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Where You Can Belt It Out

April 11, 2002|Julia Gaynor

Amagi's--It calls itself "L.A.'s premier karaoke spot," but this was probably a few years ago. Pro: You can sing every night at this Japanese restaurant-karaoke bar. Con: You have to pay $1 per song request, and it's usually a few notches shy of cutting edge. 6114 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 464-7497.

Barney's Beanery--What karaoke may have felt like during the Depression: lifeless and droning. You'd be better off staying home and singing in the shower. 8447 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 654-2287.

Boardwalk 11--Boardwalk 11 elevates karaoke to a sophisticated and elegant singing experience. You'll feel more like a lounge singer at this swanky karaoke supper club on the Westside with its sound system. Karaoke every day from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. 10433 National Blvd., West L.A., (310) 837-5245.

Brass Monkey--The Monkey lets you sing every night, but if you want to let your hair down with a good-looking crowd, the weekends are your best bet. 659 S. Mariposa Ave., Koreatown, (213) 381-7047.

Dimples--Their "extreme sport" version of karaoke has props, an applause machine and claims to be America's first karaoke bar. It's on every day from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., but stay away on the weekends if you want to avoid a $5 cover charge and some loud and aggressive patrons. 3413 W. Olive Ave., Burbank, (818) 842-2336.

Dublin's--The infamous bar with the "frat party" feel--conveniently located just across the Sunset Strip from Myagi's--will soon start having karaoke again Sunday nights after a short hiatus. 8240 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 656-0100.

Fubar--Only on Tuesdays can you catch "Barry Dwight Lamano's Karaoke Extravaganza," which is always fun, if only for Barry's running commentary between songs. Smack in the middle of West Hollywood, Fubar draws a mixed crowd for its karaoke night. 7994 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 654-0396.

The Farmers Market--The karaoke at this L.A. institution is limited to Saturday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Unless you're an old pro, you might not actually sing, but it's great for watching kitsch karaoke at its best and revving up to sing later that night at a more nonprofessional friendly joint. East Patio, Farmer's Market, corner of 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue. (323) 933-9211.

The Gaslite--With an Eastside edge and "down home" feel, this dimly lit, garland- and Christmas-tree-light-strewn watering hole has a friendly staff and is good for occasional celebrity spotting and eccentric regulars. 2030 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 829-2382.

Karaoke Bleu--If you don't want too much attention paid to your singing talents, Karaoke Bleu is the place for you. Where Sawtelle and Olympic meet there's a kind of karaoke corner, with three Japanese karaoke places. Karaoke Bleu is a western-style karaoke bar, but singing here is more of a sideshow than the main event. Karaoke nightly from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. 2064 Sawtelle Blvd., West L.A., (310) 477-4794.

Liquid Kitty--Great name, great venue, too many baseball caps. Monday nights, a young, probably UCLA-heavy crowd comes here to sing and screech at this Westside watering hole. 17780 W. Pico Blvd., West L.A., (310) 473-3707.

Miyagi's--The legendary Sunset Strip magnet for pretty young things, hardly any of whom actually live anywhere near the Sunset Strip, will be relaunching its celebrity-studded (Britney, Christina, 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys ... ) Tuesday night karaoke later this month. 8225 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 650-3524.

Moomba--Monday nights at Moomba feature the always outrageous Alexis Arquette, who hosts a fun sing-along alternative to the otherwise overhyped nightclub in West Hollywood. 665 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-652-6364.

The Queen Mary--Transvestites share space with Valley girls in this relaxed but campy bar, complete with working fireplace and Victorian paintings. There's a big stage with three backup microphones in case you want to add that Destiny's Child flavor to your song. Wednesday and Thursday nights. 12449 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 506-5619.

The Red Lion--Monday nights at the Red Lion have been described as "ghetto karaoke," which might appeal to the Smog Cutter crowd. 2366 Glendale Blvd.,Silver Lake, (323) 662-5337.

Smog Cutter--L.A.'s hippest dive karaoke bar has some kind of singing every night but Tuesday. 864 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 667-9832.

Star Shoes--In the heart of "new Hollywood," along the Cahuenga corridor, even this so-hot-it-smolders saloon plans to add karaoke to its schedule in the coming months, or maybe even weeks. 6364 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 462-7827.

Vaskia--For the bashful or those who want to hog the microphone, Vaskia is one of many traditional Asian-style karaoke venues in the heart of Koreatown with private rooms. You can choose a room for one--great for practicing before your big debut--or rent one to fit up to 15. Hourly rates for private rooms: $20 to $30. Open every day from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. 3377 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown, (213) 351-0070.

Zen--Another place that charges $1 per song. It has potential, with its super-trendy Silver Lake location, but hasn't really found its audience yet. 2609 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake, (323) 665-2929.

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