Bust out the hairspray and don your Ziggy Stardust lightning bolt because Juke’s Karaoke Bar is bringing the disco era to Southbank.
From Funlab, the crew behind the string of Holey Moley minigolf bars, adults-only arcade B. Lucky & Sons, and circus-themed Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq, Juke’s is the groovy karaoke bar of your 1970s fever dreams.
“Everyone enjoys belting out a tune,” Funlab CEO Michael Schreiber tells Broadsheet. “There’s always a bit of apprehension about karaoke, but once you get in that room and the mic’s in your hands your inner superstar will jump out.”
Sensory overload is guaranteed here in a room loaded with over-the-top decor, colourful glass, mirrors and tiles. The 10 private karaoke rooms are equally technicolour and have plush seating for between four and 25 people. Surprisingly, there are no shag carpets.
And the disco theme doesn’t stop at the fit-out. The food and drinks also hark back with what Schreiber describes as “modern takes on what you’d find at your mum and dad’s cocktail parties.”
Start the night with The Prawn Star – coconut prawns, shaved lettuce, Mary Rose seafood sauce (a mix of tomato sauce and mayonnaise), chilli, lemon, crushed avocado and radish served in a cocktail glass. The Rings on Wings is a towering pile of golden onion rings with spicy mayo and more tomato sauce. And a classic Chiko Roll comes with a syringe of tomato sauce, too. The Cheesy Does It is an oozy cheese fondue with pieces of baguette, kabana, broccoli, cauliflower and corn chips. Slightly less oozy are the Kiev Balls, which are filled with garlic butter.
In-between hit the bar for the music-themed drinks list. The star is definitely The Cure. Served in one half of a giant disco ball, it’s made from Orange Crush hard cider, ginger beer, spiced rum and an almond and watermelon syrup, and is designed to share. The Post Maloney Negroni has gin, Aperol, elderflower liqueur and Lillet Blanc.
Be at the bar every hour for a musical surprise. Schreiber won’t give it away, but hints, “Our waiters and waitresses can shake up a great cocktail, but they can also hold a tune.”
As with Funlab’s other venues, the aim at Juke’s is to get people off their phones and hanging out, fully present, with friends. “We facilitate social fun,” Schreiber says. “Going out with your mates, meeting them in real life, dressing up and having somewhere to go. We want everyone to have a good time, and karaoke is one of those experiences.”
And his go-to karaoke song? Empire State of Mind. “I’m a pretty bad Alicia,” he says with a laugh. “But I can do a mean Jay-Z.”
Juke’s Karaoke Bar
Crown Metropol Precinct, 1/8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on June 20, 2019. Menu items may have changed since publication.