Best Of

Best Karaoke

I pity the fool that got stuck counting this category. And though some responded to this one by claiming that there is no "best" karaoke in the area, many more must think otherwise -- as witnessed by the four pages packed with votes for more than 70 different bars, taverns and restaurants. Still, one joint had to rise to the top. Peking North, located on Division between Garland and Wellesley, is da place according to our readers. But why?

Belinda Exner is the karaoke queen here every night except Friday and Saturday. She's checked out the competition and has some ideas about why Inlander readers have placed her sing-it-yourself show above all others.

"I think I run the fairest show," she says. "There are a lot of good shows out there, but when it comes to when the people get to sing and how often they get to sing, I make sure that each person gets a shot once per round. And when the new singers come in, they don't have to wait until the end of the list because I put them in the next round, alternating new singer, old singer."

Exner (who has emceed the lounge events off and on for about four years) also mixes things up by introducing dance music into the rounds to keep everyone's blood moving. And the house sound system is one of the best -- and loudest -- in town.

"It's incredible. I can make it sound like a concert in there."

And while there is no "typical" karaoke participant (Exner says she gets all types -- good singers and bad ones, those serious about their performance and those looking to just goof off), she admits that regulars make up a large portion of the nightly crowd.

"Most of our regulars come in every single night. And I never have less than 20 singers per night -- that's a slow night."

Spiral Bouquet Class @ Dahmen Barn

Thu., June 20, 1-3 p.m.
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