Nine years ago, Seattle’s lone honky-tonk, the Little Red Hen, decided to give karaoke a second chance. They’d tried it before in the mid-’90s, but it attracted “mostly an older crowd, and they didn’t come out to drink and party,” says the Hen’s entertainment manager, Connie Robertson, whose bar normally hosts live country-music acts.
But their redoubled effort proved different. Robertson plastered area colleges with flyers, and youngsters flocked. Before long, Wednesday-night karaoke at the Greenlake bar became “an institution,” says Robertson, and lines to get in stretched down the block.
“It’s been an extremely good thing for business,” says Robertson, who adds that some karaoke regulars have taken a shine to the venue’s more traditional live offerings as well. “As far as weeknights, Wednesday nights have basically been the bread and butter for a long time.”
In 2009, the Hen shattered its annual Wednesday-night revenue records, and added Monday-night karaoke to further capitalize on the success. The Hen also holds line-dancing lessons every Monday night, and there’s been considerable crossover between the two crowds. Lead bartender Sunny Echeverria loves the confluence of clients, calling Monday her “favorite night in 20 years of bartending.”
More about the Little Red Hen:
Last September’s brawl at the Little Red Hen
A review of karaoke at the Little Red Hen from Seattle Weekly’s Karaoke Korrespondent