Hitting the Spot

Karaoke Korrespondent grunges up the Eastside.

Wednesdays are my favorite weeknight to sing, but I rarely get out that night anymore (I'm usually up before dawn Thursdays cramming to get this column done). I woke up last Wednesday thinking of a venue I very much wanted to check out, a sports bar on the southern edge of downtown Bellevue called The Spot Off Main.

Some may consider a locale on the so-called "soulless" Eastside an odd choice over a voguish venue in one of the trendier parts of Seattle. But I've sung many nights in both settings, and have come to understand that the variables that contribute to a k-bar's success have little to do with which side (or end) of the lake they're on. Good song selection and sound quality is always important, but it really boils down to having a popular host with the ability to draw a consistent crowd. The Spot Off Main's show is run by Karr Productions, a well-established karaoke company involved in some of the most popular local venues—most notably the Little Red Hen (hosted by Robert, aka "DJ Forrest Gump"), whose Wednesday shows are to this day the busiest, craziest karaoke nights I have ever experienced.

My buddy Juan and I hooked up early on Wednesday to watch playoff hoops. We got to The Spot at around 7:30 and took our seats in the main bar area just outside the big room where their karaoke stage is set. It was a busy night, with more than 40 people there. It's a fantastic place to watch a game. They have three huge projection TVs. At 9 p.m., as the Clippers-Grizzlies game was winding down, a sultry voice came echoing from the other room. It was the host, Aury, kicking off the night with a super-loungy version of Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are." We quickly relocated to a table in that room, and found it already full. It was a young crowd—lots of girls in their 20s—which made it clear that this literally is the spot to hang out in downtown Bellevue.

The dudes that night could really sing. One guy, Josh, had pure crooner pipes and masterfully delivered Sinatra and Bublé numbers as Aury scatted behind him. Later he and his buddy sang a killer doo-wop duet of the Marcels' "Blue Moon." Juan singing Lenny Kravitz's "Get Away" followed by a dude singing a great rendition of 3 Doors Down's "Kryptonite" inspired me to sing some '90s of my own. I did "Daughter" by Pearl Jam, and smoked it. The sound quality there is phenomenal. I definitely made the right call this week.


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