This unassuming hotspot has a long-standing reputation as being one of the best karaoke bars in Chicago, but you wouldn’t guess it from its curb appeal. It sits on the far north end of Lincoln Square alongside busy Lincoln Avenue as a part of a tiny, rundown strip mall. At your first visit, you’ll be convinced you’re at the wrong place. But once inside, the place is a maze of long hallways and private rooms to rent for any bachelorette party, birthday or event you can think of. The communal bar counters keep drinks flowing and it’s almost always busy, so make sure to call ahead for weekend reservations.
Lincoln Karaoke, 5526 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773 895 2299
Sakura is one of many popular karaoke joints in Chinatown, but it’s arguably the most well-known and well-equipped. It blends a combination of private rooms (ranging from small 8-person to VIP 25-person sizes) and typical bar-and-stage styles of karaoke, so it suits whatever mood you’re in. Bring your next event here and rock out in your own room, or come solo and sing along with strangers on the dance floor. Private rooms come fully decked out with wireless mics and flat screens and are charged hourly ($35-$70). Bar access typically requires a $15 cover, which includes drink tickets.
Sakura, 234 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL, USA +1 312 326 9168
Just across the street from Sakura is No. 18 Karaoke, a more laid-back Chinatown option. It has less of the flash but all of the fun, also offering both private and public rooms for belting your best. No. 18 is also the most economical venue with rented rooms, as you can snag a private one for just $10-$15 an hour before 7pm. Food and drink have moderate pricing, but the place is also above a restaurant and close by to all the neighborhood’s best eats.
No. 18 Karaoke, 2201 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 312 225 0600
On the north end of Chinatown’s main drag you’ll find PopKTV. It’s on the newer side but has one of the most authentic set-ups in Chicago’s karaoke scene, and their song lists are full of K Pop and Chinese hits as well as American favorites. You can rent private rooms by the hour here but also relax, dance and drink in the main lounge area. It gets packed on the weekends but is open until 2am every night. Bring your friends on a weeknight to truly rule the venue and sing your hearts out.
PopKTV, 2002 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 312 225 6208
It may be a popular spot on Division Street for out-of-towners and overwhelming bachelorette parties, but Mother’s manages to do a lot of things very well. It’s basically split into two spaces —the back bar with an expansive dance floor, VIP couches and club remixes bumping all night long – and the front bar with never-ending karaoke, giant jenga and beer pong tables. Pick your path for the night, or trade-off between the two. The karaoke is free, you can pick almost any song you can think of, and they welcome single stars, group acts and repeat performers. But it’s often packed, so be prepared to wait awhile for your turn.
The Original Mother’s, 26 W Division St, Chicago, IL, USA +1 312 642 7251
Alice’s is the epitome of a late-night karaoke joint in Chicago. The singing doesn’t get started until 11pm Wednesday-Saturday, once everyone has pumped themselves full of liquid courage to hit those high notes. It also stays open until 5am on Saturday nights and 4am for the rest of the week, so you can croon here later than anywhere else in the city. They have an easy-going vibe, and the place is still run by original owners Alice and Frank.
Alice’s Lounge, 3556 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773 279 9382