Partygoers get in the festive spirit with karaoke

Streatham Guardian: Karaoke at Dime Bar in Battersea Rise Karaoke at Dime Bar in Battersea Rise

With the festive season in full swing, karaoke joints are seeing an influx of Christmas partygoers ready to belt out their favourite sing-a-long numbers.

Karaoke, which means 'empty orchestra' in Japanese, has well and truly become a worldwide phenomenon since it started in Japan in the 1970s.

The Singing Buddha restaurant, in Morden, offers a Chinese buffet complete with karaoke, a disco ball and lights at weekends and throughout the festive period.

Often singers also get up and boogie to hits such as K-pop craze Gangnam Style and Spanish dance song the Macarena.

Philip Ming, a manager at the restaurant, said they have many thousands of Chinese songs and popular music but most of their customers are British.

Mr Ming says: "Here it’s about having a laugh and a few drinks. Not everybody can sing but we’re not going to boo them."

In Battersea Rise, the American-themed Dime Bar has karaoke pods tucked away in its basement loaded with karaoke classics.

Floor manager Fiona Lavelle says there are a lot Christmas parties at the moment along with the usual mix of hen dos, birthday parties, sports teams and groups of teachers.

She says: "There are some serious groups which come in earlier in the evening who might sing power ballads. Then later on there's a lot more joking around."

She adds: "The rooms are all private so people tend to let go and have lots of fun. We have had a few people stripping so we have to stop that."

A rugby team once broke a TV, a girl dislocated her knee while dancing and a waitress won a singing contest in order to force a group to leave.

But the biggest worry for most karaoke singers is simply staying in tune.

Christmas Karaoke classics: 

  • Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas
  • Wham - Last Christmas
  • The Pogues - Fairytale of New York

The Singing Buddha, 15 Abbotsbury Road, Morden, 020 8640 1115 

The Dime Bar and Diner, 50 Battersea Rise, London, 020 7924 6288,

Epsom’s Bar XLR has karaoke twice a week and hundreds of thousands of songs.

Bar owner Adrian Crickmer, who has been doing karaoke for nearly 25 years, invited singers down to karaoke on Christmas Eve.

He said: "We have an excellent sound system. We get quite a mix of people right through from early 20s to 60s and even 70s."

Bar XLR, 79 East Street, Epsom; Thursday and Sunday nights and Christmas Eve from 8.30pm; 01372 819945


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