The definitive guide to Chicago karaoke

Published On 01/14/2014 Published On 01/14/2014
chicago karaoke
Kyle Johnson

Lie all you want, you lying liar, but we know you secretly love karaoke (almost as much as 4a bars). And, as you're probably well aware at this point, not all karaoke is created equal, which's why we've put together this handy guide to help you find the singing-in-front-of-other-people spot that best fits your karaoke personality.


For the guy who will never, ever sing in public...

Lincoln Karaoke (click here for address and deets)
Lincoln Square
In case you only trust your immediate friends when it comes to your Meadowlark voice, head to this Korean-run house o' karaoke that keeps the buckets of beer flowing. Possibly more amusing than the singing is the videos projected behind the lyrics, which range from “wandering meadow” to “softcore porn set.”
When to go: Private room rentals nightly, 7p-2a.

For the guy who is seriously unable and unwilling to sing...

Movieoke at The Whistler (click here for address and deets)
Logan Square
Because you've been practicing your "Get in the chopper!!!" Arnold voice for months, you're gonna wanna hit Chicago movieoke, which requires no singing whatsoever. Instead, they've got a full catalog of iconic scenes from the likes of The Big Lebowski and Caddy Shack, all projected with subtitles that you (hopefully awesomely) read off.
When to go: First Monday of every month, 9p.

Kyle Johnson

For the guy who can both hold a tune and many, many Mai Tai's...

Trader Todd’s (click here for address and deets)
This Tiki bar -- owned by Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds -- serves as a karaoke mecca in the Wrigleyville-adjacent bar scene. If you find yourself waiting for stage time even after three consecutive shotskis, remember it never hurts to drop some coin with your song choice.
When to go: Nightly, 730p.


For the guy who was a little too good at Rock Band on Xbox...

Live Band Karaoke at Piece (click here for address and deets)
Wicker Park
If pre-recorded muzak tracks just aren’t moving your meter, shred some faces with a full band backing you up, all inside of one of Chicago’s top pizza joints.
When to go: Saturdays, 11p.

For the guy who treats a microphone like the Hammer of Thor...

I Heart Karaoke at Alleycat Comics (click here for address and deets)
The only place in the city where you can buy a Batman comic and follow it up with Batman Forever’s “Kiss from A Rose”. Hosted by party-starters Da Duke and Bacon, you'll find the shop tucked in the alley next to Potbelly on Clark and Berwyn.
When to go: Last Saturday of every month, 630p.

For the guy who’s dying for an 8 Mile-style rap battle...

Original Rap Karaoke at Jerry’s (click here for address and deets)
Wicker Park
Hosted by Psalm One and Fluff Nasty, this hip-hop-centric karaoke joint is the right place to dive through a deep catalogue of house party classics and underground anthems. Or just go with your fall-back: singing the first verse of "Ice Ice Baby" and then pretending there's something wrong with the mic.
When to go: Third Saturday of every month, 9p.


For the guy who loves Eddie Vedder’s billy goat vocals...

Live Band Karaoke at Stanley’s (click here for address and deets)
Lincoln Park
The crew at Live Band Karaoke also brings their instrumentals to Stanley’s Taproom, which has been known to have drop-ins from the likes of Vedder -- with Chris Chelios and Kerry Wood in tow. No, really.
When to go: Sundays, 1030p.

For the guy who brings it harder than Tenacious D...

Rory Lake’s Karaoke Dreams (click here for address and deets)
An item that should be added to every Chicago bucket list, you’ll never rock out more at an American Legion Post. Just know that promoter and karaoke champion of the universe Rory Lake will be there to pick you up with backup vocals and air guitar, even when you hit the two-minute instrumental break in "Bohemian Rhapsody".
When to go: Monthly (Saturdays). Dates posted on Twitter.

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1. Lincoln Karaoke 5526 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Lincoln Square)

Lincoln Karaoke has a few private rooms so that you and your friends can belt out tunes at the top of your lungs without the fear of getting bad looks from those 'professionals'. They also have a whole host of props and extra instruments to give your performance that extra kick.

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2. Trader Todd's 3216 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 (Lakeview)

At Trader Todd's you can sing karaoke, drink in a beer garden setting and make a fool of yourself all in one place. Grab a mic and a tiki-tropical drink and start singing.

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3. AlleyCat Comics 5304 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

Alleycat Comics is a quaint little comic shop with anything but a small collection of comics. Come here not only to do your graphic novel/comic book shopping but also to sing some karaoke in a very different and unique setting.

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4. Jerry's Sandwiches 5419 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Wicker Park)

If you want amazing comfort food like Lobster Po Boys, a crazy long selection of craft beer try 150+ and karaoke all available at your fingertips, Jerry's in Wicker Park is the place for you.

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5. Stanley's Kitchen & Tap 1970 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (Sheffield Depaul)

This neighborhood dive bar has everything you could want for your local watering hole, cheap booze, DJs, dance floor and if you're lucky an appearance by the Naked Guy.

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6. Rory Lake's Karaoke Dreams 1824 W Cortland St., Chicago, IL 60622 (Bucktown)

This Karaoke joint is located at the local American Legion Post 923 and hosts professionals and amateurs alike. They also provide patrons with copious amounts of cheap booze that flows all night long.

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7. The Whistler 2421 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Started by two indie label owners/members of a punk acapella group (seriously), Whistler's a music venue so great, you'd happily hang out when no bands are playing: decked out w/ exposed brick, an L-shaped walnut bar top, reclaimed church pews and chairs with hymnal holders on back, and an intimate, nicotine-friendly back patio, where you can indulge in the habit that'll one day ensure daily prayer.



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