Tequila’s Karaokê is like walking into a disco ball: it’s all mirrors and bright, blue neon. At the back of the long room, a raised platform assures singers of being the centre of attention – provided none of the clientele has decided to perform a makeshift pole dance directly in front of the stage. Poker-faced, elderly Japanese men and their escorts comprise a majority of the regulars, so newcomers may find themselves getting the slight cold shoulder from the staff. Make it early enough in the evening or the week and you shouldn’t wait more than 30 to 45 minutes to hear your name called, with a respectful ‘-san’ tagged onto the end of it. But as the night or the week wears on, wait times increase, and even getting a drink can be a challenge.
If you’re hungry, the sushi is dubious, the tempura’s just a nudge above airport quality, and the cheese plate appears to be only just about edible. But on the positive side, Tequila’s has so many stacks of songbooks strewn on its couches, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a song they don’t have. A flip through reveals everything from freshly minted Lady Gaga songs to pan-Asian tearjerkers, Brazilian rock classics, obscure ’80s punk, and romantic Italian ballads from the ’60s.
Your evening won’t be a cheap one at Tequila’s, but you can expect a full-on party experience until it’s time to exit past the double doors, and back on to Rua da Glória.