There’s no better time for KTV than Chinese New Year. Gwen Pew and Ma Xiangyu test out five of the best karaoke venues in town where you can get a private room for your party.
1 Feb 2013:
BEST FOR J-POP LOVERS
Cash Studio has been around for quite some time now – and it shows. The décor wears thin at parts and their song selection system isn’t touchscreen, which seems strangely old-fashioned in today’s scene. But their sound system, mics, TVs and song selection’s navigability – the most important elements of karaoke – all work well, which proves that old can still be good. People don’t just come to Cash Studio because it’s cheap, though. They come, too, for the Daiichikosho-produced DAM karaoke systems, which have a pretty updated range of J-Pop, J-Rock, anime fare and more. One word of warning: if you want to use the DAM machines (which are programmed in Japanese and separate from the English-language song selection), know your hiragana and your katakana, or else you won’t stand a chance at using the system.
‘Gangnam Style’? Yes
F&B selection $2-$5 for snacks like a bowl of nuts or a fruit platter. Non-alcoholic drinks start from $5.50 all the way up to $12.90 (beers).
Extras VIP card holders get 10% discount
Price $47.80 for three people staying three hours on weekday afternoons; $69.80 for three people staying three hours on weekends.
Five branches including #B3 Ming Arcade, 21 Cuscaden Rd (6735 6087). MRT: Orchard. Mon-Thu 11am-2am; Fri & Sat 11am-3am; Sun 11am-2am.
BEST SAFE BET
With eight branches across town, Party World is definitely the biggest karaoke chain in Singapore – making it the go-to place for casual weekend singers as well as the more die-hard warblers. Its state-of-the-art sound system and wide repertoire of songs are impressive, although it caters more to a Chinese audience. Rooms are pretty standard – your room size depends on how many people you have; some of the larger rooms have multiple TV screens – with disco lights and cushy seating lining the sides. The songs are well organised and easy to search through, and we like how they specify whether the music videos are original or not – if not, be prepared for some ridiculous beach scenes. However, the system does have a tendency to cut off half of the artists’ names on its list, which isn’t a huge problem until you come across five artists who all have the first name ‘Michael’ and none of their last names show up. Still, Party World is a safe choice, and with eight locations across Singapore, chances are that it’ll be a convenient compromise for big groups to meet up too.
‘Gangnam Style’? Yes
F&B selection $6.80-$16.80 for food, including noodles and snacks; $5 starting price for drinks, including soft and alcoholic drinks and bubble tea.
Extras Tambourines; leg massagers; disco lights
Price $28 per person for four hours on weekdays 2pm-6pm; $39.80 per person for four hours on weekends.
Seven branches including #03-03 Liang Court SC, 117 River Valley Rd (6333 5533, http://www.partyworldktv.com.sg). MRT: Clarke Quay. Sun-Thur 2pm-4am; Fri & Sat 2pm-6am.
Ten Dollar Club
BEST FOR SKINNY WALLETS
If you want value for your dollar, look no further than the appropriately named Ten Dollar Club. For $10, you get not just five hours of karaoke (reduced to three during the evenings), but also free flow of drinks for parched throats from all the singing. The décor leans towards the homely, which in the business of KTVs makes it slightly unusual. You don’t get glitzy spectacular spheres and trendily designed dark rooms here; instead, you’re treated to an array of soft amber lights, ’90s wallpapers and the sort of sofas that sit better than they look. True, the song selection menu is a complete drudgery to navigate and the song list isn’t exceptional, but hey, your dollar is stretched as far as it can go. Oh, and if you want to save even more money, you’re also welcomed to bring your own snacks.
‘Gangnam Style’? Yes
F&B selection Minimum $6 for the likes of fried rice (Zi Char); free flow of soft drinks and up to $178-$202 for Martell
Extras Pool table in the main hall, $2 per game.
Price $11 per person between 2pm-7pm (minimum of three people per room), 12.90 from 7pm onwards (minimum of four people per room).
Three branches including Level 3, 35A Smith St (6225 1231, www.tendollarclub.sg). MRT: Chinatown. Daily 2pm-2am.
BEST FOR ATMOSPHERE
We’re on the fence with TopOne: while we eventually uncovered a decent song selection, the system’s organisation was terrible, with a useless direct artist search function (instead, click on the artist’s name when it’s listed in the song search) and a song directory that only allows you to search by the first letter (requiring a fair amount of diligent scrolling through the pages). Even more unforgivable is the inclusion of a few videos that don’t have lyrics – including several key MJ songs. Also, just like Party World, you’re notified if they’re screening the original MTV or not, so be sure to watch out for a variety of hilariously cheesy substitutes. Despite the frustrations with the song search, it’s conveniently located at Bugis and the rooms are clean and cosy, with fun disco lights – we’ve heard that the smoke machines really add atmosphere to the room (although the one in ours was, unfortunately, broken). There’s also a unique selling point at TopOne: their recording studio, which is located on the second floor, can be booked one week in advance by calling 9085 0904. The cost is $30 per song, or $50 per hour.
‘Gangnam Style’? No – but they do have ‘Singapore Cowboy’…
F&B selection $8.90-$18.90 for food, including noodles and snacks; $8.80 for soft drinks up to $409+++ for cordon bleu.
Extras Disco lights, a disco ball and a smoke machine.
Price Price $15.20 per person plus $5 room charge on Mon-Fri between 11am-5pm to $29.30 per person on Fri-Sat after 6pm for 3-hours, plus $10.50 room charge. #01-01 Bugis Point, 530 North Bridge Rd (6238 8198, www.toponektv.com). MRT: Bugis. Daily 11am-5.30am.