Last Tuesday, a couple friends and I hit Tim's Tavern in Greenwood to check out the fastest growing karaoke show in town. Back in January, Tim Arnot, the new owner of what used to be known as Van's 105 Tavern brought in host Katy Burk of Katybelle Productions to KJ on Tuesdays and Thursdays--a bold move considering they sit just two blocks away from the 365-night-a-year karaoke juggernaut known as the Rickshaw.
Bob Seger = time to get loose.
Arnot's intention was not to compete with the Rickshaw. He figured his establishment could provide a nice spillover option for singers to retreat to when rotations over there grew too long. But the immediate success of those nights provided enough evidence that they could co-exist with their massively popular neighbor that he quickly added Wednesdays. Then, when a kitchen fire last month caused the Rickshaw to close for two months, it was almost his duty to add Fridays and Saturdays to the mix to aid the neighborhood's displaced crooners.
We arrived around 8:30 p.m., a half hour before the show started. It's a cozy little room with an L-shaped bar that stretches down the lefthand side. Katy's KJ station was already set up on the corner to the left of the entrance. We bellied up right in front of her. I can't remember exactly where, but I have seen her sing at one of the other Greenwood venues. Tim told me the first place Katy ever sang karaoke was years ago at the Rickshaw with their host Patty. As often happens, she was hooked instantly.
Even before the first singer took the mic, I enjoyed the show. Katy played great laid-back classic rock overhead, and that genre makes me feel like drinking more than any other. We'd already taken down a couple tallboys at my house and switched it up to gin drinks and tequila shots upon arrival. There were only four other patrons at first, but they all turned in slips.
Katy opened the night with a silky sweet rendition of Cass Elliot's "Dream a Little Dream of Me." She was followed by another female singer who did "Take it to the Limit," an Eagles song I never hear performed enough. It wasn't long after the show started when the bar began to fill up. A solid rotation of eight singers anchored the night. The best performer of the evening was a black guy in a florescent yellow utility jacket named Kevin Smith. He delivered awesome performances of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" by Elton John, and Player's soft rock classic "Baby Come Back," also the most random selection of the evening.
We hung out until 11 p.m. My buddy Mochi and I each got to sing four times. He entertained with a dirty version of Neil Diamond's "Love on the Rocks" (subbing in "the rocks" for "my cocks") but really came through with "Touch of Grey" by the Grateful Dead. I know I'm good and loose when I can pull off Bob Seger's "Night Moves." I still couldn't hit the notes I never hit when I try that song, but I felt like I killed it. K. Smith sat right below me as I sang it, and the pleased look on his face made me know I was totally on my game.
Tim's will soon be expanding into the old barbershop next door. They will continue to have at least three karaoke nights a week once the Rickshaw re-opens, but they eventually want to turn into more of a live music venue.
TIM'S TAVERN, 602 N. 105th St., 789-9005, GREENWOOD