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Best of Tacoma 2016: Puget Sound Pizza

Best Karaoke

Rev. Colin, one of Tacoma’s most popular karaoke hosts, lends his talent Tuesdays and Fridays to PSP. Photo credit:

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Puget Sound Pizza and The Mix are intertwined in more ways than just the fact that they share a building: the popular pizza place and the celebrated queer bar have long been fighting each other for the Weekly Volcano's readers' favor when it comes to deciding who has the best karaoke, essentially trading off wins in the Best of Tacoma poll year after year. This year, as decided by the readers, the honor of Tacoma's Best Karaoke once again goes to Puget Sound Pizza.

(Full disclosure: I am one of several karaoke hosts at Puget Sound Pizza, though I'd hardly credit myself with their continued success.)

A lot of factors go into deciding which of the many bars in Tacoma will get your karaoke dollar, but I've found that chief among them is the environment that they foster. Yes, an expansive song selection is desirable, and optimal sound equipment is ideal, but a lot can be forgiven if you're greeted by a comfortable setting, a supportive audience, and a host that can happily join in on the fundamentally silly experience of singing karaoke.

The reason I started hosting karaoke at PSP in the first place is because I kept coming back, and it's precisely because PSP excels at providing this communal atmosphere that immediately puts you at ease. It's not easy for a lot of people to put themselves out there and sing in front of a group largely made up of strangers, so having people like hosts Rev. Colin and Nicky Martin on-hand to lend encouragement, or even a partner for a duet, is invaluable.

Puget Sound Pizza also benefits from a diverse, inclusive crowd from all walks of life. Any given night's songs can run the gamut from brash big band, raucous metal, modern and old-school country, spiky alt-rock, ‘70s AM gold, synth-soaked new wave, blissed-out pop, and lively hip-hop - and the audience gives each song equal weight and attention.

Approached for comment, karaoke regular Shannon Fraser said, "I keep coming back because the hosts and staff are like family: warm, caring and fun. I love the feeling of community at PSP. They love me even when I mess up favorite songs, celebrate with me when I actually sing well, and challenge me with new things to try!"

Looking to blow off some steam while going for that high note? Puget Sound Pizza offers karaoke from Tuesday through Saturday, each night starting at 9 p.m.

Puget Sound Pizza, 11-2 a.m. Tues-Sat, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun-Mon, 317 South 7th St., Tacoma, 253.383.4777

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