Saturday, May 14, 2011

At La Galería, karaoke fans & "microphobes" can feel equally at home

Ron and Rossalba
There are karaoke bars, and then there is La Galería. This venue has a raised stage, costumes, lights, and a sophisticated sound system. It's not the kind of place where you can hide in the shadows and mumble your way through a song you thought you knew.

La Galería on a Wednesday night isn't as casual as Mama Mia, where karaoke starts at 11pm, reducing the average age of participants by 10 or 20 years, and significantly upping the blood alcohol levels.

At La Galería, the stage is the center of attention and singers are able to see faces in the audience, which you really can't at Mama Mia, since the TVs are placed up high and facing the DJ booth.

While each venue has its merits, I'm loving karaoke at La Galería because both performers and audience get the best of both worlds. We start early—9pm—and keep it going until 2am, when we usually end up pushing the tables aside to make way for a dance floor.  We have the biggest songbook in town in both English and Spanish, so it's not uncommon for someone to find a song that compels them to break the mold and sing for the first time in their lives!

For die-hard karaoke fans, it's a kick to be in the spotlight, especially in an upscale place like La Galería. It makes a singer feel like wearing tap shoes and a hat, or a long, sparkly gown.

Suzy and Gene
For people who would rather extract their own wisdom teeth than sing in front of others, La Galería is a beautiful, comfortable room in which to hang out, stay cool (air conditioning!), and enjoy the surprise of a really good singer once in a while without paying for a concert ticket.

Last week we were lucky enough to have three professional entertainers in the house: Aarón Romo, who co-hosts on Wednesdays, Rossalba, who sings on Friday nights at La Galería, and Doug Robinson, whose jazz compositions are available on CD.

Ponchis, Irma, Alexis, Gerardo, Adri
We were also delighted to have La Galería server Josune, who sings Yuridia's Ángel like (you guessed it) an angel; crowd favorite Ron, aka Louis Armstrong; Olga Rodriguez Ramirez, who won last year's karaoke contest at Mama Mia; and Alejandro de León, Guanajuato, who quietly ate dinner and nursed a beer for hours, then finally sang a most impressive El Triste!

The rest of us, for better or for worse talent-wise, had FUN, and those who shied away from the songbook said they had fun, too. Which is the whole point! It's nice to have a venue where karaoke fans and microphobes alike can feel at home.

Karaoke at La Galería with Ani & Aarón
Wednesdays 9pm-2am
Plaza Alhondiga (behind the Banamex across from Mega)
Dinner Reservations 154 42 88