Your guide to the 10 best karaoke bars in LA (including the 4am one)

Published On 03/18/2014 Published On 03/18/2014

It's no surprise that LA's got a ridiculous number of places to sing karaoke, since we also have a SUPER-RIDICULOUS number of people who think they're good singers. What is a surprise though, is how little information there is out there on 'em, which's why we put together this sweet-ass guide, so you can tell a 4am karaoke bar apart from an "Adult Film Star Karaoke" one.


Best Karaoke For: Beachcombers
The Whaler (click here for address and deets)
This tiny Venice dive's one of those karaoke bars that subsists on charm and not much else, unless you count the extremely colorful locals and heavy-pour drinks that've made it a longtime favorite. Which we will. (Sun, Mon, and Thurs only.)

Mary Chellamy

Best Karaoke For: Insomniacs
Max Karaoke (click here for address and deets)
Little Tokyo/West LA/Torrance
This rent-a-room-by-the-hour mini-chain regularly updates its lists with ultra-current songs, which is great if you want to prove your devotion to One Direction. Also awesome? Their hours. They're open 'til 3am on weekdays and 4am on weekends, meaning you now actually have an answer when your friends ask, "What now?" after last call.

Brass Monkey

Best Karaoke If: You've already had a few, and by a "few", we mean, "way more than a few"
Brass Monkey (click here for address and deets)
Its dark, it's grimy, and you're guaranteed to hear "Gangnam Style" at least once, but this beloved K-town dive has a monstrous drinks list, stellar hangover food, and a very un-judgy clientele, which means now is finally the time for that "Bohemian Rhapsody" group-sing, people.

Brian Erzen/Facebook

Best Karaoke If: You're Downtown and just had "a few"
The Falls (click here for address and deets)
Since parting ways with now-defunct Lava Lounge, Kinky Karaoke has been going strong for the last few years at this golden, Downtown cocktail bar, which has a high-energy host who ensures your version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is the bar's more memorable ever (... until someone else sings it). (Sunday only.)


Best Karaoke For: "Hey Now"
Sardos (click here for address and deets)
This hole-in-the-wall Valley dive hosts "Adult Film Star Karaoke" once a week -- a meet-up point for actors & actresses (but hopefully mostly actresses) who get together and sing not-at-all-predicatable songs like... "I Want Your Sex". (Tuesday only.)


Best Karaoke If: You're just not that into Katy Perry
The Complex (click here for address and deets)
Started a year ago as a reaction to the by-the-numbers karaoke everywhere else, Ground Control Karaoke's basically your spot to sing if you weren't exactly a Glee Club kid in school. The venue's got a custom book with multiple selections from out-there-as-far-as-karaoke-is-concerned artists like Perfect Circle, Arcade Fire, and The Smiths (LOTS of Smiths songs), with a smattering of mainstream picks, just in case. (Mondays only.)


Best Karaoke If: You can really sing
The Gaslite (click here for address and deets)
Santa Monica
Crowds at this Wilshire bar can be harsh if you don't bring it (pro tip: this is NOT the time for that "Bohemian Rhapsody" group-sing), but if you can wail, it's go-time. If you light 'em up, they'll keep screaming for more, and if you become a regular, they'll make sure you get up there a bunch -- even on a busy night.

Flickr user jaredeberhardt

Best Karaoke If: You can't carry a tune
Smog Cutter (click here for address and deets)
This dump -- we use the word sparingly, but this place is definitely that -- is full of the oddest weirdos anywhere, has a terrible song book, and extra-cheap drinks. So if you can't hit a single note during "Livin' On A Prayer", you're fine. No one will notice.

Boardwalk 11

Best Karaoke If: You're really good at making decisions
Boardwalk 11 (click here for address and deets)
West LA
Often called the best karaoke bar in LA, this spot has (wait for it...) 50,000+ songs in its song book, which means you'll have to come by at least three times before even understanding the selection, let alone choosing something.

Jennie Sanchez

Best Karaoke If: You've ever wanted to sing while a lovely lady strips next to you
Dragonfly (click here for address and deets)
Stripperaoke is exactly what it sounds like: some chick pole dances while you try to concentrate on getting the words right to Clarence Carter's "Strokin'". Good luck with that. (Sundays only.)

That's Thrillist LA's Senior City Editor, Jeff Miller, in the above photo, singing "Humpty Dance", which he changes the lyrics to every time. Get at him on Twitter @thrillistla and on Instagram at @jeffmillerla.

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1. The Falls 626 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

The Falls is an ultra-casual (read: divey) Downtown bar from the woman responsible for classic tiki dive the Lava Lounge, who left the game to try her hand at jewelry making, and now is back to booze, proving once and for all that she really should've just gone to Jared.

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2. Sardo's 259 N Pass Ave, Burbank, CA 91505

This Burbank grill and lounge is the perfect spot to sport your pipes and belt out a tune for a spirited night of karaoke. They feature more than 20,000 songs ranging across many different genres, not to mention cheap drinks and free parking.

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3. Max Karaoke 333 South Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

Partying at Max is never a bad idea for great singers, terrible ones, and everyone in between. Max offers a festive atmosphere and special drink prices to help you muster up the courage to get on stage.

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4. The Venice Whaler 10 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292 (Venice)

A Venice landmark, this beachside spot has been serving up market-fresh dishes and high-quality craft cocktails since the '40s. Be sure to try the fish tacos, or split some of their small bites or an artisan pizza with your group -- a group you should also convince to join in the Whaler's Monday night karaoke. While you're there, you'll want to head up to the second-floor patio bar for some gorgeous ocean views, particularly at sunset.

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5. The Gaslite 2030 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403 (Santa Monica)

The Gaslite is part karaoke dive, part pseudo nightclub (read: no velvet ropes or bottle service, but a bustling dance floor nonetheless) in Santa Monica. The dimly lit, decades old joint is open until 2am every day, dedicated to providing guests with an ample place to dance, sing, or a place to just grab a late night, mid-week (cheap) drink in an unpretentious atmosphere on Wilshire Boulevard. Also of note: free popcorn.

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6. Complex 806 E Colorado St, Glendale, CA 91205 (Glendale)

Not just what you have about circus clowns (but seriously, think about how dark and dead their souls must be), Complex is a dark-in-a-different-way, divey 150-person-cap music venue and booze hall in the heart of Glendale.

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7. Brass Monkey Karaoke 659 S Mariposa Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005 (Koreatown)

Brass Monkey is a bit on the smaller side, so if you want to get a spot and sing your heart out, get there early and reserve a spot.

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8. Boardwalk 11 10433 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034-4681

This true karaoke bar boasts a solid menu of both draft and bottled beers and other drinks to be used as fuel to power your ballads, which come from a list of more than 50,000 songs to choose from.

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9. Dragonfly Bar 6510 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90038 (Hollywood)

This Hollywood club is for more than just boozing and dancing: come here for quirky shows like Point Break Live! and wild Bingo nights.

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10. Smog Cutter 864 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029 (Hollywood)

Smog Cutter is a Hollywood dive/karaoke bar that's got awesome music, lively bartenders, and an even-livelier crowd.



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