My girlfriend and I went to a private karaoke bar in North Dallas last Saturday night. This was the second time we went to this place and I wanted to recommend others give these places a try in their hometowns. Because the private karaoke rooms are big in Japan and Korea, they tend to be springing up in the ole USofA under Asian management. I applaud the effort. As far as I know, two of them exist in DFW: Zellar Zone and Family Karaoke. There may be more, for all I know.
Private Karaoke Rooms
Family Karaoke is the place we went to. The name is a bit of a misnomer, because it’s open from 6pm until 4am and I’ve never seen anything resembling a family in the place. On Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays, it’s 21 and up after midnight. Both times I went, Family Karaoke was full of 20-something clientele. In fact, it’s an odd mixture of twenty-something Asians and Asian-Americans and twenty-something Texans who look like they either came from a club or came from a frat house. Music is split between English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, Indonesia, Russian, and Spanish. I’m taking their word for it on the last several of those. More on this in a minute.
The place itself is at 11433 Goodnight Lane a block off Stemmons/I-35. It’s not that far from Harry Hines, if you know what that means. The first time we went, I got completely lost, mainly because I didn’t read the billboard. Just turn at the Family Karaoke billboard. And if it’s down a dead end street, you’ve found it.
Karaoke Room Rates
Room rates on Friday, Saturday, or holidays is $25 per hour for a small room, $32 an hour for a medium room, and $45 an hour for a large room. Those rates change to $20/$25/$35 on Tuesday through Thursday and on Sunday. The place is closed on Mondays.
As for the rooms, the small room is enough for 5-10 people. It has 3 loveseat type couches and another leather chair. I saw into one of the large rooms one night and it’s big enough for 30 people–it was a big party event going on in there. The room rates may sound like a lot, but when you start talking about a bunch of people chipping in, it’s almost nothing.
Karaoke Music Selection
The music is where my only real complaint lies, which is a big complaint for a karaoke bar. While a lot of American songs are found on the playlist, they tend to be eclectic in the extreme. Many bands you wouldn’t expect to see have 5-10 selections, while many artists and bands you would expect to see a bunch of songs from have only 1-3. Also, the songs included aren’t always the ones you would expect. Look at the songlist on the website before you go and make sure you’ll be able to enjoy the selection. If you like country tunes, I suggest you stay away. It’s mainly rock, pop, r&B, and rap.
I had no problem finding songs to sing, but my girlfriend has a small set list of songs she likes and she doesn’t want to take the trouble to search for alternatives, so she’s been at a loss for songs after about an hour both times we went. I have a big list I use every time, though I branch out into new tunes when I get bored with staring at the list.
The Korean music videos are hilarious. As you sing, random Korean music videos play. These sometimes go perfect with the song, while other times they make no sense whatsoever. Some Korean movie about soldiers going through basic training and then dying in battle were playing while Maria was singing that godawful Celine Dion song from Titanic.
Food and Drink
One thing which surprised me was how good their food was. My girlfriend and I had gone to the gym earlier that day and had a light snack afterward, so we ended up getting the munchies after a couple of hours of wailing away. I got the tempura shrimp and she got a fried rice dish and they were both excellent. Mixed drinks are fairly limited on selection, but are available. All the usual beers apply, including domestic and imported beer. I’m not sure when the food service ends, but I ordered something after 1am.
Family Karaoke Main Room and Bar
The main room/waiting room at Family Karaoke has a huge screen tv which dominates the room. Hip hop videos play on the screen all the time. There’s a bit of room for dancing if people wish, as well as $3 per song for karaoke in the common room, but I’ve never seen that, either. Most of the room is taken up by tables between the bar and dance screen.
The staff is mostly Asian and altogether friendly. The security staff are large men of African American descent. As I mentioned before, much of the clientele is Asian, too, but everyone feels welcome. It’s a nice place to be and feels about as multicultural as you get in Dallas, Texas. Parking can be a pain and signs are posted mentioning that one of the businesses next door has you towed, while the other one is cool about people parking in their lot after 10pm. Be sure you don’t park in the wrong additional parking spot.
Why Go To a Private Karaoke Bar?
You might wonder why my girlfriend and I would go 2-man to a private karaoke bar. Well, she used to sing for money when she was a little younger, so she is a perfectionist. We went out to a couple of karaoke nights at regular bars and she didn’t like her performance. Me, the amateur, got a better reception, so she wanted to practice. Little does she know that being a GM for many years and doing all kinds of wacky voices has helped me train my voice in a roundabout fashion. Frankly, I like singing with all the other drinkers, but I’m just along for the ride. Still, if you get tired of only having 2-4 songs per night at a big karaoke bar, you might like getting a room to yourself.
My voice is always shot after two hours, which is a good thing. You can only reserve the room for 2 hours at a time. If you don’t have a big crowd (people in line), they’ll let you continue with no trouble. If you have a crowd, it’s two hours and that’s it. The first time we went, it was the cold of February and the house was packed. This last weekend, it was Cinco de Mayo and nobody was around. Go figure.
Whatever the case, I highly recommend the private karaoke bar. It’s a hoot.