Top five karaoke spots in KL
Where is the best place to karaoke in KL? The Time Out KL team croon their way through five karaoke joints and rate them for your convenience. Photography Anthony Lau.
News KTV (Final score 45/100)
Song selection (12/25) A strange mix of pop, classic rock and really obscure singers (and not in a cool, indie way).
The karaoke system (10/25) It’s easy to use but took a long time to boot up on our arrival. We also got some horrible feedback from the microphones twice in our hour-long session, which dampened our spirits somewhat. And the microphones felt slightly greasy.
The rooms (4/10) Tiny. We went for the small room which was okay for three of us, but would have been a stretch for any more (you’re allowed up to six people). Cracked vinyl seating, but adequate air-conditioning and no smell.
Booze (3/5) There’s a perennial promotion on Carlsberg drafts (buy one and get one free) and a modest selection of spirits and alcohol. Prices wouldn’t look out of place in a club (from RM18).
Food (1/5) You’re encouraged to bring your own food, or you can order from their selection of chicken wings and assorted tidbits. There’s a McDonald’s downstairs.
Staff (0/5) Rude on the phone, disinterested at the reception desk and unhelpful when setting up the system. The only time they smiled was when trying to get us to order drinks.
Price and value (10/15) RM25 per room for an hour can’t really be beat, especially if you do cram six people in (that’s RM4 each!). You get what you pay for with the facilities, but if you crank up the volume loud enough it’s easy to pretend you’re somewhere else. All in all, you still get what you came for: an hour of singing.
The K-factor (5/10) It’s not the best, but it could be worse.
Roof top terrace, Ampang Park Shopping Centre, Jalan Ampang, KL (03 2161 0134/www.facebook.com/newsktv.com.my) Open daily, 1pm-3am. Small room, RM40.60; medium room, RM63.80. RM10 extra on New Year's Eve.
Teo Heng KTV: (Final score 69/100)
Song selection (21/25) It’s impossible to not add more grief to the curse of the Canto-Mandarin-J-K pop that governs the KL karaoke scene, but we were positively wooed by the song selection with the price they offer. It’s a slightly neater list as compared to the other places we visited. Amy Winehouse, MJ, Gary Cao, Bryan Adams, Gaga, Jason Mraz and dear Mr Sinatra were with us that night.
The karaoke system (21/25) Crisp audio with pitch adjustment. The screen didn’t work upon our arrival; we needed help from the staff to tune us in. While we were quite pleased with the quality original music videos, we saw at least one makeshift video of a mugging-turnedromance incident. Very straight forward and easy to use remote control units even if you don’t read Mandarin. The touch screen definitely scored points with us. They have a digital clock on the screens to let you know how much time you paid for/have left, as well as free microphone covers for the hygiene conscious.
The rooms (6/10) Comfortable the bare necessities, nothing fancy. They enforce a strict no smoking policy across all rooms – some of us were not in favour of that.
Booze (0/5) Booze? What booze?
Food (2/5) You order food from a separate restaurant (Madam Lim) downstairs. Nothing praiseworthy to our taste yet still edible to our standards. We can’t complain more with the low price they offer.
Staff (3/5) Made up of prompt acting, straightforward people who gets the job done. Tip: A smile and a nod go a long way in customer service.
Price and value (10/15) RM25 per hour for a small room, RM75 per four hour slot from Mondays to Thursdays. Great value for money if you forgo having to order food from downstairs.
The K-factor (6/10) Planned for an hour, stayed an hour. We had a good time nonetheless.
Unit B-09-2 & B-09-3, Sunway Giza, Jalan PJU 5/14, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. (03 6141 8988). Mon- Sat, 12pm-3am; Sun, 11am-2am.
Loudspeaker (Final score 76/100)
Song selection (22/25) New hits from Flo Rida and Katy Perry are already in their song listings, which is impressive. Old favourites are present too; everything from Take That to Robyn. A mix of old and new – we like.
The karaoke system (18/25) We’re not fans of the rotating Chinese songs that come on when we hadn’t picked any songs yet. But we like the ‘echo’ options that allow you to increase the bass. High notes aren’t our specialty.
The rooms (6/10) Dark but not dank. Spacious but not particularly large. It’s average really but we did admire the glow-in-the dark buttons on the wall that enable you to choose singing options if you’re not seated close to the touch screen.
Booze (3/5) All the staples are available here: Tiger, Guinness and Heineken. It’s all cheaper during happy hour (before 7pm) so if you want to get drunk for less, start early.
Food (3/5) Their food menu’s pretty lengthy – Western and Asian included. Arrive before 7pm for a free hot meal that arrives quickly.
Staff (5/5) Girls behind the counter were happy to point out their promos, ushers stood nearby to direct you to your karaoke room, and waiters were on-hand immediately to take our order and serve us promptly. We can find no fault.
Price and value (13/15) At less than RM30 per person (RM23 before 7pm; RM28 after 7pm) for three hours, we reckon there is value to be had here. A nice alternative between the other too-expensive and creepily-cheap joints out there.
The K-factor (6/10) It’ll do at a pinch; bring all your friends and colleagues.
63 & 65, Jalan PJU 5/20, The Strand, Kota Damansara (03 6142 2223/www.loudspeaker.my). Open daily, 11am-3am
Red Box (Final score 79/100)
Song selection (22/25) You can find the most obscure ’90s one hit wonders here along with a lot of other songs, it’s just a question of whether or not they come with lyrics that put dampener on things.
The karaoke system (19/25) It’s a standard system but that doesn’t make it any less complicated for first timers, who will definitely spend some time trying to figure out what does what. The help screen isn’t much help, because you have to figure out how to get there first.
The rooms (8/10) Inviting. The plush seats calm down any nerves present, so you can relax. The smaller rooms are quite small though, so you’ll have to push the tables to the side if you plan to dance.
Booze (3/5) It’s fair enough. The mandatory beverage fee entitles you to two drinks and that includes beer.
Food (4/5) They have an all you can eat buffet spread with sushi, crab and even cake and ice cream. You’re free to get seconds and thirds as often you like during your session and the food is actually quite decent for a karaoke buffet.
Staff (3/5) They were helpful, although we wish they would learn to knock louder (and more than once) to avoid walking in on customers headbanging to EMF’s ‘You’re Unbelievable’.
Price and value (12/15) At close to RM60 per person (inclusive of the mandatory drinks and tidbits fee), it does seem quite pricey for karaoke but it’s worth it when you think about the buffet and the overall look and feel of the place, which is pristine.
The K-factor (8/10) Come here for the buffet but stay for the karaoke. We can’t stress this enough. Overall you’ll get a fun night.
Fourth Floor, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, KL (03 2287 2211/www.redbox.com.my). Open daily, 11am until late. RM63 per person, per three-hour session.
Neway CEO (Final score 85/100)
Song selection (22/25) Mandarin and Canto-pop hits dominate the song selection, followed by a good selection of J- and K-pop tunes and an unexpectedly fair number of English hits and classics. We gladly murmured our way through a messy and disjointed list of Lady Gaga, Bryan Adams, Spice Girls, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Foo Fighters, Will Young, Frank Sinatra and Ms Carey. Do not expect to be stunned, but we did find the odd Thai band if that fits your fancy.
The karaoke system (23/25) Top notch audio system with pitch adjustment to suit your singing skills. Fairly straight forward and easy to use remote control units – if you read Mandarin.
The rooms (8/10) Let’s-put-allthings- shiny-together-in-a-room-andsee- if-it-works decor. It does. In fact, the shimmery floor tile is the first thing that caught our attention. And get this – they loan out shawls with no charge if the air conditioning gets too cold.
Booze (2/5) Detailed menu with photos. Prices are steep, but the massive beer and bottle selection makes up for it. Our team decided that we can get cider way cheaper than what they offer.
Food (5/5) We hate to say this, but the food was the star. The buffet fits the value. Very fresh Japanese; they only make the stuff upon order. Desserts are actually behind a protective glass cabinet, which put them one mark above hotel buffets that leave them out to air. There was – drum roll – chocolate fondue. Keep this up and they’ll be known for the food rather than the karaoke. Bravo.
Staff (4/5) Helpful, polite, and quick to respond to our demands. Chinese speaking front desk staff appropriate for the clientele – shame on us to have thought titbits were TVs. Do not ask for more.
Price and value (12/15) RM56 plus RM15 for titbits per person, which came up to about RM70. We were happy to pay for the good food and service.
The K-factor (9/10) Planned to stay an hour, ended up staying more than three. Magical.
Level 4 & 5 Fahrenheit88, 179, Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL. (03 2148 2600/www.newaykb.com.my). 11am until late.