Sing us a song at the karaoke bars

Smoky, dark and full of rosy-cheeked, blurry-eyed patrons - not much different from any bar in any town, except for the short guy belting out Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" an octave too low as he balances a beer and a microphone and his friends heckle him from a nearby table. Yes, it's a karaoke bar.

Notorious for being cheesy and embarrassing, karaoke bars can also be a place for students to show their courage, let loose and fulfill that secret dream of performing songs by Britney Spears or Jim Morrison. Get together a group of friends and prepare to laugh-with a bit of liquid protection there aren't many who can resist singing along. Below are several places to sing out and fulfill that exhibitionist side.

Cafe Japone 2032 P St. (202) 223-1573

Cafe Japone serves as a sushi-karaoke bar, so get your California rolls or other Japanese dish with a side of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" or Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me." Be careful; while there's no cover, there's a $15 minimum. Cafe Japone is closest to the Dupont Circle Metro stop.

Dupont Italian Kitchen 1637 17th St. (202) 328-3222

Sing along every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. at the Dupont Italian Kitchen. The restaurant doesn't serve up anything special, but what do you expect from a $5.25 spaghetti dish? The restaurant is open until 11:30 p.m. every night, except Sundays when it closes at 10:30 p.m. The Italian Kitchen is closest to the Dupont Circle Metro stop.

Peyote Cafe 2319 18th St (202) 265-6665

This southwestern style Tex-Mex bar features karaoke and happy hour every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Peyote Cafe also discounts its margaritas and rail drinks several nights a week. The Peyote Cafe is closest to the Adams Morgan Metro stop.

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