In a town where there's Porn Star Karaoke, VIP karaoke rooms and even American Idol, it's nice to know you can bring your drunken singing back to basics — a place with whisky, two microphones and a sure round of applause. Karaoke Bleu in West L.A.'s Little Osaka neighborhood has been around nearly 20 years. It can throw off the newcomers with karaoke-nazi rules, parking limitations and, well, attitude. If they don't know you, there's going to be some hazing. And we're just talking about the fierce female servers, not to mention owner Ralph or gentleman-bartender Aki-san. There's a small stage and an array of video monitors, but the action is at the small bar in back, where locals such as Tokidoki clothing founder Simone Legno hold court. This is the kind of bar you just know. There's no website. If you put in some time, you'll find a place that's rare in L.A.: affordable (with “bottle-keep” service and $1 contemporary songs), warm and, well, real. 2064 Sawtelle Blvd., W.L.A. (310) 477-4794.

—Dennis Romero

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