Two Karaoke Venues Set to Open on Durant Avenue

Photo: Two karaoke venues are set to open near campus on Durant Avenue.
Chanel Leaf/Photo
Two karaoke venues are set to open near campus on Durant Avenue.

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Students seeking karaoke will soon be able to sing close to campus after two new venues open on Durant Avenue.

Sushi Minami, which opened a few days ago in the space formerly occupied by LaVal's Pizza, will soon offer private karaoke parties. Touch Karaoke, which is under construction, is slated to open in the space above the restaurant that previously housed a Tower Records.

Keith Kanehara, Sushi Minami's manager, said he hoped to bring karaoke's popularity to the area.

"In Japan or Korea (restaurants with karaoke bars) are common," he said.

Kanehara said he is not worried about competition because Sushi Minami will serve food and drink, unlike Touch Karaoke, which will simply be a karaoke bar, he said.

Representatives of Touch Karaoke could not be reached for comment.

Roland Peterson, executive director of the Telegraph Business Improvement District, said he was glad to see both spaces filled. They have been vacant for more than a year.

Kanehara said he intentionally chose the location on Durant so students would make up most of his clientele.

UC Berkeley students said they were excited by the prospect of having something as popular as karaoke near the campus.

"If there is something close by, I would (go)," said senior Uldouz Berenjforoush.

UC Berkeley sophomore Wenting Xi said that she hoped student groups could use the karaoke rooms as places for meetings and events.

But other students said they were not excited by the fact that a karaoke bar was opening near campus.

"I'm not a karaoke-liking person," said junior Yasin Aalipour.

According to Kanehara, the karaoke room in Sushi Minami will open next week once the restaurant receives its alcohol permit.

"As soon as we sell alcohol, we'll open the place ... People won't sing without beer," he said.

He said advertising for his restaurant has been minimal in order to give employees time to settle into the new restaurant.

He also said he plans to open branches in San Francisco and Oakland in the future.


Contact Tess Townsend at [email protected]

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