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Arts and Entertainment

The Best Karaoke Bars In Los Angeles

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Got an urge to sing in public? Whether you want to belt out Journey, Vicente Fernandez or the latest K-pop, we've got you covered. As always, leave your favorite places (or lyrics) in the comments.


Women singing and hydrating at Brass Monkey (Photo by Donielle via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
Cafe Brass Monkey

We're not sure why this popular karaoke spot has the word "cafe" in its name because it is most definitely a dive bar—a crowded one at that where you can belt out your favorite tunes in a drunken stupor on stage. It's fun for groups and birthday parties, and most definitely gets crowded on the weekends. It's such a hotspot that we highly suggest you put in your song requests well before 9 p.m. or you won't get to do your rendition of "Bust a Move." (Try not to be intimidated by the regulars there that seem like contestants from American Idol.) There is a two-drink minimum though, but if you were already planning to get tossed anyway, it won't really matter. Plus, you can grub on their greasy bar food to coat your stomach so you won't be hungover the next day. Pro-tip: there's free parking with validation at an adjacent structure after 5 p.m. —Jean Trinh

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Cafe Brass Monkey is located at 3440 Wilshire Blvd. in Koreatown, (213) 381-7047

Oil Can Harry's

If you like your karaoke at a western-themed gay bar, then Studio City's very own Oil Can Harry's is for you. Every Friday and Saturday the upstairs part of the bar has the kind of karaoke that only a divey gay cowboy bar could envision. The crowd is great, the drinks are cheap and strong, and the vibe is unmatched. Also, stars such as LeAnn Rimes and Amy Adams (who gave a Broadway-ready rendition of "Defying Gravity" from Wicked a couple of weeks ago) have been known to frequent the joint. —Matthew Bramlett

Oil Can Harry's 11502 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, 818-760-9749

Max Karaoke Studio

If you don't like singing in front of huge crowds of strangers, and would rather belt out songs in front of your nearest and dearest, Max Karaoke is the spot for you. The karaoke chain has several private rooms in each of their locations in West L.A., Little Tokyo and Torrance. They have a killer song selection in a variety of languages and on top of that even have discounted happy hour rates. They don't sell alcohol or snacks, but you're able to bring your own outside food and drinks (supposedly non-alcoholic) into the place for just a $1 fee per person. —Jean Trinh

Max Karaoke Studio is located at 2130 Sawtelle Blvd. #101 in West L.A., (310) 479-1477; 1757 W. Carson St. #H in Torrance, (310) 787-1330; and 333 S. Alameda St. #216 in Little Tokyo, (213) 620-1030


The rooms at Gaam are spacious and comfy, they're well-ventilated in case you work up a sweat and the sound is great. They serve up food as well as booze. They've got Japanese and Korean, as well as a selection of English songs. It's a little bit spendy, but you won't get nickel-and-dimed. And hey, if you're not able to get a room, the good news is you're stumbling distance from a bajillion other places in K-town.

Gaam is located at 3309 W 6th St, (213) 908-5581

Ground Control at Complex

Some of the best karaoke joints in town don't necessarily have the best selections. That's where Ground Control at Complex comes in. This "alternative karaoke" on Monday nights is where you can sing "Running Up That Hill," the entire Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack and a bunch of other songs you probably can't find in K-town.

Complex is located at 806 E. Colorado St. in Glendale, (323) 642-7519


The Smog Cutter (Photo by Alejandro De La Cruz via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
The Gaslite

Westsiders have their own karaoke dive bar—and that's the Gaslite. It may be dark and dingy there, but the place gets crowded. Plus, it has a casual and unpretentious vibe for even the most novice karaoke crooner. There's karaoke every night of the week at this joint and the stage has a serious set-up with two mic stands and big-screen TVs, so you won't miss every lyric to Toto's "Africa." And in case you might have missed it, Jewel played a prank on the patrons there once for a Funny or Die video where she disguised herself as a businesswoman and perfectly sang her "You Were Meant For Me" and wowing the audience. —Jean Trinh

The Gaslite is located at 2030 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica, (310) 829-2382


Nothing to see here, just porn star karaoke (Photo by swilk0 via the Creative Commons on Flickr)

Sardo's does karaoke 7 days a week, but the main draw is Porn Star Karaoke on Tuesday nights. This isn't themed karaoke, this is actual porn stars showing up to do karaoke. It's an old tradition that we hope continues despite the county's ban on condomless porn. What are you doing on a Tuesday night anyway?

Sardo's is located at 259 N Pass Ave, Burbank, (818) 846-8126

Smog Cutter

Calling a karaoke bar "divey" seems redundant, but this bar has a little more cred than most: it is rumored to have been an old haunt of Bukowski. Don't be scared: order your two minimum drinks, tip your host and enjoy yourself at this den of ill repute.

Smog Cutter is located 864 N Virgil Ave, East Hollywood, (323) 660-4626

Eastside Luv

This isn't really a karaoke bar, but you won't find a better place in town to belt out deep cuts from Vicente Fernández, Juan Gabriel and Morrissey, of course. There's mariachi karaoke, too. Keep an eye out for karaoke-themed evenings (usually Thursdays) on their event page or Facebook. And because this isn't a karaoke bar, you better know the lyrics by heart (or at least have them cued up on your cell when you go up on stage).

Eastside Luv is located at 1835 E 1st Street in Boyle Heights, (323) 262-7442