Sing to spring: Guide to karaoke nights in Eugene
Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon once said people go to rock shows to watch other people believe in themselves. The same can be said of karaoke — except it’s usually free, and the singing is generally a whole lot worse. Invented in Japan in 1971, this ingenious little technology has allowed millions of drunken revelers to fulfill their rock-star dreams, with all the self-awareness rock stars usually don’t have. Karaoke isn’t about hitting the right notes but about transcending your inability to do so — or, if you can hit the right notes, getting the audience you deserve. It’s a spiritual, if occasionally terrifying, experience. If you feel up to it, there’s karaoke in Eugene every night of the week. Here are just a few of your options.
— Holly Caswell, bartender, Agate Alley Bistro
AGATE ALLEY BISTRO
1461 E. 19th Ave.
Sunday, 9 p.m.
Singing karaoke at Agate Alley Bistro can feel a bit like playing a basement punk show: the lighting is dim, the ceiling is low, there’s no stage and it’s packed to the brim with drunk people. Take advantage of the bar’s plushy atmosphere to sing your favorite Billie Holiday song — or rile up the packed crowd with some Clash or Green Day. It’s Sunday night, so it might not be optimal for the busier among us. But Agate Alley has no shortage of treats for the rest of the week, not least its infamous Thursday night drink wheel.
Also on Sunday: Embers, 7 p.m.; Quackers, 9 p.m.; Webfoot, 9 p.m.
— Aubree Ridge, bartender, The Barn Light
924 Willamette St.
Thursday, 9 p.m.
By day, the Barn Light is an inconspicuous little cafe, a great place to sit and study. By night, it transforms into Willamette Street’s prime party spot, as famous for its Frito pie as it is for its “world famous” karaoke on Thursday nights. The Barn Light’s karaoke nights mostly draw a younger 20-something college crowd, including a lot of regulars, and though it’s often packed, the turnover of songs is generally pretty quick.
Also on Thursday: The Cooler, 10 p.m.; Dexter Lake Club, 7 p.m., Driftwood, 9 p.m.; Island Hut, 6 p.m.; The Old Pad, 9 p.m.
— Jacob Franklin, bartender, Black Forest
50 E 11th Ave
Monday, Wednesday, 9 p.m.
College students and metalheads collide at the Black Forest to drink every evening, and the karaoke is as unpredictable as the clientele. This one’s on a stage overlooking the entire bar, so those with stage fright would do well to stay away from this high-stakes karaoke event. (Mondays are less crowded.) Whether you’re hamming it up with “Hello” or massacring your lungs on “Master of Puppets,” there’s no better place to indulge your pipes.
Also on Monday: Embers, 7 p.m.; Gridiron, 8 p.m.; Porky’s Palace, 8 p.m.
Also on Wednesday: Cornucopia, 9 p.m.
— Josh Cook, bartender, Webfoot
839 E 13th Ave
Sunday, 9 p.m.
If you want to sing and you want to sing now, Webfoot’s karaoke sessions are for you. Seeing as most people won’t want to get drunk enough on a Sunday night to waddle up to the mic, the audience is scant and the waiting list is usually short; at times there’ll be enough of a void that the karaoke presenters will step up to sing themselves. The song menu features both smash hits and hipster fare (there’s even a Courtney Barnett song in the books!). Don’t worry about pleasing the crowd; there might not be much of one anyway.
Also on Sunday: Agate Alley Bistro, 9 p.m. Embers, 7 p.m.; Quackers, 9 p.m.
1290 Oak St
Tuesday, 9 p.m.
Like Black Forest, Level Up has a stage, but if you’re worried about the whole bar judging you, no worries. University of Oregon students’ preferred gamer bar is almost always noisy as hell, so your mangling of “Call Me Maybe” will likely blend into the din of bleeps, bloops and assorted drunkenness. Furthermore, a good half of the bar is well out of sight of the karaoke stage. This is a good place to go if you just want to sing with nobody judging you. (Keep in mind, though, that the lyrics of whatever song you sing will be broadcast on screens throughout the bar).
Also on Tuesday: White Horse Saloon, 9 p.m.
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