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Crooningest Karaoke Spot 

Jaguar Karaoke

Most people know it as karaoke, but Japan isn't the only country to export singing-as-sport. In Korea, it's known as noribang, and Oakland's strip of Seoul on Telegraph Avenue is home to a venue as authentic as they come, west of the Naktong River. Jaguar -- which boasts that it opens at 5 p.m. and keeps on going "until last customer" leaves -- is the perfect place to embark on an uninterrupted singing jag. Unlike the Japanese showman-style stages, noribang, which literally means "singing room," involves renting a private chamber that fits about six to eight people for $25 to $35 an hour. Its songbook features a wide selection of Top 40, old-school jams, and '80s glam-rock faves, which keeps a mix of folks coming through: Wannabe Asian gangsta types zoom up in their lowered Hondas to sing along to the Backstreet Boys, while city hipsters do ironic renditions of Air Supply. Fortify yourself for a night of vigorous crooning by loading up on kalbi and soju at the popular Koryo Wooden Charcoal Barbecue next door.

Readers' Pick:
Palomares Cafe
3779 Castro Valley Blvd., Castro Valley, 510-733-5852

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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