Tucked away down Central Ave. on the Northeast side of Minneapolis Vegas Lounge is home to some of the best karaoke in town. The vibe of "The Vegas" is made up by the people who frequent it, and the people who frequent Vegas Lounge, whatever else can be said of them, are always interesting. From groups of neighborhood young professionals to blue-collar 40-somethings to retired truck drivers most everyone, at one point in the night, feels the need to get up to the mic and put themselves out there for the betterment of everyone's entertainment.
Upon entering and side stepping past the pool table on the left, saddling up to the bar in this bar is a relatively wait-free experience as on most weekend nights Vegas Lounge is busy but never overcrowded. Which may be refreshing to those used to downtown or uptown bars, or even those used to another of Minneapolis' karaoke main stays, VFW Post 246, which although it has great beer deals, can take a Midwest minute to order. With a heated smokers patio out back and waitresses who jostle for elbow room with gritty gumption, the drinks are never too pricey but make sure to bring cash. Vegas Lounge may serve up Jerry's Cherries, cherries soaked in Everclear, but they do not take American Express (or Visa or Mastercard or check). Vegas Lounge is a cash bar only, a subtle throwback to the pre-plastic era that is perfectly befitting of the establishment's je-ne-sais-quai.
Friday January 8th, saw a lively mix of amateur performers take to the stage and belt out songs that told the gathering crowd, for better or for worse, a little more about themselves. Whether it was the young white guy whose excuse for missing most every word of Warren G's classic "Regulators" was "c'mon...I'm white" ( an excuse thought not good enough by many onlookers) or the group of young women who got the entire bar to sing along to The Fugees' version of "Killing Me Softly", the night brought out the talented and the talentless, and as is the nature of karaoke, both were welcome. Because when karaoke is good, it's good, but when it's bad, it's just as good.
Take this bar in with a bachelorette party you just met downtown, or a group of your closest and most bellicose friends. Make sure to order Jerry's Cherries and hand them out to your friends who have never been there casually, as though they were not soaked in 190 proof liquor, and wait for their reaction.
Karaoke is run every night but Monday, sporting events from Vikings football to Nascar are all accompanied with drink specials, and if you ask real nice you might get a free cherry.