Top 10 Best Karaoke Bars in L.A.: #5-1
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See also: Top 10 Best Karaoke Bars in L.A.: #10-6
5. Max Karaoke Studio
For some of us, karaoke is all about either watching or being drink-sodden disasters -- specifically the kind poorly belting out ballads to a hooting crowd of strangers. For the non-voyeurs and the non-exhibitionists, the song's the thing, and Max Karaoke is the master of the song-centric private room karaoke. Max offers comfortable private "karaoke boxes" for groups up to 40. At $18 an hour, the song selection is vast and the staff couldn't be more polite. While not strictly for purists, there is an air of professionalism behind the karaoke-cabinets at Max -- they rank the popularity of song choices at all of their three locations online and most of the dazed-eyed clientele looks like they've been in there for the long haul. So, rent a room solo when your car just can't contain your private crooning, or grab a group and BYOB, 'cuz Max doesn't sell alcohol. --Paul Bradley
4. The Rhyme Along
We just assumed we were more comfortable watching other people drunkenly belt Celine Dion tunes. Turns out, we just didn't have the right karaoke catalog. The Rhyme Along, the roving bi-monthly karaoke night that most recently settled at Chinatown's Mountain Bar (the latest event was hosted by the Westside's Monsoon Cage) is a strictly hip-hop affair, with songs for those who want more options than "Bust a Move" or "The Humpty Dance." Jayo Felony, Dem Franchise Boyz and Medina Green are listed along with plenty of Pac, Biggie, Jay and Dre (good luck with Twista's "Overnight Celebrity"). We never sing karaoke, but rapping it? Different story. --Rebecca Haithcoat
3. Brass Monkey
It's not big and they pack the place, so getting a song in at Brass Monkey -- especially on the weekends -- can be a task, but validated parking and friendly regulars make up for the wait. Specialty drinks like the Monkey Bite and the Squeeze the Monkey are plenty strong. It's a more the merrier vibe with a completely unpredictable crowd that's totally dedicated and thick with regulars. The Bras Monkey also has massively random celebrity sightings, like Vince Vaughn or Manny Pacquiao. Pac-Man karaokes? --Diamond Bodine-Fischer
Sardo's is probably best known for Porn Star Karaoke every Tuesday night. Admittedly, this is a good reason to hit a karaoke bar in Burbank. There is however, a Sardo's beyond Tuesday's PSK Club. The enormous free parking lot, friendly staff and affordable drinks aren't bad. The main thing Sardo's has going for it, though, is the behemoth songlist with random Lemonheads and Aaron Neville options. (If you aren't a professional singer, we don't recommend the Aaron Neville.) You'll also find sizeable selections from Queensryche, Dio, Nine Inch Nails and Pantera. They have more Sinatra than Elvis, which is another massive win, and probably why we've seen Seth MacFarlane flawlessly singing some Ol' Blue Eyes there before. --Diamond Bodine-Fischer
1. Smog Cutter
With a city full of clean and well-run karaoke bars, it almost feels like cheating to call this one Los Angeles' best. But who wants polished, professional, and proper? Gritty authenticity is queen at Smog Cutter. Sure, the karaoke-rati are split on ol' Smoggie -- detractors complain of unfriendly staff, two drink minimum, etc. Naysayers be damned: it may have subjective drink pricing, puke-bucket bathrooms and bartenders that will take your shots before you do -- even if they're birthday shots -- but there's no place else like it, anywhere. Even on an off night, it's full of some pretty sad short stories -- people who think that they might actually "make it" doing karaoke in a Silver Lake dive reminiscent of an '80s amateur porn set. For cool-kid cred, unverified accounts have Bukowski here in his heyday and Elliot Smith can be seen strolling out of it in his "Miss Misery" video. Be sure to bring your drinking pants and cash money, and don't forget to tip the DJ before she passes out, because trust us, she will. --Paul Bradley
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