5. Cactus Jack's
The scene: Most Thursday nights at this Ahwatukee tavern mean “Rockaroke” – karaoke with live local band, the Zen Lunatics. The environs are sports-centric neighborhood beer hall meets well-staged music venue, complete with black-curtained, fire engine-red stage. 8:30 p.m. to midnight.
The songs: Expect to hear a heavy dose of classic rock, from AC/DC to ZZ Top.
(4747 E. Elliot Rd., Phoenix, 480-753-4733, cactusjacksbar.co)
4. The Grapevine Restaurant & Karaoke Bar
The scene: Scottsdalians have been swilling and singing their hearts out among the slatted-wood walls and formica-topped tables in this two-story monolith in Old Town since 1971. Karaoke fills the air nightly, starting at 5 p.m. and carrying on until close.
The songs: As diverse as the crowd. Anything from current Top 40 country to 1970s R&B hits.
(4013 N. Brown Ave., Scottsdale, 480-994-1792, grapevineaz.com)
3. Kobalt Bar
The scene: It may seem but a modest-size gay bar in a large shopping plaza at first, too cramped for elbow room or for squeezing through the crowd without getting tangled in a wig or two, but stay a while and sing a tune, and you'll start to feel like a genie in a bottle. The party starts at 9 p.m. Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
The songs: A lot of pop and Top 40. Show tunes are inevitable.
(3110 N. Central Ave., Ste 125, Phoenix, 602-264-5307, kobaltbarphoenix.com)
2. Brigett's Last Laugh
The scene: Billing itself as “Your 5-Star Dive Bar,” Brigett's is the neighborhood-bar capital of karaoke, with patrons crooning tunes into microphones seven nights a week, starting at 9 p.m. Much of the packed house is pretty relaxed (read: a few rounds in) by the time it's time to sing, so the vibe is way more wild and loose than most karaoke joints.
The songs: Somebody always sings an Alanis Morissette song, and George Jones is typically also on tune-tap.
(17222 N. Cave Creek Rd., Phoenix, 602-788-0507, brigetts.com)
1. Geisha A Go-Go
The scene: Possibly the most expensive, upscale karaoke you'll ever do. With some sushi on the side. There's karaoke in the main restaurant, but those who don't want to pass the mic might prefer to reserve one of the private karaoke rooms, which come with awesome acoustics, stacks of song selections, and price tags ranging from $50 to $100 an hour.
The songs: Whatever you want to warble, they'll have it on deck. Don't stop believin'.
(7150 E. Sixth Ave., Scottsdale, 480-699-0055, geishaagogo.com)
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