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Celebrate National Karaoke Week With These Chicago Spots

By Mason Johnson

After a late night and a little too much booze, people often wake up to find they texted embarrassing confessions to their crushes or horrific selfies to friends. After a night of too much fun, I wake up the next day to find I texted my friends to see if they wanted to do karaoke -- my true vice.

Whether karaoke's vital to your life or you've never been (and might be a little afraid to go), the below establishments will treat you well. Plus, it's National Karaoke Week, so get out there!Karaoke Hamburger Mary's

Hamburger Mary's

5400 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 784-6969

As it turns out, Hamburger Mary's has more to offer than amazing burgers, fried twinkies and great shakes (with alcohol!).

Sundays and Wednesdays are "Maryoke" nights at this LGBT-friendly bar. Their upstairs is large and roomy, letting you decide whether you want to dance up front as karaoke enthusiasts belt their favorite tunes, or sit comfortably in back and observe from afar.

Sakura Lounge
(Photo Credit: Sakura Lounge's Facebook)

Sakura Karaoke Lounge

234 W Cermak Rd
Chicago IL 60616
(312) 326-9168
Sakura Karaoke Lounge's Facebook

Sakura's a change from the dive-bar karaoke you'll usually find around Chicago. With more of a club look, and accompanied by spiffy drinks and cocktails, Sakura's got the aesthetic people who've never done karaoke expect from a karaoke bar. They also have box karaoke -- private rooms -- if you want to keep things intimate with just you and your friends.

The song selection can feel a bit odd. They'll have up-to-date pop hits, but sometimes be missing what you might consider karaoke classics. I remember when I first went there, you'd occasionally come to a song in their computer with a title that wasn't in English, but featured a photo of an artist you were quite familiar with. So you'd click Will Smith's face, assuming it was something along the lines of "Gettin Jiggy Wit It," but possibly be presented with a Will Smith song you never knew existed. This sounds awful, but was actually sort of fun, almost like a karaoke Russian roulette. Anyway, this doesn't happen there too often anymore.

Lincoln Karaoke
(Photo Credit: Lincoln Karaoke's Facebook)

Lincoln Karaoke

5526 N Lincoln
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 895-2299

Lincoln Karaoke is probably the most professional karaoke place out there. It's got the best gear, the nicest aesthetic and large private rooms.

While I prefer divier karaoke in front of a large crowd, Lincoln Karaoke is ideal for people who only want to party with their friends, or happen to be planning a bachelor/ette party.

(Photo Credit: Mason Johnson)

Alice's Lounge

3556 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 279-9382
Alice's Facebook

Alice's is the best, which is to say, it's my favorite, which is to say, I have better taste than you, so my favorite is also objectively the best.

It's certainly not the best because of the cramped shape of the bar or the occasionally insufferable birthday party. It's the best because of its karaoke DJ, Fred, who is unequivocally the best in the city. The man has props, and he's not afraid to use 'em. He's also got an amazing song list he's always updating, keeps his gear in great condition, has a highly entertaining (and dry) sense of humor, and works hard to ensure the most fun for everyone at the bar.

This 4 am bar has karaoke on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It starts at 11pm, get there early if you want to squeeze more than one song in.

Photo from the now-defunct Karaoke Idol! Chicago (Photo Credit: Mason Johnson)

Notable Mentions

First, a shoutout to dive bar karaoke -- my favorite kind of karaoke. It often offers the weirdest audiences and the cheapest drinks, my favorite parts of karaoke. Sidekick's way up North is a dart bar that's large and cheap enough with fried food on hand when you need to even out those cheap beers and shots you've been chugging. Hidden Cove is my favorite of the dive bars, featuring a similar feeling to Sidekick's, minus the darts, with a decent amount of room and cheap drinks. (How many times have I said "cheap drinks" in this article?) Spyners Pub is a little smaller than the previous two, but has just as much charm. The clientele is largely lesbian, with the occasional lost group of dudes in suits who look like they work in the loop, which is to say, it's fun to sing with the strangers you meet at the bar.

Piece offers amazing, though crowded, live band karaoke every Saturday night. So grab some pizza and perform with an actual band behind you. Reggie's Music Joint, often host to fun rock and punk shows populated by 21-year-olds, also has a karaoke night on Wednesdays, though it appears to be on hiatus.

Wherever you go to do karaoke, just remember: it's not about being good, it's just about having fun.

Mason Johnson is a Web Content Producer for CBS Chicago. You can find him on Twitter.

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