Editors' pick

Banana Cafe Karaoke Nights


Editorial Review

It's Sunday night, but you're not quite ready for the weekend to end. Why not head to Banana Cafe, where the margaritas are plentiful, the karaoke crowd is friendly and there are more than enough chances to sing whatever strikes your fancy?

The bar has a small group of regulars, including DJ EJ Bangura, who had been frequenting the event long before he became the night's DJ a couple of weeks ago. The atmosphere is by no means cliquish. The crowd varies in age, and song choices range from the Rolling Stones to Metallica to Destiny's Child. The informal setup -- with little separation between the karaoke machine and the bar and tables -- means plenty of audience interaction. Happy hour runs all night, with $3 house margaritas, domestic beers and rail drinks. People will cheer singers on, give some enthusiastic fist pumps and maybe even get up and dance.

In other words, this is not the place to take yourself seriously.

"At other karaoke bars, everyone is trying to be a superstar," says Noel Baker, a professional poker player and karaoke enthusiast who comes to Banana Cafe whenever he's in Washington on a Sunday night. "But that's not what karaoke's about. It's much less pretentious here."