Home » A+E » Karaoke bar offers piece of home for Asians, a new experience for Americans

Karaoke bar offers piece of home for Asians, a new experience for Americans

The Voice Karaoke Bar located at 1493 N High Street. Credit: Mike Nodianos | Lantern Photographer

The Voice Karaoke Bar located at 1493 N High Street. Credit: Mike Nodianos | Lantern Photographer

 

At The Voice Karaoke Bar, you can sing your favorite songs — in English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Mandarin and other languages.

The karaoke bar recently opened at the back of Yau’s Chinese Bistro, 1493 N. High St.  

Mei Lee, whose husband owns Yau’s and co-owns The Voice, said the popularity of Asian karaoke bars inspired them to open their own.

Lee also said that so far their patrons have been about half Americans and half Asians.

The touch-screen karaoke system has hundreds of songs, with some of the English-language favorites being “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, “Someone Like You” by Adele and “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.

People can sing in the main lounge free of charge, or can opt to rent a private room.

“Sometimes people don’t want to sing in front of everybody, so that’s why we have the private rooms,” Lee said.

The Voice offers seven private rooms in varying sizes, ranging from $30 to $90 an hour according to the size. Each room is outfitted with its own karaoke system.

Patrons must be 21 or older to be in the main lounge, but all ages are welcome in the private rooms.

The bar offers bottled and draft beers, as well as mixed drinks. In the future it will offer bar snacks.

Employee Kirstin Smith said that the karaoke bar is a good departure from the typical bar experience.

“It’s such a norm in Asia, but not as much here,” she said. “It’s a great way for Americans to get out of their comfort zone because bars have become so comfortable for everyone.”

The Voice Karaoke Bar located at 1493 N High Street. Credit: Mike Colin | Lantern Photographer

The Voice Karaoke Bar located at 1493 N High Street. Credit: Mike Colin | Lantern Photographer

Smith recently moved back to Columbus from Los Angeles, where she worked at a sushi restaurant for years. Applying to work at The Voice was a “no-brainer” for her.

“I love Asians. I’ve always worked for Asians, so I applied here,” Smith said.

Lee said that another thing that Americans have to learn is “Lucky,” a drinking game involving the rolling of dice, similar to Yahtzee. She said many Asian customers enjoy playing the game at the bar.

Vesper Zhao, a second-year in communication, said that bar reminds her of places she used to go to in her home country.

“In China there’s a lot of places like this. I’ll often go with my friends and family,” she said.

Zhao said she prefers the private rooms because she doesn’t think she can sing well.  Even so, she said she still enjoys singing Chinese-language songs, and her favorite English-speaking artist is Taylor Swift.

The Voice is open from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. seven days a week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.