The last time I sang outside of Seattle was on a Tuesday in early August at a place called Time Out Sports Bar in Downtown Kirkland. Last Tuesday, I happened to find myself back at Time Out, but this time it was their location on Front Street in Issaquah.
The Issaquah Time Out is a Pittsburgh Steelers bar. There were flags, pictures, novelty street signs, and above the entryway hung a huge banner that read, "YOU'RE IN STEELERS COUNTRY." As a 15-year Seahawks season ticketholder and someone still devastated by what happened in Super Bowl XL, it was pretty unsettling to be around. Even more frustrating was the fact that there was Seahawks decor all over the place as well. I didn't appreciate the mixed message.
There were around 10 people spread throughout the bar when I got there at 10 p.m. The place has two levels: The bar and KJ station were on the main level, and the lower level featured pool tables and led to a back patio.
I sat at the table just below the stairs on the lower level. The show had begun. but no singers were up. It was a young crowd and the KJ had Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" blasting, so the place seemed more popping than it actually was.
For some reason. there were only two karaoke books available in the entire place. I had no idea what I wanted to sing, and ended up with the catalog organized by song title. It was a pretty thick book that contained a surprising amount of Filipino songs. Fifteen minutes passed without a singer. I found something I thought was fitting, but wasn't going to turn in my slip until I had at least two beers in me.
The KJ got up and sang "Hello" by Lionel Richie. The place had great sound, but no one was paying much attention. When he was done it was my clapping that reminded everyone else to. Ffiteen more minutes passed without a singer. Finally, the guy with the other book sang an ear-bleeding rendition of the Doors' "When the Music's Over." Then a couple of his buddies followed with equally room-clearing numbers. They all sang from their table.
After my second Rainier, I sang "Never Going Back Again" by Fleetwood Mac. There's no real stage area, so I sang on the upper level where most of the people were. But I didn't feel like I was singing for anyone, as the monitor I was facing had my back turned to the bar. When my song was done I felt like bailing, but decided to do one more number.
And that's when the night started turning around.
It was a mostly male crowd that night, but the few females there were pretty cute and they ended up taking things over. This one gal who was a dead ringer for Rachel Bilson sang a legitimately great rendition of Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy." Then she and her blonde friend did a duet of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'." But the biggest surprise came from four white dudes in M's caps that had been hanging out the entire time. Out of nowhere they got up to sing a song together. The KJ announced they were going to sing "Lovers and Friends" by Usher and Ludacris. I braced myself for the worst performance of the night, but the Usher dude had a silky smooth R&B voice. And the other three guys who traded off the Ludacris parts could all flow. After a rocky start, Time Out Issaquah ended up being pretty fun.
Time Out Sports Bar, 185 Front St, 425-392-4802, ISSAQUAH