McGuire's rocks. Karaoke night with BoogieMan JJ Gordon is one of the best in town. JJ has a good time and ain't happy until the crowd's happy. Karaoke is held in the back room, so you can break up the night between just hanging in the cool neighborly bar in front and the dark, smoky dart and karaoke room in back.
The crowd is a nice mix of professionals blowing off steam after Humpday and college-agers who will be drunk at a different bar Downtown tomorrow night--or maybe later tonight.
The wait staff is friendly and thoughtful. And the couple who owns the place seems to enjoy themselves as much as anyone. Co-owner Dave is always good for a song. He sings "Piano Man" as though it's McGuire corporate mission statement, and his Neil Diamond comes straight from the bottom of his Heartlight.
I enjoy this place as much as I enjoy O'Lacy's, which is saying a lot. I only hope Summerville's Pre-Recovering Alcoholic Community can support both establishments. From the nights I've visited, they seem to be doing their best.
It took me a while to figure it out from its advertising, but this is Dorchester Lanes' bar. Good karaoke with friendly, low-key Rocky (don't let the sleeveless t-shirt and tattoos fool you,) who can sing better than anybody else in the room, but prefers to let his customers have the spotlight. Music ranges from classic soul and other AM radio classics (from oldies to Southern Rock) and Country of all vintages. I sang Elvis here once and was immediately purchased a beer and asked to sing "Jackson" as a duet. It's that kind of place. And yet this is probably the most racially diverse (well...biverse--we're in the South, you know) crowd in town.
They got pool tables to keep you (and your non-singing friends) busy between songs, room to dance, beer on tap, bowling in the next room, and a Waffle House within staggering distance. I mean, dang, bo, what more you gonna ask?
I took a friend to O'Lacy's who'd spent lots of time in British pubs, and it made him nostalgic. Karaoke on Saturdays is a blast. JJ "Boogieman" Gordon is the real deal--a guy who can keep things running and enjoys making his singers look good. He'll even jump in and bail you out sometimes if a song turns out to be just a bit higher than it seemed in the shower! The wings are two for one during Karaoke, so arrive with an appetite--or a one-armed chicken and some suturing twine.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR:
Dave, owner of friendly competitor McGuire's Pub usually stops by to belt out a Neil Diamond song. Small town Summerville at its raucous best.
JJ can sing--and a couple times a night, he will. If we had to come up with a PC name for his job title, I think we call him a "Good Time Facilitator." He knows he's not doing his job until people are enjoying themselves, and he leads by example.
Jack's is a great private club. Nothing fancy, just pool tables, a GOOD SIZED dance floor (yes, if someone is crooning Sinatra, you can actually face the music and dance,) a long bar near the door (first things first, after all!) and a second "island" at bar height amongst the tables down by the karaoke stage so that you can still have the more sociable barstool experience (which I prefer when I show up at a bar alone--as opposed to sitting at a table alone, Bogie-style.) The crowd is a little bit older than at most of the other Ks in town--which is a nice change for those of us who are tired of hearing drunk drama majors slurring gangsta rap.
Bear is great. First of all, he's not a real bear, which would have been interesting, but possibly dangerous. Instead, he's the next best thing--a stand-in for a wiser, gentler, post-prison Dan Haggerty. Or...imagine Grizzly Adams and Wilford Brimley had a lovechild--there's your Bear. A true professional, truly kind, the sort of KJ who works quietly in the background and makes the singers the stars (or, in some cases, the comic relief).
Other notables: Jack's is a private club, but I think that has more to do with liquor laws than with any desire to be exclusive. Membership charge was $2, but who knows, they may have scholarships available for worthy cases.
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