Our pick of Mother City venues hosting sing-song nights
First thing’s first – karaoke is actually quite a lot of fun. Most people know this; they just refuse to admit it. What people might not know is that the Mother City is home to quite a few bars and pubs where closet pop stars can warm their vocal cords and have a good time with friends.
So without further ado, here is an outline of the top karaoke venues in Cape Town (P.S.: don’t miss the funny karaoke videos we picked out for you at the bottom of this article).
TOP KARAOKE BARS IN CAPE TOWN
Aces ‘n’ Spades
This rock-inspired city centre-based pub offers music lovers the chance to see just how much fun they can have on the stage on its weekly karaoke nights! Taking place every Wednesday, the shindig, which is hosted by comedian Paul Snodgrass, invites anyone brave enough to live out their rock star dreams in the spotlight. Participants can choose to give their best versions of an array of classic rock ‘n’ roll tunes. And should they be concerned about the quality of their singing, they can take comfort in the fact that in this bar, “the worse you sing, the better it is.” At least, that’s according to owner Reg Macdonald. It’s also good to know that should you need some ‘liquid courage’, you can enjoy a free tequila shot, reserved exclusively for performers (you can perform as many times as you like, which means lots of tequila). The bar features a great vibe, and once the singing fun is over, special guest DJs (e.g. The Robfather) spin the decks until the early hours of the morning.
Entrance Fee: Free
Karaoke Times: Wednesday: 9pm – late
General Opening Hours: Wednesday – Saturday: 5pm – 2am
62 Hout Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 424 1620
On A Roll
Not only does this American-style diner serve up gourmet hot dogs and other tantalising grub, but it also gives those wanting to offer their best renditions of Seal’s ‘Kiss from a Rose’ and other classics a chance to rock out on stage on a Monday evening. Giving amateur singers access to a huge selection of tracks, this eatery’s sing-song evenings are free and relaxed, so karaoke personality types (this exists) who are shy on stage can flex their performance muscle comfortably. And if your vocal cords (and tummy) need some warming up, you can tuck into items from On A Roll’s menu, which features options like spare ribs, slow-cooked pork belly, burgers, milkshakes, frozen mojitos, drafts and more, all of which make it a great place to ease into the work week.
Entrance Fee: Free
Karaoke Times: Monday: 8pm – 11pm
General Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 3pm – late; Saturday: 1pm – late
78 Durban Road | Little Mowbray | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 685 9916
This Caribbean-style restaurant and hangout spot in the vibey Cape Town suburb of Observatory hosts a regular karaoke evening on Thursdays. Starting at 8pm, the event is filled with laughs, good food, great drinks and, of course, the chance to enjoy a night in front of the mic. If you need some support, bring your friends along and soak up the laidback atmosphere, dig into the half-price pizza, happy hour tipples (the special runs from 5pm to 7pm) and other scrumptious items (like burgers, chilli poppers and nachos) while you gear up to dazzle folk with your performance.
Entrance Fee: Free
Karaoke Times: Thursday: 8pm – 1am
General Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 12pm – late
92 Station Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 448 0516
Karaoke enthusiasts will most definitely have heard of Dizzys considering that the establishment has been giving folk the chance to have fun on the stage every Tuesday for the past 20 years. Located close to the ocean in Camps Bay, the laidback pub-style restaurant gives visitors a wide range of songs to choose from – expect anything from 70s hits right up to the most recent chart-topping numbers. Patrons pay a small fee of R30p/p to gain access to a stage that is open to any type of person, including groups (although, there is a maximum number of five people per ‘band’ allowed). Those who perform get a free shot. Aside from its karaoke evenings, the popular eatery is best known for its scrumptious pizzas, beer pong nights (on Sundays) and live music gigs (on Friday and Saturday evenings).
Entrance Fee: R30
Karaoke Times: Tuesday: 9:30pm – 12:30am
General Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 12pm – 4am
41 The Drive | Camps Bay | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 438 2686
Planet Sports Bar Bellville & Brackenfell
This Northern Suburbs-based bar, with branches in Bellville and Brackenfell, runs exciting day and nighttime karaoke sessions every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. The free, high-energy events invite participants to choose from a seemingly limitless list of tracks that span the decades, so they’re a great opportunity to step back in time or to even try your vocal cords at more recent top hits. The bars themselves offer a wide selection of drinks, have pool tables and feature a funky mixed vibe that encourages attendees to jam to anything from African house music and kwaito to other cool music genres. Friday and Saturday evenings are ‘club nights’ that are perfect for adding some energy and good times to the weekend.
Entrance Fee: Free
Karaoke Times: Bellville: Friday (3pm -2am), Saturday (2pm – 2am); Brackenfell: Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday from 8pm till 2am on all nights.
General Opening Hours: Bellville: Monday – Thursday: 12pm – 12am, Friday & Saturday: 12pm – 2am, Sunday: Closed; Brackenfell: Monday – Wednesday: 10am – 2am; Thursday: 10am – 4am; Friday – Saturday: 10am – 5am; Sunday: 12pm – 2am
Bellville: 50 Voortrekker Road | Bellville | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 945 2149
Brackenfell: Shop 54 Brackenfell Shopping Centre | Old Paarl Road | Brackenfell | +27 (0) 21 982 4054
Mitchell’s Waterfront Brewery
Whether someone’s coaxed you into getting on stage or you’re the type that unashamedly enjoys a round of karaoke, Mitchell’s Brewery at the V&A Waterfront is a place where you can enjoy a musical night out with family and friends on a Tuesday evening. A sing-along institution in its own right (it has been in the karaoke game for over 12 years), the eatery encourages people to get loose on stage and to just have some good-natured fun. The restaurant has grown to be a favourite hangout spot amongst locals and foreigners and offers food items such as steaks, burgers, wood-fired pizzas, seafood and more while also serving up a wide range of beer on tap. There are also regular food and drink specials on offer throughout the week.
Entrance Fee: Free
Karaoke Times: Tuesday: 9pm – 1am
General Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11am – 2am
Dock Road | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 419 5074
The Manila Bar
Arguably the most popular karaoke spot in the city, this bar makes it possible for music lovers to enjoy the perks of singing in front of a crowd almost every day of the week (from Tuesday to Saturday). The song list is quite beastly; chances are that regardless of which tune you request from the KJ (Karaoke DJ), it’ll be on the system. The stage is open to anyone and singers are encouraged to get the crowd involved so that everyone benefits from their song choice. The Manila Bar has quite an extensive assortment of shots, drinks and other beverages that can give your vocal cords the energy they need to take on any track. And if you’re looking to make an event out of a night at this venue (or if you want to celebrate your birthday here), there is a VIP area that can be booked out so you can really take karaoke to another level.
Entrance Fee: Entry costs R40p/p from Tuesday to Thursday (this price includes a R20 drink voucher on Tuesdays and Thursdays); the price of entrance varies on Fridays and Saturdays depending on special events being hosted on these nights.
Karaoke Times: Tuesday – Saturday: 8pm – 2am
General Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 8pm – 2am; Friday – Saturday: 8pm – 4am
161 Longmarket Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 424 9789
Brass Bell Restaurants & Pubs
If you’re the type of music fanatic that has exhausted all the karaoke classics, you’re in luck as Brass Bell, a much-loved seaside restaurant in Kalk Bay, features a database of more than 4000 songs (including both golden oldies and current hits) to fulfil every karaoke singer’s dream. Asking for an entrance fee of just R25p/p, the spot hosts a sing-song evening every Wednesday and gives amateur performers the chance to jam the night away. The restaurant itself is an ideal spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner and hosts an array of events throughout the week (think live music instalments, Friday night DJ sessions, blues evenings and more), so it’s easy to understand why this venue has become a popular hotspot amongst both the harbour town’s inhabitants and those from farther afield.
Entrance Fee: R25
Karaoke Times: Wednesday: 8pm – late
General Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 9am – 10:30pm; Saturday – Sunday: 8am – 11pm
Main Road | Kalk Bay | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 788 5455
3 OF THE MOST HILARIOUS, CRINGEWORTHY KARAOKE VIDEOS ON THE WEB
If you’re a karaoke newbie in need of some convincing as to just how fun the activity can be, here are three funny clips worth watching:
AND SOME BASIC KARAOKE RULES