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A Where2sing.com exclusive Karaoke Gig Review

Casablanca Brasserie & Bar karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

REVIEW: Casablanca Hotel


Casablanca has one great advantage over other Brisbane venues, in that it's running five nights, and long after the other places have closed.

And so, it is for that reason alone that most where2sing.com karaoke people will find themselves sooner or later at Casablanca.

It sits on the corner of a street filled with bars and nightclubs, on Petrie Terrace at the Roma Street end of the city, and is therefore exceptionally easy to find. What makes it even easier is that karaoke is held in the front bar, right on the corner, and in warm weather (this is Brisbane, and warm weather extends for most of the year) the big windows onto the street are left open.

Walking in, you find a fairly large room, but the serving bar takes up so much of the middle of the room that there's not a heap of space left for patrons. And, so, with the normal 20-40 people there, it always seems quite busy. There is also a number of stools grouped around only about three high tables, so it's not always that a seat is available.

At the far end of the bar, but next to the open windows, is a low but generous stage, and the karaoke equipment is set up behind the bar, but at the end nearest the stage. A small monitor is perched on the end of the bar for the benefit of the singer, but most singers read from the large prjection screen set at an angle in a blanked out window.

I have sung here a few times, and it's fair to say that the sound is adequate. Not good, perhaps surprisingly for a bar that runs karaoke on so many nights, for so many hours, and as such a focus of their entertainment, but adequate. Speakers are ranged around the room and provide a consistent sound throughout, but it is the foldback speaker or possibly what's intended as a 'fill in' speaker sitting on the stage that is most noticable by virtue of its being responsible for a fair amount of feedback.

The hosting is also adequate, and at times almost enthusiastic - not matter who happens to be hosting on that particular night. But the general feel of the staffing of this place, both behind the console and behind the bar, is of decidedly ordinary service skills. This is not a bar in which you'll feel particularly welcome unless you come here a lot and make an attempt to be known by the staff.

One of the reasons that the staff can become enthusiastic is when they have turns at singing. I'm here near midnight, having left a karaoke at the other end of the town, and, having just listened to a regular singer of rather average quality, I hear the host calling out someone's name, then deciding that the person is no longer in the bar. However, I see one of the barstaff walking back along the pavement outside, and he walks in and up to the stage in an obvious answer to having his name called. Not a guy obviously able to crack a smile more than occasionally, he did put up a credible performance, and then took his place back behind the bar, although rather aimlessly.

Then it was the turn of one of the girls behind the bar, which surprised me because it looked as though a few of the patrons were awaiting their turn to sing. The girl sang well, a song that was obviously well practised, but she received only small applause - possibly because of the impatience of patrons waiting to sing. And then we heard from the young guy who had been sitting on the side of the bar nearest the console, and of whom it was difficult to determine whether he was barstaff on a break, the friend of the host because he spent most of his time in conversation with the girl host and/or the male barstaff that had recently walked in for his song, or just a general 'hanger on'. He sang nicely, and with the demeanor of one who considers himself part of the establishment.

Happily, we then heard from a girl in the crowd, who managed to drag along one of her male friends but failed to recruit a second. Unhappily neither the song choice nor the singers deserved much applause, but we gave it anyway. It was nice to see a paying punter having a go.

But then . . .(full story on where2sing.com)

Read the rest of this exclusive Karaoke Gig Review, and find whether this karaoke gig is still running on Where2sing.com . . .

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