While most of the LGBTQ bars and clubs in Austin are best known for their dance nights on Friday and Saturdays; these hotspots are open throughout the week … and in most cases … every day of the week. It’s during these mid-week nights that you discover the trinity of Austin’s weekday bar scene — drag, poker and KARAOKE!
While karaoke in the LGBTQ scene has been around forever and every gay bar has hosted a karaoke night at one point or another, the current lineup of karaoke nights and hosts seemed to have found their respective niches within the community. Karaoke in Austin has a loyal corp of followers, so chances are you’ll see familiar faces and hear some familiar voices when you hit up one of these karaoke nights.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable performing, they’re usually pretty fun to hang out, giving these clubs more of a neighborhood bar feel. “Anytime someone with no confidence or who is too afraid to sing finally gets up there and just goes for it! That makes me so happy,” says Danny Pintauro, who hosts karaoke at Rain on 4th, adding “it’s about having fun up on stage, whether you sound like Bocelli or a dying cat, I don’t care! I just care that you’re having an amazing time!”
Currently, four of Austin’s LGBTQ bars host a karaoke night — Highland, The Iron Bear, Rain on 4th and Sellers Underground. All four are located downtown, in or around the Warehouse District. If you don’t go out often or are visiting Austin, don’t be disappointed that there is no one out when you show up at the start of karaoke night. Austin is a late night town, so things usually pick up until a couple hours in. Be patient.
Martinis & Karaoke with Danny Pintauro
Kick off the week with Martini Monday down in the Warehouse District at Rain on 4th as 80s child TV star Danny Pintauro from Who’s the Boss? hosts karaoke every Monday night from 10 PM til close. Grab a $6 you-call-it martini from your favorite bartender for some liquid courage and to help you pick a song. “My crowd is fun, silly, and dedicated!” says Danny. “We have a mix of singers, people who just enjoy listening to the singers, tourists, and random fun people who are passing by and hear the music!”
You can sign up by either going through his catalog, old-school-style with four thick binders to browse through. He hasn’t updated them in a bit so new songs may not be listed. Chances are that he has the song. Just write it on a slip and ask him when hand him your selection. You can also download the Songbooks Online app and explore Danny’s extensive database of songs from the convenience of your phone. Plus, you can even send in your requests through the app. Use show code: XPT593
Planet Fabulous Karaoke with Murrah Noble
Just up the street from the Warehouse District at The Iron Bear, Murrah Noble and Planet Fabulous Karaoke hosts the first of two karaoke nights, on Wednesdays from 9:30 PM to 2 AM. When asked to describe her typical crowd, Murrah says it’s “anything BUT typical. My shows attract the best singers, including the theatre folks and the Gay Men’s Chorus, and every time I think one event will become my favorite, then someone turns around and tops it!”
Late Night Karaoke with Diamond Karaoke
Highland Lounge in the Warehouse District kicks off Sunday Funday karaoke, right after their weekly Texas Hold’em tournament, every Sunday night from 9 PM til close. Hosted by Diamond Karaoke, this is the first of two LGBTQ karaoke spots on Sunday nights. Diamond Karaoke offers up “68,500 different songs, from pop to country to standards to musicals and much more” to choose from. You can also browse and requests songs through the SongbookDB app (for Android users only). There is also a mobile-friendly web version if you’re an iPhone user or just don’t want to download the app.
Planet Fabulous Karaoke with Murrah Noble
Just down the street from the Highland Lounge, Murrah hosts the second of her two karaoke nights at The Iron Bear to help you close out your weekend every Sunday from 9:30 PM to close. It’s also an excellent time to take advantage of that Sunday Funday day drinking-enabled courage and just let loose. Murrah tells us “the best ones are ALWAYS when interpretive dance is included, or a bunch of drunk hot guys suddenly channel the Backstreet Boys … or the Spice Girls!”