Monday, August 01, 2005

Toronto Karaoke Review: Hoops Sports Bar

Hoops by Gold Entertainment

Hoops Sports bar is one of two Karaoke venus I've been to in the downtown core which makes it easy for everyone to get there.(Yonge & College) Its certainly an easy place to meet and fairly popular as sports bar goess. But is it an ideal place to invite people for karaoke? Let's see if any 3-pointers are scored here.

The Good:
As mentioned before as 2nd to none in terms on convenience. Of course parking is a little expensive in the downtown core but its right across the street from college subway station. I looked around for any free parking but let's face it, free parking in downtown Toronto will probably happen when pigs fly. The food is surprisingly good. Your taste buds should be very pleased and the prices won't break the bank, which is to say they are better than average for what you get. The food selection is even better with a good mix of bar food, pasta, pizzas and Tex-Mex. There are different sized portions as well. The song selection is quite exceptional. I counted around 6000 songs. A little weak on the newer songs but still you won't be disappointed. I saw selections here that I saw in only one other place out in Scarborough.. The equipment was really good: Great sound, wireless mikes. I could only fault one item which I will cover later. If you sound bad here you'll have no one but yourself to blame.

The mixed: As I said earlier there is but one fault with the equipment: No true pitch transposition: More like the way you change pitch with an LP (long playing vinyl record). If you want a lower pitch, the speed slows. Higher pitch, the speed increases. I was forced to take off points for this which is too bad because everything else was great. The facilities weren't bad but like most karaoke bars, it was awkward because only a few seats could see the karaoke stage. You have to walk through people's tables to get to the stage as well. Service for food was a little slow but not bad. It may have been a busy crowd that night.

The bad: Two things cam out bad: The wait time for songs which is unfortunately a result of managing by the host. You can wait as long as 2 hours to sing a song because the host is not always paying attention. He was away from his post more than any other karaoke host I've seen to date. Also took longer than most to queue up selections and all requests of old people are moved to the back increasing the wait time for those who came in first. The host is not the most energetic I've seen either, but the inattentiveness was the biggest think I had to take points off on.

Summary: Hoops has a great location and an exceptional karaoke play list with great sound equipment. You'll love the food and song selection. If you want to get the most for your time and money, go early, so you won't be one of the unfortunates to waits up to 2 hours to get a song it. I understand that crowds can be an issue but in this case I saw a lot of time lot in queuing up and newer people getting in 2 songs in a row with duets. That's just not good crowd management. However the equipment and song selection count for a lot in my reviews, so in spite of that I'm giving slight higher grade than the Gladstone because equipment and selection count for a lot. While the MC could have been better, he did nothing serious to detract from the enjoyment of the audience either. Overall, its a quality place to karaoke lovers to enjoy themselves, just don't transpose your songs more than a major 3rd in either direction or the speed of the songs will be an issue.

Final Grade: B
Excellent Selection and good equipment, GREAT sound. Host needs to be more attentive however. Food quality and selection are excellent with good prices. Great location but average karaoke bar layout.

Score Summary:
Facilities: 7.0 (Awkward configuration)
Equipment: 8.5 (Had to remove points for psuedo pitch transposition system)
Location: 8.5 (Easy to spot, easy to get to, no free parking)
Song Selection: 8.7 (all the good stuff including things I saw in few other places)
Wait Times: 6.0(scaled:public venue,host didn't manage this as well as he could have)
Host: 6.5 (exceptional absent times and poor queuing times with no personality took major points off. would have been a B+ review otherwise)
Food Prices: 8.0 (Quite good overall)
Food Quality: 8.0 (very nice, would invite others to this place)
Food Seiection: 8.7 (exceptional variety for a sports bar)

Venue Information:
Hoops Sports Bar
458 Yonge Street
(416) 929-3324
9 PM - closing time
Wednesday, Thursday Evenings (Contested on Fridays 10 weeks of the year)


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