bar that sells $1 drinks. So set your inhibitions aside and start singing.