Sometimes, you’ve just got to sing. Out loud. With music. In front of all your friends. If you find yourself in Minnesota with an irrepressible desire to belt out a tune or two to a mostly-receptive audience, you won’t be disappointed. Here are our favorite karaoke bars in the state.
Yes—you read that correctly. What is quite possibly the best karaoke bar in the Minnesota (City Pages thinks so) is the James Ballentine VFW, Post 246, in the Uptown neighborhhod of Minneapolis. Awesome hosts, an enthusiastic crowd, and weekly karaoke on the “big stage” make this a can’t-miss spot for amateur crooners.
R.T. Quinlan’s Saloon is punched into the guts of an historic building in downtown Duluth. The windowless room creates a speakeasy atmosphere. But it also creates a joyful camaraderie for its long-running karaoke night, every Wednesday. Hosted by a member of the local improve company, the karaoke night banter is almost as good as the singing.
Want to sing “White Christmas” on Christmas? “White Rabbit” on Easter? Then head over to Otter’s Saloon, where you can belt out tunes to your heart’s content 365 nights per year (we assume it’s 366 during leap years). Happy hours, specials, and awesome hosts make for lively, good times at Otter’s.
This West 7th Street institution draws a crowd most every night for happy hours, meat raffles, bingo, trivia, and on Saturday nights, karaoke. In spite of its sizable space, Joe & Stan’s manages to maintain its neighborhood bar feel, which creates a congenial, sing-along atmosphere on karaoke nights.
You can let your hair down and your voice out two nights a week at the Loose Moose Saloon in downtown Mankato. The Loose Moose’s karaoke nights are Friday and Saturday, with alternating hosts, so you’ll get a different vibe and maybe hear (and sing) different songs every other time.
The 1029 Bar has a lot going for it: A Nordeast location, Smack Shack food, a recent nod for “Best Neighborhood Bar”—and karaoke five nights every week. A huge song selection and a stellar sound system packs folks in Wednesday through Sunday nights every week. The bar gets crowded quickly, so show up early to score seats.
In addition to serving up some of the state’s best pizza, Pizza Lucé is all sorts of awesome on Monday nights. Their karaoke night is one of the most eclectic, and probably draws the most diverse crowd of any in the city. Moreover, it coincides with their late-night beer specials. Beer for $2 while someone sings “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere?” Could it get any better?
The Vegas Lounge is another Northeast Minneapolis bar with karaoke on more nights than not. In addition to a deep songbook and a dedicated crowd of singers for karaoke, Vegas Lounge also hosts bingo twice a week and serves up several specials, including happy hours and $2 Tuesdays.
Wednesday night is karaoke night at Wellington’s Pub and Grill in Winona—and has been for years. This is Winona’s longest-running weekly karaoke night. So, a combination of crooning regulars and a steady rotation of college students keep the tunes rolling and the scene vibrant.
Sushi Tango is an Uptown stalwart to which singers flock on Tuesday nights. A great set of regulars and an awesome host help to make this a particulary awesome karaoke venue. Sushi and drink specials certainly don’t hurt, either. Sushi Tango can get pretty packed on karaoke nights, so arriving early is a good idea.