Freelance Writer and Blogger living in Surry Hills, Sydney. Check out my Essential City Guide to what's going on in Sydney Beyond the Bars @ https://www.facebook.com/TheHangoverCureSydney, and my blog @ www.thehangovercure.org/
Published May 11th 2014
Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan – no this isn't the cast of the latest Hollywood flop, but just some of the "artists" you can find in the song books of karaoke bar Ding Dong Dang.
These cheesy gems actually add to the charm of this ramshackle Surry Hills institution, which boasts booths decorated with fluro hieroglyphics, dodgy old-school karaoke systems and a tuck shop stocked with booze, lollies and sushi.
Walk through the neon-lit door and you are instantly bombarded with the sound of badly-sung songs emanating from the private booths – you have now entered the realm of Ding Dang Dong.
Heading there for a friend's birthday recently I was surprised that our party was made wait outside on the pavement while only one person was allowed in to confirm the booking.
When we were finally given the go-ahead to enter, the girls' bags were checked for hidden booze, but more surprisingly the men were scanned with a metal detector.
Once the bouncer was convinced that the only weapons we were armed with were our tone-deaf voices, we were unleashed into the dilapidated corridors of Ding Dong Dang.
We had pre-booked our room for 15 people at $80/hour, rooms for 6 people are also available at $30/ hour.
However, if you decide on a spur-of-the moment sing-song, it is possible for one member of your party to pop into the venue to book a room for that night.
The you can head to the nearby Strawberry Hills hotel for a tipple while you wait for your booth to become available.
Once inside, our group of 13 filled our arms with snickers, chips, mentos and lots of cheap bottles of wine.
Next, we were led down a hallway of singing booths, each with a window allowing you to spy on the motley crew of patrons for the night – ranging from saucer-eyed Uni Students, to sweaty suits, screaming the stress of a hard week's work away into their microphones.
This voyeuristic experience allows you to soak up the hedonistic tone for the night – it's time to check your ego at the door and sing like there is nobody listening.
The beauty of the private booths as opposed to singing on stage at a karaoke bar is that you are surrounded by your small group of friends – there is no chance of being heckled off stage.
Also, the intimate couch-lined booths are conducive to group singing, friends hugged together over two microphones, screaming Bohemian Rhapsody beneath the flicker of green laser beams.
Once you work out how to work the cellophane-wrapped karaoke remote and punch in your song, the lights dim, the disco ball starts to spin and some utterly nonsensical music video pops up on the screen.
This is Ding Dong Dang, it's trashy, it's silly, it's fun, and it stays open to 3am meaning you can sing yourself hoarse till the wee hours of the morning without annoying the neighbours.