The history surrounding Karaoke (and the name) started in Japan, although the exact details are sketchy. It fast became the entertainment of choice among people from all walks of life and ages. Everyone from Japanese salary men to grandmothers could be found unwinding with a spot of Karaoke washed down with a few shots of sake. I hoped my Czech Karaoke experience would be equally as exciting. I called K* Star Karaoke a few days in advance (which I recommend) to reserve a room for myself and my fellow vocalists. The extremely pleasant and well-spoken young man informed me there were several rooms available on my specified day, and politely suggested the intriguingly named ‘Galaxy Room’(800 CZK per hour). The reservation process was quick and simple. I gave my name and he called me back within the hour (as promised) to confirm my booking.
Saturday night came around quickly and the Galaxy Room awaited the shrill tones that my vocalists and I had to offer. The Galaxy is recommended for 8 people, but it felt snug with only four. The air-conditioned room contained two knee-high circular tables, a Karaoke machine, (which controlled the volume and effects for two microphones), one widescreen TV and an ominous barcode scanner with a selection of ring-bound books. The slightly-cold yet efficient hostess gave us our crash course in operating the Karaoke system and in ordering drinks. All refreshments and food (sushi, pizza, and bar snacks) should be ordered by selecting from the menu on the touch screen, which was located above the Karaoke machine. After confirming your order with a touch of the screen, a member of staff would bring your requested items.
The hostess opened the song book and hurriedly showed us how to choose songs. Simply use the barcode scanner to scan the selected song’s barcode in the book and wait for the on-screen confirmation. Everything so far seemed simple. The hasty hostess customised the computer and song selection to the English settings, and we were good to go. The four of us were alone in the silver walled Galaxy Room; Ordering drinks via touch screen and selecting songs by scanning barcodes – was this the future? George Jetson would be proud! We sheepishly ordered our first round of drinks and started flicking through the song book to start our very civilized K*Star Karaoke Bar evening of interactive entertainment.
Fast-forward 3 glasses of house white and the civilized start was a distant and hazy memory. Having total control of both the microphone volume and echo sound effects meant plenty of baiting and banter. Belting out Bob Marley songs with heavy reverb gives you that all-important dancehall edge and truly authentic sound that I never thought Karaoke would offer. Our drinks arrived promptly after touching the confirm button, although staff members seemed keen to bring the drinks and leave as quickly as possible. No surprise really!
The non-smoking room was equipped with an air-conditioning unit and remote control which turned out to be a Godsend the more animated our performances became. I felt that the song selection on offer was slightly limited and quite random. The K*Star website boasts 15,000 songs and catalogues spanning 9 languages, so I was expecting a hefty bible-sized song book and was disappointed to find the slim pickings on offer. K*Star do have a service where customers can request certain songs before hand and they will be added to the system for you, which is a nice touch.
The process of selecting the songs is pretty straightforward in theory, though in practice the scanner didn’t always seem to scan the correct song. This might have been due to our over-excited/inebriated state but either way it became a little bit annoying. Also there was no way of seeing a list of the forthcoming songs, which meant the next song was always a surprise and a slight rush to prepare (mentally and vocally).
The centrally-located bar area was pleasant enough, but not ideal for relaxation. I spent a few minutes out there and was struck by the sound of several karaoke rooms’ slightly muted howling vocals (none of which can be heard when inside the comfort of your own room). The reality check did a good job of sobering me up, and I returned to the Galaxy Room feeling a little bit self-conscious and sheepish.
With that said, I totally enjoyed the K*Star Karaoke experience. The simple refreshment system meant that you had little interaction with staff and maximum interaction with friends. The staff members were efficient and English-speaking, and the bar was well stocked and clean. Be mindful of the time though, as the staff is in no hurry to rush you out the door and it can be easy to run over your allotted time and end up paying extra. I plan to visit again soon and test out my vocal cords in one of the other themed rooms to see if my exquisite Bob Marley rendition extends beyond the walls of the Galaxy.
K*Star Karaoke Bar
Legerova 78, 120 00 Prague 2
Phone: +420 222 240 035 (from 18:00)
Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday: 18:00-02:00. Friday-Saturday: 18:00-05:00
• Smoking Policy: Non-smoking inside private rooms, but its allowed in the communal bar area (well-ventilated air conditioning inside rooms).
• Location: I.P. Pavlova.
• The Crowd: Mixed ages & nationalities.
• Attire: No special requirements.
• Price Range: High-priced cocktails/drinks: 100 – 140 CZK. No draught beers; bottled Pilsner Urquell: 45 CZK. White & red wine: 70 CZK per glass. Bottles from 330 CZK.
• Entrance Fees: none (Minimum of 800 CZK per hour for an 8-person room).
• Entrance Fees: None. Rooms – minimum of 800CZK per hour for a 8 person room
• Size: Suitable for large numbers. Suitable for private functions from 18:00. Rooms – 1 big room suitable for up to 25 people and 2 rooms suitable for 8.
• Music Policy: The music choice is yours!
• Service: Very quick & very friendly. Drinks & refreshments ordered via touch screen. English-speaking.
Write to email@example.com for any song requests in advance.
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