Phinney Ridge finally has its own karaoke night: Ed's Kort Haus has been welcoming singers every other Monday since July. The Greenwood Avenue strip has always been known for great karaoke, but this is the first time a spot south of Northwest 85th has ever done it.
I walked in last Monday at 9 p.m. as two girls were singing Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," and was happy to see Joel from the Rickshaw manning the KJ station. He was dressed in black and had his trademark black Stevie Ray Vaughan hat on. I love his laid-back hosting style, and he always chooses entertaining songs to sing. I've sung under his watch countless times at the Rickshaw, and this was the second time I'd randomly discovered one of his other venues (the first was in Lynnwood a year ago at Marco's Lounge during a three-bar karaoke bender).
There were nine people in the bar when Joel followed the ladies with "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty. It was a tight three-singer rotation to start, so I had to catch a buzz fast in order to add some some depth to the lineup. The crowd was mostly my age, and Ed Warrington, for whom the bar is named, was pouring drinks. This November marks his 30th year of owning the place. It's a classic northend dive. I felt very cozy there.
The bar's horseshoe shape divides the space into two areas. The karaoke is currently set up in the north side of the bar, where the dart boards are located. It's a smaller space than the south end, where the video games and pool tables are, but the show can easily be seen from every seat in the room. I took my seat at the center stool on the south side and had a direct angle at the stage through the beer taps.
Joel announced we were all going to do double-shots (of songs, not liquor--although the latter certainly wasn't discouraged) as we awaited the arrival of more singers. My first number was "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young, and the microphone was nice and loud. I followed with Springsteen's "Thunder Road." The combination of my strong voice and the cranked mike proved too powerful; Joel had to turn it down all the way and it still came off super-loud.
A bearded cowboy-looking dude with thick glasses and a white cowboy hat came in with a lady friend in the middle of my Boss performance. I knew as soon as they started looking through the book that he was going to be a ringer. His name was Ronnie, and he proved me right with his opening number, Toby Keith's "As Good as I Once Was." The guy had a voice like Clint Black.
Ronnie's friend was awesome, too. Her name was Rosie and she delivered stuff by the Beatles, Bobby Vinton, and the Mamas & the Papas. They wound up being the anchors of the rotation, and inspired the couple next to me to get in the mix. This pair wasn't as skilled, but the guy (Steve) delivered a performance of Weird Al Yankovic's "Yoda" (a parody of the Kinks' classic "Lola") that brought a smile to everyone's face.
Kort Haus karaoke will soon be moving to Sunday night.
Ed's Kort Haus, 6732 Greenwood Ave. N., 782-3575, PHINNEY RIDGE