Rave: Karaoke

We’re not going to lie, initially the idea of karaoke made
us cringe (and let’s be honest, a little terrified). Singing in front of an
audience not knowing what notes we can or cannot hit and without an
abundance of shots? No, thank you, not for us. All this changed when we
discovered the world of private karaoke rooms at a friend’s birthday, then
later while visiting Korea and Japan, where karaoke
bars are their answer to an after-party. So whether you’re braver than us and
it’s public karaoke you’re after, or you prefer less audience and
more mic time, we’ve rounded up the best places in the city to sing your heart

Public karaoke bars
Cadillac Lounge 1296 Queen St. W.
Complete with a full-size stage and smoke machines, we only
recently discovered that this bar (with one of the best patios in the city) offers
karaoke on Saturday nights.

The Gladstone 1214 Queen St. W.
Head on over to the Melody Bar at the Gladstone Hotel Friday and Saturday nights and hang out at what Now Magazine has
voted “Best Karaoke Bar” for eight years straight.  

Sneaky Dees 431 College St.
Sing away your case of the Mondays at Sneaky Dee’s Monday
night karaoke. With more than 15,000 songs to choose from, no cover and $3
drinks before 11 p.m., now the nachos
aren’t the only reason to head to this College Street favourite. 

TKO’sSports Pub 1600 Danforth Ave.

be fooled by the crowds of men watching hockey or UFC – the upstairs of this
Danforth sports bar doubles as a karaoke bar on Saturday nights. Bonus: great
wings, great burgers. We’re sold.

The smoke machine adds a little something extra at Cadillac Lounge.

Private karaoke rooms

XO Karaoke 693 Bloor St. W.
Thank you to one of our best friends who decided to host her
birthday at XO Karaoke a few years back and introduce us to this gem. Conveniently located beside Clinton’s in the heart of Korea Town, we say why not make a night of it, or hit it
up late night like they do in Korea and Japan. And if XO is too crowded, BMB Karaoke is just down the street!

Bar+ Karaoke & Lounge 360 Yonge St. 2nd floor (above Swiss Chalet) 
Another private karaoke bar intro’d to us via a birthday celebration, Bar+ has a huge selection of English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Thai music open to all who love to sing and dance. One of our favourite parts? We got to bring our own snacks in, as long as we bought drinks from their bar. Stuff your face, sing at the top of your lungs and get your drink on. Good times.

Izakaya  294 College
After enjoying our regular sushi dinner at this delicious
new Japanese restaurant at College and Spadina, we got to talking to the owner
who let us in on a secret: the back room of the restaurant turns into a private
karaoke room if booked for 20 people or more. Sushi and karaoke? You know where
to find us at our next birthday.

S Lounge 4901 Yonge St. 2nd floor
If you are willing to make the trek (we prefer adventure) to
Yonge and Sheppard then we strongly suggest you check out this snazzy karaoke
bar. With themed rooms and a menu clad with pub
favourites and Japanese food alike, this karaoke bar is in a league of its own. 

Just two of the rooms at S Lounge
So next time you’re looking for birthday, bachelorette, or just regular Saturday night plans, why not check out the karaoke scene in Toronto. After all, there’s never a dull moment when a little Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys or Journey singalong is involved. 

First Jobs: Christina the professional present wrapper

Ah, first jobs. You might have babysat three screaming children, steamed designer clothing or blended McFlurries for $6 an hour. First jobs are far from glamourous for most people, but they offer more money than the tooth fairy ever gave you (usually). They also make up who we are today and are part of our journey to where we are now. Today brings us to a new series where all of us from the Fourth Floor, as well as some of our visitors, will tell you about their fun (and not so fun) – First Jobs.

Check out how our own Christina went wild with financial independence with her first job as a “professional present wrapper”.
My first job was at Mastermind Toys in Mississauga, a really cool toy company. I worked during the Christmas holidays as a “professional present wrapper.” 
I was the first of my friends to get a part-time job, which meant while everyone else was hanging out, I was getting paper cuts, trying to wrap soccer balls, and listening to Raffi’s Christmas music. How do you even wrap a round object properly? I still don’t know. 
 Tools of the trade. Image source.
Despite the dorky “present wrapper” title, the job was awesome because it was so close to home that I was able to walk to and from my shifts. The only uniform piece was a red apron, which I could quickly take off the second friends walked through the door. 
Best of all, the boy I had a crush on at the time worked at the grocery store in the same plaza, where I mildly stalked him. The $6.85 per hour I made was also much more than the $5 per week allowance my parents gave me (Five bucks a week, Mom? Really?! I know you’re reading this.).  
I worked long hours, or hours I thought were long at the time, for an entire two-week period to be able to afford – *drum roll* – floor seats for the Backstreet Boys concert. Since a concert at 14 without supervision in Toronto was altogether out of the question for my suburban parents, my best friend and I rocked out to I Want It That Way, our favourite song, alongside her dad.
Not only was Mastermind Toys my first job, it allowed me to buy tickets to my first concert. Helloooooo freedom!