Mickey’s does not eff around when it comes to karaoke. Often the marquee out front says “World’s Best Karaoke Wed-Sun, Euchre Mon” and while I can’t vouch for the euchre on Mondays, I will agree that it’s dang close to the best karaoke I’ve ever been to. As I live a five-minute walk from Mickey’s, I find myself saddled up for the show a few times a month.
Mickey’s has a pretty low-brow list of can beers and bottles, so usually our table is littered with a combination of Bud Dry, Coors Golden and whatever else we come across. Usually at least a couple of folks are a little tipsier than desired, which I assume has to do with over-calming nerves before taking the carpeted stage.
I try to arrive at Mickey’s about an hour before karaoke begins so that we can pick pole position for the evening. I rarely sing, but I like to be front and center for the wonderful that’s about to unfold. Pre-karaoke, Mickey’s is a pretty quiet place. The high tops and low tables are normally empty, and a few regulars are littered around the large rectangular wrap-around bar. Either sports or Antiques Roadshow are on in the background with a tiny bit of sound echoing off of the black and white laminate floors. The bartenders are nice enough until they start to see the flood of drunken singers on the horizon—then all smiles are off.
Karaoke begins at 9:30, and you can expect the crowds to hit as early as 8:30. On Saturdays it seems like many of the performers have been “prepping” at other bars for hours beforehand, so you can expect to see some grandiose work on stage. The stage is about a foot above the floor, and many of the singers will take full advantage of this through jumps, crawls, twists and turns within their spirited performance of everything from TLC’s Waterfalls to Ke$ha.
Several karaoke regulars are Mickey’s mainstays, and many of them have stage names for their karaoke alter-egos. “Kilroy” sings a lot of Nine Inch Nails. A middle-aged white man belts out ODB at the beginning of most nights. (He really hits those F bombs.) An elderly man in a comfy Buckeyes sweatshirt pulls up a barstool and croons out the Beach Boys. My husband sings the best worst version of Eternal Flame. Mickey’s has its lineup of regulars down.
Some of the better performers wind their way through the crowd and put on a fantastic show. Some of the more timid or less talented performers hide as best they can on stage as they painfully make their way through whatever song their friends forced them into. But one thing is clear in every trip to Mickey’s: This entire bar is having a BLAST. As you look around, you see people crying laughing, you see people daring each other to do another shot in exchange for another song, and you see all sorts of Facebooking and Instagramming, presumably in an effort to make all friends jealous of the time-of-the-life evening that’s being had by the collective group at Mickey’s.
Most times I’ve been to Mickey’s we’ve made new friends. Something about the crappy canned beer, the boarded up entrance and the sweet sounds of LL Cool J inspires a lot of fast friendships. Of course as a group goes through a painful experience together (such as a really, really, really awful drunken group of gals squawking Spice Girls) you find a common bond that will tie you together for all of eternity. The times I’ve seen people irresponsibly drunk, I’ve been impressed with the crowd’s willingness to take care of their brethren. Mickey’s karaoke truly creates an incredibly supportive community.
The space itself in Mickey’s has occasional charm with walls covered with random beer lights. The pool table is usually empty, unless someone is using it to try to hold up his weight. Glamour shots of Marilyn Monroe and floating piano art decorates the sparse walls, but I’d gather that few people notice the interior design of Mickey’s. I’ve been to Mickey’s a few times outside of karaoke, and each time I’ve been met with raised eyebrows and bartender’s confusion. It seems that patrons younger than 50 aren’t generally expected outside of karaoke.
While the bar requires a two-drink minimum to be a part of the karaoke madness, I’d guess that most patrons manage to make it well past two. The bar is cash only, but you shouldn’t need much—this will be an affordable evening. Shots flow freely, and many of the tables will be packed with as many friends as empty bottles of beer. The line to sing grows quickly, so an early arrival can be key to getting you in to sing.
Mickey’s karaoke seems to have every song, and the gal in charge has a wonderful singing voice and manages drunks in a very professional manner. Large binders sit on most tables, and the list of available songs is truly impressive. The only song I’ve ever wanted to sing, which seems to be the only song that they haven’t had, is hopefully on the way someday soon. When the Nightman Cometh, so will I right up onto that dimly lit, carpeted stage.
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