Review: The W Karaoke Lounge on The Delmar Loop
The squat brick exterior of The W Karaoke Lounge on The Delmar Loop betrays none of the glitzy world awaiting inside. The W shimmers with low, neon-specked lighting playing against a proliferation of reflective and crystal surfaces. Dark wood paneling, art deco-inspired decor and staff dressed in crisp, white shirts balance the bedazzled look, resulting in a glamorous ambiance evoking Singapore or Hong Kong more than St. Louis.
Crooners have two options at The W sing to a crowd of strangers in the main bar or book a private room and limit the embarrassment to a close circle of friends. In the common area, the slightly raised stage is set against the backdrop of an oversized curved screen displaying lyrics and music videos so anyone can dance and sing along.
Although not much can be done about the varied quality of singers who take the stage (some are very good!), the karaoke system is state-of-the-art, loaded with hundreds of thousands of songs in multiple languages. Even if the idea of singing karaoke terrifies you (um, hi), The W provides endlessly entertaining people-watching, and the crowd tends to be supportive, exuberantly cheering on singers.
The glamour is turned up in the private rooms, which whisk you away from the quirky Loop entirely with no windows to the outside world. What time is it? What’s going on in the common area? Who cares? You’re VIP, baby.
While the decor in the 10 rooms varies slightly, each echoes the slick look of the main space and is furnished with a large wraparound couch and plush stools, multiple large screens and a tablet for ordering drinks and food. There’s even a mini raised stage in one corner, outfitted with a golden old-school mic fit for any wannabe diva.
The staff makes sure the VIP experience isn’t limited to the room itself. At the beginning of your private session, someone patiently explains how the system works so you don’t have to waste time tinkering with it yourself. They are attentive without intruding on the privacy of the group’s singing session, popping in only occasionally and never while a song is underway. Word of advice: Book early, as the rooms fill quickly.
Liquid courage is a necessary ingredient in any successful karaoke, and The W has full bar service, including craft and imported beers, Champagne and wines. Sake is also available, delivered nestled in a clear box of neon-lit ice.
The house cocktails include solid classics such as Moscow Mules and Manhattans, but also veer toward the sweet and tropical with passion fruit, mango and lychee martinis, strawberry daquiris and piña coladas. Although sweet drinks aren’t my preference, the blood orange cosmo was well balanced and not cloying.
The food menu at The W leans heavily on typical bar food – think chicken wings, nachos, pizza, cocktail shrimp and toasted ravioli – with a few Asian-inspired dishes like edamame. Nothing special, but who has ever turned their nose up at greasy bar food after downing a few drinks?
There is a $10 cover charge on weekend nights (waived if you’ve booked a private room), and the private rooms start at $58 an hour and can accommodate between eight and 25 guests.
Some establishments look glitzy, but upon closer inspection, it’s all chintzy and cheap. That’s not the case at The W Karaoke Lounge, where everything looks, feels and sounds like a sophisticated, crazy-good time.
Stephanie Zeilenga is a critic and contributing writer for Sauce Magazine.
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