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Top Karaoke Spots In Philadelphia

Most people have one of two views on karaoke: they either love it or hate it. Fortunately, for those that love it, karaoke is one Japanese import that isn’t going anywhere. And for Philadelphians looking to show off their singing chops, there are plenty of places to choose from. Below are some of the best.
McGillin's Olde Ale House
1310 Drury St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 735-5562

McGillin's is the "longest continuously operating bar in Philadelphia," having opened in 1860 -- the year Lincoln was elected president. These days, however, McGillin's is the premier spot for karaoke on Sundays and Wednesdays in Midtown Village. McGillin's is frequently considered to be the best Irish pub in Philly and can get quite packed, even on a Wednesday night. It has an upstairs bar, which has a more relaxed vibe and can be a relief from a not-so-good singer as well as the crowd. The bar has weekly beer specials, and on Wednesday nights, you can order two tacos for a buck. Karaoke starts at 9 p.m.

Yakitori Boy
211 N. 11th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 923-8088

Yakitori Boy is an upscale Japanese restaurant located in Chinatown. It specializes in Japanese tapas (also known as "Japas"), but the main attraction is its karaoke, where kicking off your heels with your friends in one of the soundproof private karaoke rooms or watching other guests perform their renditions of "Don't Stop Believing" in the public karaoke lounge has never been better. Yakitori Boy is great for a large group to share food, drinks and take turns singing. It's best to reserve a private room or a table in the public lounge on the weekends, since it can become over-crowded with wannabe rock stars and spectators.

Related: Top Ballroom Dance Studios In Philadelphia

Ray's "Happy Birthday" Bar
1200 E. Passyunk St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 365-1169

This hipster dive bar has been serving the South Philly community for nearly 75 years, and the interior has not changed much since it first opened. Ray's "Happy Birthday Bar" has, however, created nightly events to keep up with the times. One of those events is karaoke every Friday night hosted by DJ Lars starting at 9:30 p.m. DJ Lars has thousands of song choices and is the regular karaoke DJ at other bars in the area, such as Brownies and Locust Bar. At Ray's, the patrons' song choices are diverse, ranging from the obscure to the usual classic rock tunes, and the karaoke room is normally standing room only. Be aware that because Ray's does not serve food, it remains a smoking bar.

National Mechanics
22 S. 3rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 701-4883

Tuesday night is karaoke night at this Old City bar and restaurant. National Mechanics, a fun bar located in an old bank, is also often crowded and can bring in singers with some serious chops. No pressure for those who haven't quite honed their skills in the singing department, though, as they will fit right in as well. A big screen projecting the lyrics is behind the singers, allowing for the spectators to follow along. They easily get carried away while watching the performances and are often supportive.

Locust Bar
235 S. 10th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 925-2191

Another karaoke spot for singing enthusiasts is Locust Bar, which has karaoke every Sunday night from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m. Like Ray's "Happy Birthday" Bar, DJ Lars is the regular karaoke host here and offers the same amount of unique and typical song choices. This small neighborhood dive bar is a hidden gem and the drinks are cheap. Locust Bar is a smoking establishment, but still serves inexpensive food and is a great place to belt out your favorite tunes if you don't mind the smoke.

Related: Top Spots With Happy Hours Every Weeknight In Philadelphia

Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on
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