Greenwood is a growing Seattle neighborhood featuring a charming variety of new and existing businesses and low residential density. While it may at first seem unlikely that a neighborhood this far from the urban core would have much to offer in the way of bars and other nightlife, this unique area of Seattle is home to many of the greatest bastions of our city's kitsch culture: the Greenwood karaoke bar.
Nestled up to intersection where Holgate meets 105th Street - arguably the dividing line which separates the Greenwood neighborhood proper from Broadview and Bitter Lake to the north - the Rickshaw is the most reliable karaoke spot Seattle has to offer. The neon trimmed pagoda-like exterior belies a comfortable and recently remodeled bar and restaurant.
Like the borough itself, this karaoke bar reflects an excellent synergy of the old and new: old mirrors from the restaurant's previous incarnation sit side by side on the freshly painted lacquer-red walls. The obligatory disco ball takes its rightful place above the impromptu "stage" at the front of the bar when the dividers open up at 9 PM, transforming the Greenwood karaoke bar and restaurant into a boisterous festival, powered by the allure of potential public embarrassment and camaraderie with near-strangers.
The clientele at this Greenwood karaoke bar is an even mix of neighborhood regulars and occasional visitors who wish take advantage of the location's suitability for birthday or bachelorette karaoke parties. Some evenings move at a pleasantly relaxed pace, and some other nights... usually weekends... quite literally involve people dancing in the halls. (If you come here on a Tuesday, familiarity with the ins and outs of the Time Warp is strongly suggested.) Blessedly, most of the patrons who are outgoing enough to sing in the bar are at least reasonably skilled entertainers. A good karaoke rotation - dance accompaniment notwithstanding - is an art which can induce both quiet awe and hidden schadenfreude in equal measure.
Regardless of the vibe on any given night, some things stay the same - the drinks are solid and the Chinese food is, by and large, edible. The pot stickers are homemade, delicious, and roughly the size of your fist; unfortunately shrimp chips are basically fish-flavored packing peanuts no matter where you get them. Staff members, from the ladies behind the bar to the servers, are exceptionally personable given the number of inebriated karaoke bar weirdos they interact with on a nightly basis.
Nervous Nellies and first-time bar singers will find themselves soothed and encouraged by the experienced karaoke hostess, Patty. As a reluctantly picky eater, I have also experienced a pleasant degree of patience from both front of the house and kitchen staff when placing special orders: Go through more water than a cracked radiator? Want tofu instead of chicken? Hold the water chestnuts, pea pods and bamboo shoots? No problem.
Nightlife spots like this local karaoke bar help shape the unique Greenwood atmosphere by bringing the existing and evolving aspects of the area together. As the neighborhood continues to grow and change, I look forward to seeing how this and other local businesses maintain the charm and personality of this often-overlooked Seattle borough.
The Rickshaw Restaurant & Lounge
322 North 105th Street Seattle, WA 98133-8706
Phone: (206) 789-0120
Open 7 days a week from 10 AM until 2 AM
Karaoke bar every night at 9 PM