Karaoke is one of those things you hate to love, even if you don’t want to admit it. Most people are guilty of singing in the shower or alone in the car, but karaoke gives you the unique opportunity to show off just how good your vocal skills are (with loud accompanying background music of course). If you’re looking to sing your own rendition of “Baby Got Back” in the near future, we’ve got you covered with this breakdown of some of the best spots in State College.
I almost feel obligated to put this first because every Wednesday night, the Shandygaff is absolutely packed. With no cover for Gaff-eoke, it’s hard to imagine why it wouldn’t be. Personally, I have never made it up to the stage to sing due to the fact that there is always an overwhelming number of people signed up to sing, but it looks like the time of your life. The singers are surrounded by a crowd eager to help out on the mic, generating a fun energy that usually adds to their overall performance. As the only smoking bar in town, you may be a little winded by the time you’re finished, but luckily there are $3 tall boys and $6 liquor pitchers to keep everyone hydrated.
Most people think that Rotelli’s is only a restaurant and are confused when they found out there is an entire bar downstairs. Tucked away on Calder Alley, I guess it could be hard to miss. One thing that you do not want to miss, though, is their Monday night karaoke. For a $2 cover, the waitstaff brings out what appears to be an endless supply of free pizza starting from 9-11 p.m.. If that’s not enough — which it probably could be, since it’s free pizza — karaoke continues until midnight with cheaply priced drinks. It’s definitely not as packed as the Gaff, giving you even more opportunity to show off your pipes.
3. Icy Snow
If few people know about Rotelli’s downstairs bar, then literally nobody knows about Icy Snow. Consider it a little taste of Japan nestled in the heart of downtown State College. I would recommend this place for anyone looking for a memorable night, because you really won’t find anything else like it around here. For an hourly rate, you rent out your very own karaoke room — the largest can accommodate about 30 people — with options of different food platters to be served throughout the night. The only downside is that it’s BYOB, which I suppose isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
On Tuesday nights, loyal karaoke-goers only have to pay $2 cover to showcase their talent at Café 210 West. In my experience, it seems to generate a crowd that is actually not tone-deaf, which is probably why I refuse to participate. Surprisingly, microphones are placed at the front of the bar, rather than on the actual stage, and there’s seemingly always a long list of people ready to sing. The best part about Café is that there are always special,s and for Café-oke it’s no different, as half-price drinks, drafts, and starters run from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
On any given weekend, the White Loop transports inebriated persons to and from their respective downtown party locations. Most of the time, it is filled to capacity and someone builds up the courage to start a song in hopes that others will join in. Though my days of riding the White Loop are far gone, I will always look back on the random “Sweet Caroline” sing-a-longs and smile.