Karaoke is very popular in Portland, and as a result some find it very difficult to get up and belt out their favorite tunes in front of so many people.
Enter Voicebox, a brand new Karaoke 'complex' which just opened near NW 21st (2112 NW Hoyt St). Rather than a traditional Karaoke bar, Voicebox is divided up into six private rooms. Each room has the capacity for a different number of people (as few as 2 and as many as 24) and has its own private karaoke system.
Voicebox's systems are all high end, with Samsung flat screen TVs and Yamaha speaker systems. The acoustics in each room are also ideal, one of the rooms has the feel of a recording studio and with the doors closed no one can hear your singing outside. You won't find a better sounding Karaoke experience in Portland
The karaoke systems are easy to use and let you queue up songs so you can spend less time picking songs and more time singing them. The the library of songs is pretty extensive but had some some notable holes (including Violent Femmes and Metallica).
All the rooms Karaoke connect to a center bar area that serves wine, beer, sake and light food with in-room waitress service so you don't have to go out to the bar to get your drinks if you don't want to. The staff at Voicebox is extremely friendly including owner Scott Simon, a former electrical engineer who got the bug to open Voicebox after a trip to Korea. Karaoke complexes are more common in Asia and Simon imported the idea while adding a decidedly North West twist.
Private rooms are rented by the hour with rates varying per room (the average is about $7 per hour per person) and Voicebox holds special events like an upcoming Karaoke Clinic for people to brush up on their karaoke skills.
Voicebox is a fantastic addition to the Portland nightlife scene. I had an absolute blast singing a ton of songs, many more than I'd ever be able to sing at a regular karaoke bar. I enjoyed taking risks and singing songs I'd never consider singing in front of a crowd (including Avril Lavigne's Sk8ter Boy). I really appreciated the fact there was no smoking inside Voicebox as going out to karaoke often means coming home reeking of smoke. Voicebox is an idea place for a birthday or bachelorette party and I can absolutely see going back with a group of friends.
Voicebox is at 2112 NW Hoyt St. (503) 303-8220. They do take reservations and I expect them to fill up on key nights very fast.
Here are pictures from the Voicebox opening event: