Whether you’re crooning your favorite tunes or you’re just there for the food, local karaoke hot spots create an exciting nighttime activity.
Applebee’s was one of the first to bring a karaoke night to the St. George restaurant scene. Since then, places like Wing Nutz, Honolulu Grill and The One and Only have picked up on the trend to cater to the karaoke crowd.
So what drives the business-end of karaoke nights?
At Applebee’s, located at 156 S. River Road, success revolves around a good disc jockey and mass appeal.
“Our DJ is very well-established, and I think we market it right towards all age groups,” said Applebee’s bar manager Dave Durfee. “You’ll see anybody here, from high school kids to seniors to young kids.”
Applebee’s has made a name for itself among the college-age demographic as one of the major places to sing the night away.
“I like Applebee’s because there is more people that participate to listen to than just your group of friends,” said Tanner Holt, a sophomore integrated studies major from Spanish Fork.
While some go because they like the scene, others go because they feel their options are somewhat limited.
“I honestly don’t know of many places here in St. George who do karaoke, so I go to Applebee’s normally,” said Asia Smith, a senior health occupations major from Shanghai.
Honolulu Grill, located at 706 E. 700 South and 490 W. St. George Boulevard, follows close behind Applebee’s in popularity points, but students like and dislike the karaoke scene there for different reasons.
“I like Honolulu Grill’s better because the participants sing better and the music doesn’t have to be as loud,” said Aubrey McBride, a senior integrated studies major from St. George.
Holt, on the other hand, appreciates a diverse crowd that isn’t always offered at Honolulu Grill.
“If you go to Honolulu, I have noticed it is usually your friends, a couple regulars and maybe one or two new people, where you never know what you will get at Applebee’s,” Holt said.
There are now two Wing Nutz restaurants in St. George, 1091 N. Bluff Street and 15 S. River Road, but only the one on Bluff Street offers karaoke.
The One and Only, located at 64 N. 800 East, is a different experience because the fact that it is a bar requires an age restriction at the door. However, drinking is not a requirement for participation in karaoke night.
“We aren’t here to entice people to drink,” said Jill Mayer, owner of The One and Only. “On my karaoke nights, I serve a lot of water and soda.”
Mayer said she loves the karaoke crowd, especially the college students because they bring a fun energy to the establishment, and they are what help drive the business, whether they are drinking or not.
Students have many reasons for attending karaoke night, but the most common is a love of music and a good time, even on a weeknight.
“I like karaoke because it’s something I can go out and do in the middle of the week with a big group of my friends,” said Patrick Boyle, a sophomore theater major from Pasadena, Calif.
Whether students are participating or not, they are most likely going to be entertained in some way.
“I definitely go to karaoke to participate, but it’s also an added bonus to kick back and relax and watch other people have a good time singing,” Smith said.
“I don’t like to sing, but it is fun to listen to your friends and all the different people and is just a fun and different atmosphere,” Holt said.
So whether you’re a singer, a watcher, a drinker or just there for the food, karaoke night is bound to bring some entertainment into your week.