Friday, July 4, 2008

A Great American Bar: The Kiknbque Lounge


I like karaoke a lot. I'm not a cultist like some, but I'm a pretty regular singer of Ozzy or Twisted Sister, enough to know that a lot of karaoke bars are the same. There are some booths. You stand on a little stage. But one place in Portland has a truly unique karaoke experience.

Singing at the Kiknbaque is kind of like busking on a crowded subway. You are not the center of attention. There is no stage. You walk amongst the patrons with a wireless microphone. And the patrons are actually diverse enough to roughly equate the contents of a subway car. In fact, Ben Moral, who is a Kiknbaque regular, will tell you it's "the most diverse crowd in Portland." It was that comment that inspired this story.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! I remember this place.
    It's nice having a NoPo "neighborhood" joint open that isn't trying to
    redefine the neighborhood. The new ownership of the space once know as
    a Chances—an impossibly smoky, punk/hipster hangout—grew up blocks
    away from what's now the Kiknbaque Lounge (3536 NE Martin Luther King
    Blvd.) in a crew who lurked under the Kiknbaque moniker. Vestiges of
    Chances still abound: the taps are limited to four (a draw from the
    Pabst spigot runs a mere buck between four and seven), the burning
    city mural is still visible behind some new brighter, more welcoming
    artwork, and there's still plenty of old-timer shaky hands and
    nicotine yellowed fingers. The food menu's decidedly deep fryer based,
    but the entertainment makes up for it with weekly comedy nights, and
    jazz courtesy of Kerry Campbell—allegedly the illegitimate son of
    Charlie Parker—with a regular cast of emcees laying down rhymes during
    the latter half of his shows. Mississippi's a lost cause in the
    gentrification battle, but the Kiknbaque's making it clear MLK's not
    going down without a fight. MICHAEL BYRNE."