Saturday, June 30, 2007

New Karaoke Box: King N I

This is not a review but rather an impression. Reason is time and resouces. I just did 5 reviews. King N I (curious name) is across from the Reference Library at 836 Younge Street, 2nd Floor. I guess I'm just telling you its there but don't expect too much. Manager told me he has 300 English Songs. (At a Karaoke Box!?!) This place is basically geared to the young Korean community. I know I've said this before but venues with no consideration for the English (or even French) speaking community is a way of saying, don't come if you aren't Korean. What a thing to say in Canada. So much for cultures and races interacting. We speak English and French here regardless of country of origin and all businesses in Canada need to respect that. At least more than this one does. And the initial facilities show it. the place is in somewhat poor repair, it looks more like a series of low end apartments converted (which is probably exactly what it is save for this being an upscale neighborhood so its kindof an eyesore). I asked about this and I got the excuse of "rent here is so high". Regardless if you don't have the resources to properly start a business, don't start it. Staff is new and not terrible well trained. The rates are worse than average to boot. $30 for a small room where the industry standard here is $25 and for selection considerably worse than ANY karaoke box I've heard about in Toronto so far. Given I had just come from a karaoke review I wasn't going to officially review it yet. I would never take any group here due to the ill repaired walls along (but at least it has better ventilation than XO Karaoke right now so). I'm putting this info here so its here but I don't recommend this venue (and that is a lot to say before I've officially reviewed):

Venue Information:
King N I
836 Yonge Street. 2nd Floor
(416) 966 5464
kingandi836 at

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Karaoke Review: Joe Mercury's w/ Ty

Reviewed 2007-06-29

I've been hearing about this place for sometime but as my schedule has been crazy it often becomes difficult to get out the east and west ends of Toronto. This year I've made it a point venture out into new territory. Its been a positive experience so far with discoveries of exceptional karaoke talent (see review on Peel Pub on O'Conner). My hope was to find another. Its with mixed feelings I write this because while to paraphrase a song, "I've found what I'm looking for" but it may not be long for this world.

The Good: Twice in 2 weeks the big thing here is the MC. Big time! We have another amazing host who balances showmanship, audience interaction, style and humor with masterful success. He seems to interact particularly well with the younger crowd but older people still get their "kicks" on his stage. I'm presently kicking myself for not checking out this venue earlier. Even more so as this is the only gig he does at least for Karaoke. You WILL be engaged by this fellow and you'll enjoy it. Ty really pays attention to his sound and it shows. Balance is really good. The food selection here is also fairly exceptional partially because the primary food here is Greek but they have all the proper bar/pub favorites as well so even if you aren't a Greek food fan, you'll still find plenty you'll enjoy. ("Beware of Greeks wearing Sneakers" is a catchy phrase they use on their menu). The layout of seat swas also exceptional and it gave a family restaurant meets pub kind of feel which strongly reminded me of Hollywood on the Queensways, which by far has the best layout for Karaoke shows anywhere. The food is overall very good. Food prices are also better than average especially considering the portions are quite large. Location is hard to beat if you live in the Dundas West/Bloor area as this venue is nearly on top of Dundas West station and there is some free parking available. You have a decent stage, a good sized dancing area as well. If you want to play pool, 3 tables are available, all in excellent condition (some places the pool tables are quote worn). Ty's song selection is well spread, books amazingly organized (and example for other MC's as he is actually able to have both by author and song title in the same book. Few MC's are this organized or courteous so kudos for that. The song selection is overall good at 6600 songs (better than Katie Appleton or Erika) but a tad short of the ideal. Still there is enough for all tastes and styles across all the major karaoke genres. (Note there is a sweet spot for 70-90's which for me is a real pleasure)

The Mixed: There are a few spots here and there I should mention. First, while the balance in excellent, the sound on the mikes felt a little dry for some reason. You need to have the mix fairly close to you to make sure its getting your voice. This could be a minor adjust as Ty is clearly changing levels to suit individual singers which any karaoke fan will appreciate. The monitor is a bit low and you have bend your neck to see the lyrics properly. Ideally monitors should be placed so that its more like a teleprompter so you can see your audience. Since this stage actually faces the audience (a good thing) you feel the monitor's placement even more. Service is not as prompt as many places I've reviewed. Its still okay, but staff could be a little more attentive.

The Bad: Yea! There is nothing really bad here.

Summary: This is a quality venue which has a history. The big reasons I'm kicking myself on the rear end for not seeing this place sooner as its scheduled to close around July 28th, 2007 and the building demolished near the end of the summer! I spoke to Ty on this and he is looking for a gig to do after July 28th. I strongly suggest you experience this place for yourself before the venue closes down. Fortunately with karaoke running Thursdays to Saturdays, if you move quickly there is time. Ty is an MC to watch and is in strong contention for Karaoke MC of the year. It would love to think that Joe Mercury's, a place of considerable taste, food and humorous theme, would simply relocate and be able to preserve its layout and theme, but I've heard nothing of the sort so I suspect that is unlikely. I'll try to find out later. If anyone out there wants a quality MC later this summer, this is a golden opportunity to recruit one. It would be a shame for one of Toronto's best MC's to not have a gig later this summer as Karaoke Hosts like Ty are a rare find.

Final Grade: B+

Facilities: 8.3 (excellent layout overall, lots of space, a stage facing the audience with room to dance.
Equipment: 8.0 (Monitor is too low, something dry with Mike vocals for some reason but great balance and music sound)
Song Selection: 7.7 (Overall good, better than many, but not quite at the ideal of 8-9k, Still everyone should be very pleased, bonus for GREAT organization of books although in by Author section the Authors are in alphabetical order while the songs are not)
Food Selection: 8.5 (Its nice to have a change on primary food but not lose out on old Bar/Pub favorites. Great selection here)
Food Quality: 7.9 (Meet Food from the Greeks, good quality and great portions)
Food Service: 7.2 (Its okay but could be better)
Prices: 8.3 (The Greeks give good value here)
Location: 8.8 (VERY Close to subway, parking free and paid)
Wait Times: 7.0 (Ty is quite reasonable with old a new singers, but he gets a crowd so its kind of a Gladstone Hotel thing, popularity has its price)
Host: 8.8 (Wow! Two amazing hosts in two weeks. Style, Humor and interaction)

Venue Information
2345 B Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M6P 1W7
Ty Karaoke
Email: tytanic at (if you care to hire after July)
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 10 PM - 2 AM

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Karaoke Review: Hurricane's w/ Katie Appleton, Karaoke Queen

Reviewed 2007-06-27

I had heard about karaoke at Hurricane's for sometime now so I finally managed to get out this this summer. Its been a whirlwind of reviews although it may not feel like it to some. Whether this venue will blow me away or not is another story, although this is the season.

The Good: Katie's sound equipment as I've said before is first rate. If you sound bad here, that will be one for the record books. Decor is quite inviting, considerable more than many other places I've visited. Food prices are actually fairly good and the selection is nicely broad: Mexican, Greek plus traditional pub fare and all day breakfast (nice!). The setup is excellent as you are facing the whole audience unfortunately to due to space there is no dance area but at least you feel like a performer. Service is fairly fast and wait times are withing average range (40-45 minutes). The location is quite convenient just 2 blocks west of Ossington Subway station and both free and paid parking can be found.

The Mixed: The food quality unfortunately didn't match the wide selection. Its okay but I've had better, especially in the fries department. Perhaps it was a fluke but the wait staff forgot to give me anything to go with the dry (McCain?) string fries I got with my steak. There is little more bland than fries like that with nothing on them. The song selection is a bit weak although the spread of song material helps a little. Still, Katie needs more songs. Why is it that all the female Karaoke MC's I've have weak selections? I'd love to have a female Karaoke MC with strong hosting and song inventory.

The Bad: There is nothing actually bad here. The worst part of this place is weak song selection. (The absence of condiments with bland fries could have been a freak occurrence)

Hurricane's has a good deal going for it and being a decent venue in the mid-western part of Toronto isn't the least. An excellent configuration and good use of limited space and good decor help a quality MC put on an enjoyable show. The food quality could be better but its not a deal breaker. What nags me with this MC is the weak song selection. MC's, if you haven't added to or updated your collection in the last 12 months, get started. Other Karaoke Hosts are well ahead of people who are working with the premise that 5k songs is enough.

Final Grade: B-

Facilities: 8.0 (Good use of somewhat small space)
Equipment: 8.6 (Monitor is in good position here)
Song Selection: 6.9 (sorry, but we need to get more songs in here)
Food Selection: 8.4 (Quite good)
Food Service: 7.8 (Fairly good attention to detail needs to be a little better)
Food Quality: 7.0 (which the food quality could match the variety)
Prices: 8.6 (at least you aren't overpaying)
Location: 8.2 (Close to subway, parking free and paid)
Wait Times: 7.9 (Within reason, you'll probably get 2 songs in)
Host: 8.2 (Katie is very consistent, which is a good thing in her case)

Venue Information
Hurricane's Bar & Grill
963 Bloor Street West
Toronto ON
M6H 1L7
Wednesdays, 10 PM - 2 AM

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Karaoke Review: Peel Pub w/ Walter Henkel

Reviewed 2007-06-21

Here is an example of getting attention by asking someone who writes reviews to check out your stuff. The MC of this venue e-mailed me and let me know about his shows. While it sometimes takes me a little time to get out there (I do have a day job and it costs time and money to write these reviews) I do get out there. We have here an MC who has been in this business for about as long as the legendary Jeff Zedic. Will his experience pay off?

The Good: To my last question, yes. Wait let me say that again: YES! I had been missing Jeff Zedic with his snappy yet tasteful jokes, his musical trivia and sense of timing. With Walter I honestly felt the shades of Zedic again. A karaoke host who has mastered the mixture of musical knowledge, interacts with a crowd, has great stage presence and can tell a good joke is so rare. Walter is a prince (King yet to be determined) among karaoke hosts. His collection doesn't hurt either: 8500 songs puts is well within new standards set by karaoke hosts recently. (okay, Jason Rolland has 30k, but whose counting, oh, that would be me wouldn't it?) While Walter has a sweet spot for 70-80s (great minds think alike ;-) ) he has a wide variety for everyone and he tells me there is more coming. A lot more. The sound quality is excellent as is balance, although I felt the monitor could stand a bit higher. Apparently Walter makes his own monitor stands so if you are reading this, Walter, it would be so cool if raise the monitor (and the "bar" as it were) a bit. Service of this venue is very good so you won't want long for drink or food. Obviously I'm bit more entranced by the MC. Wait times are also quite good, especially if you arrive on time but after 11 PM you'll wait longer as the crowd is much larger by then.

The Mixed: I could go on and on about the MC but let's talk about the venue. Like the previous Peel Pub, this is really a bar. Pure and simple. People go to bars to drink more than eat, and it shows. Food selection is extremely basic (burgers, fajitas, sandwiches, basic salads. Prices are likewise quite average. no real bargains here. Decor is a bit dark. This is a LARGE venue and there is a REAL stage which on Thursdays is entirely unused. 60% of the space is closed off Thursday nights as I suspect its for live bands. (So what are karaoke participants, chop suey?) Still if there aren't as many people I could see why, but they get good crowds around 11 PM. There is a LOT of potential to make this as good a setup as Hollywood on the Queensways and with such a good MC it would make such an amazing venue. The way things are now the stage faces an exit which isn't Walter's fault. You do have dance room which helps. Since management closes off the main area of the bar on Thursdays this is all he had left which in my opinion a real shame. Food quality is passable but nothing more. People go to places like the Peel Pub (regardless of location) to drink, and food is clearly a "side dish". The location is not the worst I've seen (Fanny's is harder to get to) but the neighborhood is clear where car is king. There is most likely a bus from Victoria Park or Eglington subway (I saw a bus running infrequently but couldn't note its number) but buses here are not as frequent as other places. At least there is free parking. For those who live downtown, fastest way to get there is probably a bicycle if you are reasonable fit.

The Bad: Nothing really bad.

Summary: If it isn't obvious yet, this MC is one to watch. Walter has got the goods as a Karaoke Host and then some. I can almost guarantee anywhere he goes you'll have great karaoke experience. Which in the case of the Peel Pub is a good thing because to be honest, Walter is the best part about this venue. Besides that is a basic bar with stage for live bands. You don't really go for the food as its very basic in price in quality and karaoke fans don't want to just drink. So what you have left is a Karaoke MC. But WHAT an MC. If Walter can make a place like this a pleasure to be in, imagine what he could do in a better location. I'll be checking out his gig at the Fox & Fiddle at Eglington VERY soon. (Probably before July)

Final Grade: B

Facilities: 7.8 (This could have been a 9.3 if they could make use of that stage)
Equipment: 8.7 (Excellent sound. Raise the monitor and this becomes a 9.0)
Song Selection: 8.7 (8500 and increasing, you won't go wrong here. More to come)
Food Selection: 7.2 (Basic)
Food Quality: 7.2 (Its digestable)
Food Service: 8.3 (Exceptionally fast and cheerful)
Prices: 7.2 (ditto, nuff said)
Location: 6.7 (Not terrible convenient for those with cars, but free parking for those that do)
Wait Times: 8.0 (Wait times quite good and well managed, you should get at least 2 songs, maybe 3 if you come early)
Host: 9.0 (The Soul of Zedic is not dead in Toronto. A SERIOUS contender for top Karaoke MC of the year. Those looking to learn, here is one to watch!)

Venue Information
Peel Pub (
1660 O'Connor Drive (Eglinton and Victoria Park)
Toronto, Ontario
M4A 1W4
Thursdays, 10 PM - 2 AM

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Karaoke Review: Wolf & Ferkin w/ Doctor Spin

Reviewed 2007-06-15

I had mentioned this venue once before and had promised to wait until thing were ready before writing a formal review. Unfortunately karaoke ceased at the venue before things really got started. Well, its back in full force on Wednesdays in the heart of Toronto. Question is, will it capture the hearts of karaoke fans?

The Good: Location is hard to beat. Its in the heart of downtown on Elm Street. Contrary to the movie, there is lots of class in this neighborhood and I've always liked the Ferkin chain for the most part. Food selection is standard Ferkin fare which to say well above average: Pub food, seafood and sandwiches. the prices are also reasonable ($8-17 for dinner). Wait times here are exceptionally fast as karaoke is in the lower level with limited space so you won't have as many people to wait for in a rotation. Sound is quite good and well adjusted to fix the venue size. The best thing in my view is FINALLY someone gets the idea that people who go out to Karaoke on a weekday (other than Friday) are true karaoke lovers who have a day job to go to. Karaoke here starts at 9 PM. On a weekday this is PERFECT! Why don't more karaoke hosts do this on weeknights?

The Mixed:
Doctor Spin is a good host when he in the groove but it takes a bit for him to get there. When I saw him at Cheers (see review) I had hoped the atmosphere was throwing him off his game. He still missed a few beats here and consequently had gaps between singers once or twice. The monitor looked like it had seen better days. The thing that gives this venue such low waits times works against in a way because space is very limited and is sometimes difficult to walk past people to get to the karaoke "stage". Forget dancing unless you do it in your head. No room here.

The bad: The sore spot that you feel more than anything else is the selection. Somewhat weak with 4800 songs after filtering out duplicates. Karaoke MCs, you really need at LEAST 5-6k songs minimum and 8-9k to get serious attention of karaoke fans. Most karaoke MCs have "upped to ante". 5-6k used to be the average, now its really minimal.

Summary: I would consider this the best weeknight karaoke venue I've been to so far. Whereas other karaoke hosts start between 10-11 PM leaving no time to sing before one has to go home and sleep for the next work day, this venue respects the time and schedule of people with money to go out and jobs to keep that money coming in. Timing means a lot in the karaoke business and this venue respects that. Quick rotating times help out a lot as well and you'll be happy with the food and prices. Unfortunately its easier to get through Doctor Spin's entire song collection because it's a little on the light side. Still, the equipment is good and the host once he warms up, works well with the participants.

Facilities: 8.0 (quite good, but more space would have been nice)
Equipment: 7.8 (Sound is okay but mikes appeared a little old and monitor had seen better days)
Song Selection: 6.8 (4800 songs is really a bit for professional karaoke, sorry)
Food Selection: 8.1 (Something for everyone, a typical Ferkin)
Food Quality: 8.1 (food quite pallet able)
Food Service: 7.8 (Fairly good but its clear food in the lower level is an afterthought. Pay atten on the cutlery if you order a sandwich)
Prices: 8.1 (you wallet should be as full as your stomach)
Location: 8.3 (Dundas Subway, walk blocks north, parking is around but downtown, you'll have to pay for it.)
Wait Times: 8.3 (Wait times are amazing here. you'll get in at least 2-3 songs before you leave)
Host: 7.8 (When he's in the groove he's really good, but he misses the "beat" occassionally)

Final Grade: B-

Venue Information
Wolf & Firkin
43 Elm Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 1H1
(416) 971-6264
Wednesdays, 9 PM - 12 AM

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Karaoke Review: Upfront Bar & Grill w/ Katie Appleton, Karaoke Queen

Review: 2007-05-25

After reviewing "On the Rocks" I noticed only one block away another venue that had Karaoke with a new host so I decided to take a look at what this venue and host had to offer. Front Street has a number of trendy restaurants and service stores and with luck, Karaoke as well.

The Good: Katie is quite a good hosts. She interacts well with the crowd. Her equipment gets great sound and she keeps the levels well balanced. If you sound bad with equipment like this, don't audition on Canadian Idol. Everything is in great order in terms of equipment. Monitor is well placed for easy read of lyrics which is more than many places doing karaoke these days and a large back screen allows everyone to join in. There is a small area where people could dance if so desired. The food prices are quite good as well. Food service is fairly prompt.

The Mixed:
The Food selection is enough for a basic bar/pub but nothing exceptional. Fairly standard which is not say its bad. Decor isn't bad but the rear of the bar is exposed with discarded or disused equipment which is rather an eyesore I was surprised to find there. Should be cleaned as its a real distraction and look less than professional. I noted with my meal that there was no ketchup bottle, only packets, which is usually a sign of less than "fine dining". It could have been there were out of ketchup but when this is part of the services you are selling, ketchup packets are for take-out, not dining in. Music selection is only in low 5ks, which is basically passable but no more. Karaoke Hosts need to be increasing their collections as the basic benchmark is now between 8-9k. The spread between periods is even enough to keep you fairly satisfied although you may not find everything you want, especially when compared to other Karaoke hosts with more songs. You might be waiting a bit on rotation times here as it can get fairly busy on Friday nights.

The Bad: Short and sweet: Nothing really bad here.

Summary: If you want Karaoke on Front Street with a professional quality host, this is an excellent venue to choose. While "On the Rocks" is a family run business which a karaoke machine, Upfront Bar & Grill offers an MC who knows how to work a crowd and has superior sound equipment. Its strange that "On the Rocks" has a better selection than Katie since she does 2 other venues. Perhaps that will change with time. In any case, Katie is a quality MC and while Upfront could use a little cleaning up near the bar with the disused equipment, its a quality venue to check out on Friday and Saturday nights.

Facilities: 7.6 (Overall they are not bad but the area by the bar needs to be cleaned up, look very untidy)
Equipment: 8.6 (Great sound, well placed monitor. wireless mics wouldn't hurt but its hard to have everything)
Song Selection: 6.9 (A bit on the weak side compared to other MCs)
Food Selection: 7.8 (A bit more than the basics, enough to keep most picky eaters happy)
Food Quality: 8.3 (food is quite good)
Prices: 8.0 (definitely above average, especially if you like Fish & Chips in Fridays)
Location: 7.8 (Front Street has no subways but a bus runs along and parking is available.)
Wait Times: 7.5 (you probably get 2 songs tops as it gets quite busy)
Host: 8.3 (A quality MC whose a pro with the prose and can work a crowd well)

Final Grade: C+

Venue Information
Upfront Bar & Grill
106 Front Street East
Toronto, ON M5A 1E1
Fridays, Saturdays
10 PM - 2 AM

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Health Advisory Alert: XO Karaoke Box


I've never written anything like this before and it greatly pains me to do so, but XO Karaoke (see review), once my favorite karaoke box, has issues with its rooms on the second floor (and possibly the first floor as well) that are unhealthy during the summer months. Lack of proper ventilation on XO's 2nd floor rooms make it like a sauna due to air conditioners that do not even vent air nor can you open a window. The Toronto Karaoke Meetup group when there1 month ago when the weather was still agreeable and with 8 of us in the room within 30 minutes people were complaining about stuffiness, people were sweating and even my glasses were starting to fog. All attempts to vent air with the air conditioner failed (fan turned but suspect the air vent was clogged up) and the air condition could't/wouldn't condition the air at all. The hallway outside had proper working air condition but the door don't allow any air flow. In order to allow people to breath comfortably we had to open the karaoke box door to the outside hall to vent air. The 2nd floor rooms are not air tight but its uncomfortably close. Last year I couldn't bring my group to XO during the summer months for the same reason so this problem has gone unresolved for over a year now and so for the health and well being of karaoke lovers I must advise against using XO Karaoke, or at least its 2nd floor rooms during the summer as the air cannot vent and there is no working air conditioning inside the rooms. Only the outside hallway. You can of course leave your room door open, but people in other rooms would probably be unhappy with that. Anyway, I've to the owners of XO, sorry but this is a health hazard that needs to be fixed, now. When I find this problem fixed I'll remove the advisory. I have repeatedly informed the staff of XO of this issue and there has been no effective action in over a year. With this hot summer, this is in my opinion a potential health hazzard as people are being enclosed in small spaces with no proper ventilation during a time when the temperature can be dangerously hot.

Here is full information in case anyone wants to leave their "two cents" with the management.
XO Karaoke
693 Bloor Street West, 2nd Floor
Toronto ON
416 535-3734
HanJoon Kwon, Manager

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New Karaoke Venue Update, Summer 2007

Fellow Karaoke Lovers:
I'm compiling a list of current places for Karaoke Bars and Boxes as well as reviews so we can know where to go for either a private or public session any day of the week. (Yes it IS possible). Also to let people which places have sadly passed on. Without further ado, here is the list of venue places, events and (sob) closings.

Regular Resturant & Bar Events (Confirmed):

Joe Mercury's Big City Sports Bar & Grill
** Important Notice **
** Last day of operation July 28th 2007 **
** Being demolished at the end of the summer
** See Review **
2345 B Dundas St. West
(416) 535-1324
9:30 PM - Closing
Thursday, Friday, Saturday

** New Venue **
** to be reviewed mid-July **
587 College Street
Toronto, ON
w/ Peter Styles

** Recently Revived, to be reviewed shortly **
California Restaurant & Tavern w/ Pam
914 Pape Street
Toronto, ON
Saturdays 9 PM - Closing

** New Venue **
(see review)
Butterfly Lounge with June Linderfield, Karaoke MC
422 Adelaide Street West
Toronto, ON
(416) 366-7399
Thursdays, 8 PM - 1 PM (suggest leaving before 10)

** New Host **
Karaoke Queen, Katie Appleton
The Unicorn
(416) 482-0115
175 Eglington East
Toronto, ON
M4P 1J4
Monday Evenings, 10 PM - 2 AM

** Recently revived **
(see review)
Wolf & Ferkin w/ Spin Doctor
43 Elm Street
9:00 PM - 12:00 PM
Phone: (416) 971-6264
Toronto, ON

(see review)
The Grasshopper
460 Parliament Street
Toronto ON M5A 3A2
416 323-1210
Thursdays, Sundays

THE FOX AND FIDDLE w/Kanary Karaoke
1285 Finch Ave West
North York, Ontario M3J 2G5
(416) 633-1286
9:30 pm - Closing

IZIK'S PLACE w/Kanary Karaoke
529 Wilson Heights Blvd
North York, ON M3H 2V7
(416) 636-9306
8:30pm - 12:30am

(review tcoming this week)
Kramer's Bar and Grll
1915 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M4S 1Z3
(416) 483-0697
Fridays, Saturdays 10 PM - Closing

AC's Bar and Gril w/ RJM Entertainment
1151 Dundas West (Westdale Mall)
Toronto, ON
Thursdays, Fridays
9PM - 2AM

(see review)
Safari Village w/Erika
1690 Danforth Avenue
Toronto, ON
(416) 406-0534
1st and 3rd Friday of the Month

The Bow & Arrow
1954 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON
Friday's (Saturday's?) 10 PM - Closing

(see review)
Cheer's W/ Spin Doctor
2364 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON
(905) 855-7584
Thursdays, Sundays
10 PM - Closing

383 Eglington Avenue East
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 1M5
(416) 484-4101
Thursdays 9 PM - 1 AM

Duke of York Tavern
1225 Queen Street East
Toronto, Ontario M4M 1L6
(416) 463-5302
Wednesdays 8:30 - 12:30?

Flashback Entertainment/Kanary Karaoke:
Applejacks Resturant
3757 Keele Street (South of Finch)
(416) 631-9013
Tuesday Nights
Time: 10 PM? (no time given)

** Recently revived **
Hollywood On the Queensday(New Review to follow)
1184 The Queensway
Phone: (416) 251-0288
Web Site
8:30 PM - Midnight
Wednesday Evenings

Gus' Knott Inn
Peter Styles
1562 Weston Road
Phone: (416) 913-8090
Wednesday Nights
Time: 10 PM

(see review)
Mayday Malone's
1078 Bathurst Street
Toronto, ON
Phone: (416) 531-8064
Thursdays Evenings 10 pm - 2 am

(temporarily suspended)
MayDay Malone's
965 Bloor St West
Phone: (416) 516-7844
Thursday Evenings
10 pm till 2am

Chick 'N Deli
744 Mount Pleasant Road
Toronto ON
9 PM - Closing

The Old Sod
2936 Bloor St. W.
Phone: (416) 239-3812
Tuesdays & Sundays
9 PM?- Closing

Badger and Firkin
555 Burnhamthorpe Road, Unit 5
Phone: (416) 620-5959
9 PM - Closing

Rose and Thorne
246 Brown's Line
Phone: (416) 233-8827
9 PM - Closing

Boston Pizza
117-4841 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON
Wednesdays, 10 PM - closing

Di and Gabby's
2902 Lake Shore Boulevard West
Phone: (416) 503-3791
9 PM - Closing

Bert & Ernie's
5555 Dundas Street West
Phone: (416) 231.5858
9 PM - Closing

(see review)
Hurricanes W/ Katie Appleton, Karaoke Queen
963 Bloor Street West
Phone: (416) 531-7818
10 PM - Closing

J Michael's Restaurant & Tavern
235 Dixon Road
Phone: (416) 249.2651
9 PM - Closing

The Dufferin Gate
1204 King Street West (King & Dufferin)
Toronto, ON
Phone: (416) 534-2238
Thursdays 9:30 - Closing

The Chateau Bar & Grill
1157 St Clair W (Just East of Duffrin)
Toronto, ON
Phone: 416-654-3784
Saturdays, 9:30 PM - Closing

1335 St. Clair West
Toronto, ON
Phone: 416-653-8777
Saturdays, 9:30 PM - Closing

(see review)
** Largest Song Collection in Toronto, +30k Songs **
Tequila Sunrise W/ Jason Rolland
212 Adelaide Street West
(416) 593-6164
10 PM - 2 AM (Host: Jason Rolland,
Tuesday & Thursday Evenings

P.M. Toronto
1245 Dupont St.(Rear Entrance to Galleria Mall)
Toronto, ON
Phone: (416) 530-4505
Thursdays 9:30 - Closing

Main Event
2368 Yonge St.(North of Eglington)
Wednesdays 9:30PM - Closing

(See Review)
The Groundhog Pub
401 Bloor Street East
Toronto, ON
Phone: (416) 975-1867
Fax : (416) 975 - 9252
Fridays & Saturdays 10 PM - 2 AM

(See Review)
Fox & Fiddle
280 Bloor Street West (Bloor St. West @ St. George)
Toronto, ON
(416) 966-4fox (369)
Monday, Tuesday & Saturdays 10 PM (11 PM Saturdays) - 2 AM

(See Review)
Saxony Resturant
(416) 929-2300
599 Sherbourne Street
8 PM - 2 AM
Friday, Saturday Evenings

Zippers Bar
72 Carlton Street
(Phone Number being confirmed)
8 PM - 12 AM
Thursday Evenings

(see review)
The Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West
(416) 531- 4635
8 PM to 1 AM (Host:Peter Styles,
Thursday, Friday and Saturday

(See Review)
Fiddler's Green Pub
27 Wellsley Avenue
(Phone number pending)
(7-9? confirmation of start time pending) - closing time
Friday Evenings (Prizes indicated)

(see review)
The Fox and Fiddle
535 Danforth Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario M4K 1P7
Phone: 416-462-9830
Fax: 416-461-3132
Wednesday, 10:30 PM - closing

(see review)
Hoops Sports Bar
458 Yonge Street
(416) 929-3324
9 PM - closing time
Wednesday, Thursday Evenings

(see review)
Shoeless Joe's Bar
401 King Street West
(Phone Number pending)
10 PM - 2 AM (Host name pending)
Friday Evenings

Peel Pub
276 King St. W. (& Duncan)
(416) 977-0003
Tuesday 10:00pm - Closing

(see review)
On the Rocks Restaurant
169 Front St. E (& Sherbourne)
(416) 862-2901
Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Unconfirmed Karaoke Restaurants & Bars
(Note because these are as yet unconfirmed, I cannot be certain that
all these venues are still in operation. I will be confirming them in the coming weeks)

Billy Bob's
2448 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON
10 PM - Closing

Blue Lagoon
3180 Lake Shore Boulevard West
Toronto ON
(416) 259-4700
9:30 PM - Closing

Crews Toronto
508 Church Street
Toronto, ON
Tuesdays & Thursdays
11 PM - Closing

Fiddler's Dell Bar
781 Annette Street
10 PM - Closing

Canton Karaoke Lounge
4810 Sheppard Av East
(416) 332-0801

Club Epiphany Restaurant & Lounge
11 Arrow Rd
(416) 740-9329

Future Karaoke Restaurant
58 Redlea
(416) 321-5618

Huong Bar & Karaoke
1680 St Clair Avenue West
(416) 654-8889

Manila By Night Karaoke Bar & Restaurant
4949 Bathurst Street
(416) 225-1078

May Karaoke
876 Dundas West
(416) 361-9377

The Fox & Fiddle
4946 Dundas Street West.
(416) 207-9990

Crossroads House
1544 Danforth Ave. (& Coxwell Ave.)
(416) 406-4017

Cubao Bar & Grill
298 College St. (& Spadina Ave.)
(416) 966-9024
a song or two during the band's break

Duke Of York
1225 Queen St. E. (@ Leslie)
(416) 463-5302
Saturday 4:30 to 7:30 P.M. with SD SIKI

Hollingers Restaurant & Tavern
1026 Coxwell Ave (& Danforth)
(416) 425-9877
Fri & Sun

Jekyl & Hyde
2340 Dundas Street West.
(416) 535-0547
10 PM - Closing
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays

Mr. Slate Sports Bar & Top Brass Lounge
952 Kingston Rd.
M4E 1S7
(416) 694-9495 Thursdays Fri 10 P.M.

New Karaoke Restaurant
793 Gerrard E
(416) 463-9902

Play It Again Sports Bar
1002 St. Clair Ave. W. (& Oakwood Ave.)
Toronto M6E 1A2
(416) 656-8434
Friday 11:00am- 2:00am

Purple Pig
1 Richmond St. W.
(416) 366-6465

Rio Restaurant
129 Danforth Ave
Toronto, On
(416) 461-2208

Spirits Bar & Grill
642 Church St.
Toronto, ON
M4Y 2G3
(416) 967-0001
Saturday & Sunday

Star City Karaoke
393 Dundas West
(416) 593-9996

Tropical Nights
1311 Danforth Ave
Toronto, On
(416) 693-9000
Mon 10:00 P.M

Winchester Tavern
537 Parliament St. (& Winchester St.)
(416) 929-1875 Wed and Sun

Wise Guys
2301 Danforth Ave.
Toronto, On
karaoke with Dr. Spin

JR's Bar & Grill
3653 Lakeshore Blvd. West
(416) 521-6302
Karaoke Saturday Nights

** Closings: **

The following Venues have closed their doors. We'll miss them:

Spice Isle Granadian Sports Bar (formerly 'Caffe Del Corso')
1928 Eglinton Ave. W., York
(416) 782-4044
Fridays 9:30pm - 2:00am with Martin Dalcourt & Merike Purje.

Joe Badali's Restaurant (Elbow Room)
156 Front St. (& Simco)
(416) 977-3064
Wednesday 6:30pm to 10:30pm with Walter & Chris Henkel

Mr. GreenJeans
The Eaton (Sears) Centre (Dundas & Yonge), 3rd floor
(416) 979- 1212
10 PM - 2 AM (Host: Jason Rolland,
Wednesday, Thursday Evenings (Saturdays? possible type/bug on site)

Milwaukee's Good Bites
220 Adelaide Street West
(416) 368-1017
10 PM - 2 AM (Host: Jason Rolland,
Tuesday Evenings

Fuel Station
335 Jarvis St. (& Carlton St.)
(416) 921-1361
Mondays, Pool Tables

The Red Spot
459 Church St
(416) 967-7768
Mondays with Foofer

Lee Garden
1255 Bay St. (& Bloor)
(416) 968-3689
All English Daily 9:30pm Chinese Food Restaurant

Sushi Bistro
204 Queen St. W.
Toronto, On
(416) 971-5315

Cafe Lang Van II Karaoke
70 Ossington
Toronto, On

Charitiy's Karaoke Cause Bar
240 Sherbourne
Toronto, On
(416) 922-4885

Ah So Gardens Japanese Restaurant
614 Jarvis St. (& Bloor)
(416) 920-4333
Featuring songs in English, Chinese, Japanese & Korean.

Fox & Firkin (Open but stopped Karaoke 3 years ago)
51 Eglinton Ave. E. (& Yonge St.)
Phone: (416) 480-0200
Sundays British Pub. Imported beers on tap

Stanley's Entertainment Lounge
129 Danforth Avenue
(416) 462-3373
9:30PM - Close (Host name pending)
Wednesday Evenings

T.J.'s Tap & Grill
2112 Danforth Ave. (E of Woodbine)
(416) 424-4612
Saturday with Mary

Karaoke Box Venues:

This sections I need time to get full details.
See reviews for:
XO Karaoke
BMB Karaoke,
Echo Karaoke
The King N I (review coming shortly)
boxes for details.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Karaoke Box Lovers: A New Place true to Japanese Tradition!

Folks, you know how I've been at a few karaoke boxes to get proper equipment. Well, I've been in touch with someone who is looking to open a karaoke box in the Japanese tradition with PROPER equipment: Key Changers, Food by computer screen, the full works. So those karaoke box owners too cheap to get key changers or get decent food, competition is coming. I won't say who but I'll supporting with great enthusiasm anyone who wants to do it RIGHT (like in Japan/China/Korea) instead of just cheap (what can I get away with).

This venue is still in the planning stages and I've been asked for advice on in which I'm giving free but I'm also looking to any and all fans to help me out with something: Software solutions for karaoke boxes. I've done some preliminary research and have 1 or 2 software packages that will server for a client/server situation for boxes but I would LOVE to know all the pre-built karaoke solutions out there for purchase, regardless of country of origin. So if anyone out there is willing to give a hand, I share the glory with all contributors. I'll continue to do my own research to help support what I believe will be the FIRST karaoke box in Toronto 100% true to Japanese tradition with real facilities. My time is also limited as I'm the middle of a project but when summer is over I'll have more time.

Upon reflection it is not only possibly but relative easy (at least compared to other major projects) to create a Linux based karaoke box system using core parts of the install base like the setup in Ubuntu (any MPEG compatible player with Python or Java scripting), to create a client/server based system. Many Linux MPEG compatible players can be scripted to link to a central interface and generic database but before I do so I want to be sure I wouldn't recreate the wheel. I've found 2 software solutions made for MS windows but I'm not convinced they are the best software packages for the job. So ANY help the karaoke community can give will be rewarded with a first rate karaoke box. Man am I excited about this. Thanks to all in advance. - Jonah A. Libster

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Karaoke Review: Cheers w/ Doctor Spin

Review: 2007-05-24

When I was looking for a suitable venue for the East York Karaoek Group one of the members suggested "Cheers". I wasn't sure I wanted everybody to know my name, after all karaoke venues sometimes change a bit when they know someone is observing.

The Good: There is a lot of space and a stage nearly as large as The Hollywood on The Queensway. Service for drinks was quite friendly and prompt and there are two pool tables for those who enjoy pool. Besides that I can't say a lot goes into this section which is generally not encouraging.

The Mixed:
While its a large bar its also very dark. Basically a low budget decor reminding one of a typical American style bar. When I tried to order food there was none available as the restaurant that apparently provided food was closed. The equipment is fair: The sound was decent but levels were not always well balanced (more attention to the sound levels would be ideal). The monitor is poorly placed on the floor and one has to squint to see the lyrics. Selection isn't bad but not great. Only 6194 songs which is passable but just barely. The MC once he gets into "driving" gear isn't bad but it takes awhile before that becomes apparent and is not always focused on either the sound levels or even changing the songs as he was sometimes slow to change his CDGs. (Old CDG system, no centralized laptop solution).

The Bad: The really bad thing here that I could see was the price of food (when available). It is quite high especially considering the decor and condition of the place.

Well, Cheers isn't the worst place I've seen. It has lots of space, a real stage and if you are in the East York area its a place to go on a Thursday or Sunday. On the other than that I can't say the place has anything that stands out in a good way. The Karaoke selection is average, the equipment overall is a bit below, and the MC is fairly good IF he is paying attention. I felt as if the atmosphere was affecting his approach to being a karaoke MC, but given the less than inspired decor of the place, I wasn't surprised. Its quite funny, 2 places in East York, each is almost completely complements the others: one has excellent decor, excellent food, great food prices and a first class MC, but with limited space. The other huge space, good stage, lessor MC, no food , high drink prices. Both have less than ideal selection and equipment which ome of these karaoke MC's should make an effort to improve.

Final Grade: C-

Facilities: 6.5 (Bonus for size and real stage although its decor is not the cheeriest)
Equipment: 6.8 (decent mikes (but worn), low monitor one has trouble reading)
Song Selection: 7.1 (all the basics just over 6k and good mix of modern and oldies)
Food Service: 8.0 (Very attentive, just wish there was food to serve)
Food Selection: NA
Food Quality: NA
Food Prices: 6.3 (expensive drinks and food from outside restaurant)
Location: 7.6 (Coxwell Subway and 2 blocks East)
Host: 6.9 (not always attentive but is good when he is "on the ball")

Venue Information:
Cheers W/ Doctor Spin
Thursday and Sunday Evenings, 10pm - 2am
1795 Danforth Ave.
Toronto, ON
M4C 1J2
(416) 698-9191

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