Saturday, June 30, 2007

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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At 12:21 PM, Blogger Aardvark said...

Jonah, you should come back to the Wolf & Firkin again soon. Charlie has been making a concerted effort to up his catalogue and is in the process of adding an additionl 2k - 3k songs.


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