With all due respect to the bar scene, lately a different trend has been taking the country by storm. I’m talking about karaoke. It used to be reserved for evenings at all-inclusive hotels, or for people who like to embarrass themselves in clubs, but found its way to the private living rooms and roof terraces of people who enjoy group singing. But instead of sacrificing your home on the altar of fun, you now can hire a private room in one of the karaoke places dotting the country. Grab a microphone, warm up the vocal cords, and press Play. (The prices listed below are liable to change.)
Globalization: Me on the Mic
It appears that Me on the Mic, one of the first places in Israel to spread the gosepl of karaoke, doesn’t rely on karaoke alone to give you a good time, but tries to create a richer experience. The idea (in addition to the differences in room size) is to make you feel like you’re abroad, even if you spend a whole evening singing in Hebrew. The design of each room is inspired by cities, like Las Vegas, Moscow and Copenhagen. If your throat isn’t built for singing for an entire evening, that’s perfectly all right: There are readymade playlists that provide you with a soundtrack even when you abandon the microphone to dance, eat or just chat. The biggest room can accommodate 100 guests, and some of the rooms have tables, 90-inch screens and small stages to make you feel even more like a real singer.
Cost: 100-220 shekels ($28-$61) per person for an evening of unlimited entertainment. Package deals range from on that included two alcoholic beverages per person and one dish from the menu for every three guests, to premium drinks and eight dishes from the menu. A room without the food-and-drink package will cost you 70 shekels per person. Children’s rates vary from 50 to 100 shekels each.
Munchies: Empanadas, sirloin carpaccio, quinoa patties and more. There’s also a diversified children’s menu.
Locations: Tel Aviv: 4 Yekutiel Street (Tel Aviv port); Rehovot: 12 Eli Horowitz; Petah Tikva: 30 Shoham; Haifa: 2 Kedoshei Jassy (International Convention Center).
The empire: Plugin
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Plugin is a leading pioneer of the karaoke trend in Israel: Since opening its first place in Tel Aviv in 2013, it has become a chain and is spreading the word elsewhere as well. Karaoke evenings consist mostly of big hits, but if you have a favorite song you always wanted to perform, Plugin has your back. Just make your request in advance and when you get there the playback will be waiting. And you can compile your own sing-along evening, including friends’ requests you’ve arranged beforehand. Four microphones will be handed out in each room, and at every stage you can record your performance via a mic and cameras. The whole joyous bundle can be transferred to a souvenir CD for 25 shekels ($7).
Cost: 30-60 shekels per participant, depending on time and day of the week. Package deals are priced between 120 and 265 shekels, all of them offering four hours of karaoke with a meal that includes an appetizer, main course and dessert. For children there’s an 80 shekel package that includes two hours of karaoke with a beverage and unlimited refreshments like mini-schnitzels and chocolate fudge.
Munchies: Hamburger (48 shekels), chicken skewers (42 shekels).
Locations: Tel Aviv: 1 Habarzel; Rishon Letzion: 14 Moshe Becker; Ramat Yishai: 3 Eucalyptus; Be’er Sheva: 2 Baruch Katinka; Eilat: 6 Derekh Hayam; Kfar Sava: 207 Weizmann (G mall).
Beatbox has two branches in the center of Israel: one in Petah Tikva with four karaoke rooms and another in Kfar Sava with seven rooms. If your event is small, you can take over a room for seven, or invite up to 50 guests to Petah Tikva and 60 to Kfar Sava. Each room has three microphones, two of them wireless, so people can feel free without worrying about an encounter between the cable and the drunkest/clumsiest guy in the room. In the larger rooms, beyond the areas for sofas next to the screens, there are tables where you can sit and be served.
Cost: 40 shekels per person Sunday-Wednesday until 8 P.M. for two hours of karaoke with unlimited soft drinks; 60 shekels after 8. Saturday nights, 60 shekels for three hours with the first alcoholic beverage on the house. From Thursday to Saturday, packages are available ranging from 100 to 200 shekels per person, including 3-4 hours of entertainment along with food, soft drinks and alcohol without limit.
Munchies: French fries (32 shekels), edamame (25 shekels), burger duet including extras (49 shekels), hummus (27 shekels).
Locations: Kfar Sava: 1 Atir Yeda; Petah Tikva: 4 Yitzhak Rabin.
The play’s the thing: Stage Karaoke Bar
The extensive reservoir of songs at Stage includes, alongside hits in Hebrew and English, forays into Russian and French as well, in case you get a yen to sing “Formidable” or to gush with “Laisse-moi t’aimer.” You can also get a viewing room with sports channels to see an important game with the guys. The New York Room can hold up to 120 people, including a balcony with space for another 150 and a deejay stand that you or one of your guests can manage. Or the house deejay will oblige. There’s also an open stage for artists with a hookup for instruments, and for private events an emcee is available who will run the evening and make sure all goes according to plan.
Cost: Various packages range from 100 to 175 shekels per person for three hours, including food and drink.
Munchies: Hamburger (44 shekels), half a liter of beer (26 shekels), vodka/tequila/arak chaser (15 shekels).
Location: 9 Arye Regev Street, New Industrial Zone, Netanya
Musical celebration: Beat Ashdod
Beat Ashdod has taken the musical diversity of the song catalogue and translated it into the design of the place. Each of the five rooms pays homage to different genres: pop, rock, disco, samba, jazz and reggae. Some of the rooms, which can accommodate six to 40 guests, are equipped with bongos so you can add your own beat. In the best tradition, the disco room has a mirror ball, the rock room comes with a set of drums and the pop room pays cool homage to Gorillaz. Each room has three or four microphones and a stand where you can do your thing. And if your ears need a rest from off-key singing, there’s a bar in the foyer where you can sit and chat over a drink. Most important, the payment options are flexible: you’re not obliged to take a package, so each participant can pay only for entry per hour.
Cost: 20 shekels per person per hour; packages can be ordered for 120-260 shekels per participant, offering four hours of entertainment with drinks and dishes from the menu.
Munchies: Liver pate (35 shekels), stir-fried bean salad with lemon and garlic (28 shekels), entrecote sandwich (57 shekels), meat platter for four with two side dishes (240 shekels).
Location: 19 Hayahalomim Street, Ashdod.
You decide: Playlist Be’er Sheva
Playlist in Be’er Sheva offers several rooms that make a visit worthwhile just to see them. One is designed like an Irish pub, but if you’re looking for a domestic atmosphere there’s also a backyard room (because in your real backyard the neighbors lurk). The kitchen here serves only cold dishes, which turns out to be a huge advantage – each guest can enjoy his favorite – and you can also order in food from outside, be it pizza, hamburger, sushi or whatever. In addition, Playlist works with various caterers who can provide your eats. Other spaces here are inspired by a Greek taverna, the Abbey Road studios, a classical art museum and a tattoo parlor. The smallest room is intended for eight guests; the largest holds 40.
Cost: 65 shekels for four hours including unlimited soft drinks, pizza, edamame and other refreshments (Sunday-Wednesday); on weekends, 130 shekels per participant for four hours including unlimited regular/premium alcohol.
Munchies: Edamame, nachos, popcorn, pretzels, peanuts and more (included in the price of the package).
Location: 101 Trumpledor Street, Be’er Sheva.
No way out: Escape City
Escape City, as its name suggests, specializes in escape rooms, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place in its heart for karaoke. The site has two karaoke rooms, one holding up to 15 people, the other up to 100. If you want to arrange a fun evening for your friends, Escape City is a nifty option. You can reserve an escape room where you’ll go nuts playing for an hour, and from there proceed directly to a karaoke fest. There’s also a gaming room and an active bar where you can relax.
Cost: A package including unlimited food and light beverages costs 189 shekels per person, while a deal including unlimited munchies and alcohol will set you back 240 shekels per person. Arrangements for parking at reduced rates in the area are available.
Munchies: Pizza, yam fries, mini-schnitzels, nachos and pretty much everything that goes with alcohol.
Location: 32 Ben Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv.