Work's been insanely busy at my day job in Redmond lately. Last Tuesday, after another 11-hour day, I decided to find a spot to drink and sing in downtown Kirkland. It's an area I've wanted to check out for years, as that three-block zone of bars and restaurants between Central Way and Kirkland Avenue has always looked plenty inviting.
My karaoke wingman, Juan, lives just a few blocks away from my office. I decided to have him handy in case it was necessary to re-enact that "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" scene from Top Gun. We started out at Tiki Joe's, which only offers karaoke on Sundays and Mondays. But the bartender there let us know that Time Out Sports Bar (just over a block away) was now the Tuesday-night spot for singing.
We got there at 9 p.m., and it was a younger crowd. The bar reminded me a lot of some of the other Eastside karaoke sports bars I'd reviewed in the past. It resembles a dive at first glance, but take a closer look and you see the place is clean as a whistle.
The host, Sandra Dee, had just gotten done setting up when we arrived. They have a nice elevated stage. Juan and I turned in slips immediately. He was called up first, and opened with "Can't Buy Me Love." Every time I think he's about to mess with a number beyond his range, he proves me wrong. It inspired me to attempt a song I'd been too scared to try: "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" by Billy Joel. I've always been worried about hitting the high notes, and I knew I'd run into problems with the verses in the second half of the song. I had Sandra take it down a full key, however, and that resolved that issue. I did mess up the phrasing during the bridge, but not that badly. This song has serious potential to be one of my bazookas someday.
Around 25 people were spread out through the bar, but only seven or eight sang, which is always a great thing. Juan and I got up four times each in just over an hour. It seemed like after every third singer, our names were called. Everything we delivered the rest of that night was nails. His best number was "She's a Beauty" by the Tubes, and I hit Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How It Feels" right into Lake Washington.
Not everyone was entertained, though. This no-talent dweeb in white shorts made a random crack at me from the stage. You see, I write "Jeb" on my song slips so I don't get mixed up with other Jeffs who may sign up. This guy called out: "Hey, Jeb, is that really your name? Because I never heard of any Asian called that before." It was an odd comment, but I let it go because it was clear he was just reacting to the fact I outperformed him. Some people just have a hard time handling domination.
Time Out Sports Bar, 218 Central Way, 425-822-8511, KIRKLAND