In a city like Seattle – where music has played (and continues to play) such a defining role – making one's own music only seems appropriate.
When visitors and locals want to pick up the mic and show off their skills in a comfortable, private setting, they head to Rock Box on bustling Capitol Hill.
The Japanese-style club follows the private room (or "karaoke box") style made popular in Japan and throughout Asia. And the venue boasts a full bar, plus a menu of charcuterie and cheese that's available through neighboring restaurant Cure.
Singers do their thing on Capitol Hill at Rock Box — Photo courtesy of Benjamin Benschneider / Rock Box
Inspired by Japanese craft and Tokyo lights, the 12 boxes range in size from two to 14 seats, making the event feel like a private gathering of you and your favorite people.
There's also a larger party room that can accommodate 35-plus. Guests can also hang out in the communal bar area, where singing becomes a public affair.
Songbirds peruse a massive book or modern iPad to view an extensive collection that's been two decades in the making. (It can be found online, too, if you want to do your research ahead of time.) It contains nearly 30,000 English and 67,000 Japanese songs, with strong Chinese and Spanish libraries, too.
The space where the Rock Box resides – the recipient of an American Institute of Architects Seattle Award for Excellence in Architecture – was previously a customer service call center.
Another decor fun fact? The wood on the bar top and the window seating were salvaged from the demolition of Pier 48, where Nirvana played their legendary “Live and Loud” concert.
In one room, switchable glazing can fluctuate between making the space transparent and translucent, and a user-controlled exterior speaker gives singers inside the box the option of entertaining late-night pedestrians who pass by outside.
Happy hour takes place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, as well as all day Sunday.
Normal hours cost $7 per person per hour of karaoke, while happy hours bring a charge of $4 per person per hour, plus drink specials. (Look out for other specials Mondays through Wednesdays, too.)
Another quirky fact about this do-good establishment? Thanks to the Jello Cares program, Rock Box donates 100 percent of its Jello shot profits to a different charity each month.
So go ahead and make reservations ahead of time, and start warming up those vocal chords.
We promise you'll walk away with a massive smile and a noticeable pep in your step.