First of all, I realize some people don't like karaoke, that it ain't their thing and they'd prefer to sit there and just watch the fun. That's cool. But just trust that at Family Karaoke -- where parties of up to 25 can reserve private sound-proofed rooms with wait-service who bring pitchers of beer, carafes of neon goodness and ample Jell-O shots, as well as tasty pub grub and Korean nosh--the power of the mic will compel you.
You'll find yourself borrowing a friend's fashion scarf and volunteering for "Welcome to the Jungle" after three tracks...because songs may start as a solo, but they all end up a sing-along. And the monitors play magical scenes of Korean music videos and soap opera equivalents that will knock you free of all reality even if the the soju hasn't already.
Yeah, the soju. Marla needed some liquid courage a little sweeter than the Shiner that was already flowing freely at girl drink regular Michelle's birthday celebration. So she headed up to the bar in the common room and came back with a tall carafe of electric green potion. It had been loud at the bar, so at the time she didn't know what it was--except that she told me it was like vodka (it seems my girls have learned that when it comes to getting me to drink something, vodka is the best route). She had two little disposable ramekins (like the Jell-O shots come in) and we served ourselves.
"L'chaim!" and down the hatch.
Two doses later and I was channeling Axl Rose when I had only anticipated wading in my more comfortable waters of "Waterloo" and the like. I believe there was a Spice Girls high kick in there somewhere as well. Confirmed shy girl Marla piped up with a Britney Spears duet and began considering a Montell Jordan performance. This shit was magic.
I took a trip up to the bar after we were on our second vessel and asked the bartender what the neon green shots were.
"Oh, that's apple flavored soju," she said.
"It's awesome. Thank you," I replied and she turned back and said, "Good, but be careful, because that stuff will mess you up."
"So now she tells us," I think to myself.
Later, when one of our crew needed a little prodding to perform his version of Toto's "Africa," we passed him a little of the green stuff. And let's just say I have video of a charismatic rendition...as well as photographic evidence of a certain Dude Fooder's "Born to Run" and the other Dude's "Hey Ya."
We have no shame here. When drunk and among friends, all's fair game, except Manilow.
Fortunately, the apple soju didn't make me nauseated despite my repeated loud singing and too little food. I was a little dazed on the ride home, but not so much that I couldn't point out to Jake (who was driving) my favorite sketch bar name on Harry Hines: Conflict of Interest. I had a hangover the next day when I got up at 7 a.m., and the expected need of water in a major way. Marla reported the dehydration too, and feeling a little lethargic with a bit of a head throb that woke her also at 7 and sent her back to bed at 10...but we also must factor in that our performances drained us as well.
So you know, there's that.
Sure enough, even Yelp-ers mention the soju in reviews. Says Eva T.: "If you're unfamiliar with Soju, the best way of describing it would be is that it is the Korean equivalent of a vodka. They are delicious and is perfect for sharing. We've tried a handful of flavors, like the strawberry, pineapple, green apple and they are quite tasty. But be careful, after a few swigs of it, you'll start feeling it. So make sure you have a DD!"
So, the soju may taste sweet and innocent, and go down like liquid joy with a courage chaser, but this is, as Marla said, "easily a cautionary tale--just a few shots and you're good." Too much of a good thing is never as much fun in the morning. The video, however, is just as much fun to watch the next day...and the day after...
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