This story is part of an accidental series exploring New York nightlife.
After a colleague mentioned karaoke in the conversation last week, Molly Archuleta knew exactly where she wanted to spend her Friday night.
Ms. Archuleta, who lives in Bushwick, hops on the subway to go rose planetthe karaoke parlor in Alphabet City she discovered 12 years ago.
“The best part is that it’s an open karaoke experience, so you don’t know what to expect,” she said. “You have accountants to sing metal bands; you have out-of-towners who want to sing Celine Dion, and we’ll always support it.”
Even though there are plenty of private karaoke rooms around New York City, many people prefer a more public setting. At Rose Planet, they sang their favorite songs at the zebra-print booth and danced together as strangers performed on the faded checkered floor.
“People randomly come in and say, ‘It’s my mom’s anniversary and I want to sing her favorite song,’ or ‘I like it, my brother is getting married, and I’m excited,'” Ms. Archuleta said. “Everyone in life always needs some kind of safe release space.”
Of course, Planet Rose isn’t the only bar of its kind. Many New York venues host public karaoke nights that are popular with patrons and hosts.
Oliver Oliver, 26, hosted Sunday night karaoke for several weeks. Jadea pub on the corner of Bed-Stuy and Bushwick.
She usually kicks it off by performing Sisqo’s “Thong Song” — “it’s so dramatic, it shows you actually have a range as a singer” — and then tries to get customers to sing their own songs.
“Obviously, I respect boundaries. If someone says ‘I don’t want to sing,’ I think that’s fine,” she said. “But whenever a shy person can come on stage and sing, I’m always their number one hype. “
But no matter where she is, her success depends on the energy of the reading room.
“If there were a room full of white women, I’d probably sing ‘you should know,'” she said of the Alanis Morissette song. “If there’s an old auntie or someone who likes a mature sexy vibe, I’ll pick something from the ’90s R&B catalog. Sometimes, if I feel like I’m part of a gay family, I might sing Whitney Houston or Shani Attwain.”
In any case, she will try to find common ground.
“If they don’t have obvious things in common at first glance, you can at least know they’re all in the same place at the same time,” Ms Oliver said. “If you live in Bushwick in 2022, you must have heard a Charli XCX song.”
Jade Beyers, 36, co-owner and manager of Jade, said she experienced “enough karaoke for a lifetime” while bartending at karaoke on Sunday. But she still loves seeing people take the chance to dress up as characters or do silly things.
“You can feel comfortable in a space like this, where you can foolishly forget these words and not feel humiliated,” she said. “Because there’s just this undercurrent of love and care.”
Missy O’Reilly, 43, a co-owner of Planet Rose since 2007, said she doesn’t sing karaoke a lot herself, preferring to dance to other people’s performances.
“I need to be a little drunk with eggnog and hearing”christmas shoes‘ Motivated to sing,” she said.
But she fully understands the importance of creating a place where regulars can connect with each other, a place “where people are free to be vulnerable”.
“It’s a diverse group connected through this weird, tacky place, and they’ve just made that connection through karaoke,” she said. “Everyone is saying this is their church.”
Last Friday, Roy Marasigan — known to his friends as Cowboy Roy — performed Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “Three Knocks” at Planet Rose as he cheered for him at the bar.
Mr Marasigan, 44, a freelance video editor, said his odd schedule was part of the reason he had been at the bar since 2004.
“That’s the beauty of this place,” he said. “My weekend is sometimes like a Tuesday or Wednesday night, and I can stop any night and there’s always someone hanging out.”
Later in the evening, Mr Marasigan began to cry when he saw the two perform Florence + the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over.”
“It makes sense to sing a good song,” he said. “Happiness is so beautiful.”
Check the website or contact the venue to confirm karaoke hours; some people only do karaoke on certain nights of the week or month.
rose planet219 Avenue A, Planetrosenyc.com
sing81 Avenue A, singsingavea.com
Sing Karaoke San Marco9 St. Marks Square, karaokesingsing.com
161 Lafayette161 Lafayette Street, 161lafayettebar.com
Winnie the Pooh58 East Broadway (2nd Floor), instagram.com/winniesbar1987
Sid Gold’s Request Room165 West 26th Street, sidgolds.com
Mulberry Street Bar176 Mulberry Street
go up the stairs59 Canal Street