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In the mid-1980s, I was touring with a cover band for the DoD. When we were in Okinawa, a couple of the flyboys took us to a bar and I saw and sang karaoke for the first time ever. I’d never even heard of it at the time but came home and told all my friends. Yes, dear readers, it was I that brought karaoke to these (not so) United States.

Disclaimer: parts of that story are wildly untrue; I think you can guess which ones. 

But that’s all to say, I get it. Occasionally your inner star needs to come out for the evening. So, you dress up like the celebrity you are, and hit your favorite karaoke bar.

But when you’re not in your own town, you can’t go to your favorite spots and see your favorite hosts and sing your favorite songs. And sometimes, just like a craving for (fill in your favorite food here), that diva inside you wants to come out and shine a light tonight! 

It’s going to be okay. I’m here to help. 

Karaoke spots in Palm Springs

The Retro Room — Nightly. It’s a tiny bar, but that’s part of the charm. Reminds me of Chicago bars. You’ll be singing, encouraging other people to sing, and maybe having a random duet. You never know who might show up. It’s YOU! You’re showing up and showing out.

V Wine Lounge — Wednesday nights. Taking a break from the fantastic ladies of song appearing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, you – you little superstar — are subbing in every Wednesday evening. Great drinks, mocktails, wine selection and bar food. Plus, it’s a very fun and kitschy mid-century modern establishment. It is not pretentious or stuffy and the owner is as delicious as the food. (Very!)

Streetbar — Every third Thursday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m. I know! Once a month is a long time to wait for a chance to show off your pipes, but Streetbar has a lot going on, what with nightly fun and all. They don’t have a website, so that link gets you the address. They’re on Facebook if you need to look at pictures.

The Village — Tuesdays. Just two spaces north of 420 Bank & Dispensary, this place recently had an overhaul. They have live music, bar food, and cocktails, but no bar games. Enjoy the jumping dance floor, outdoor patio, and nightlife (open until 2 a.m.). 

Beforehand getting your karaoke on, grab a bite at Thai House, Fuzion Five, or for French/Belgian bistro food try Pomme Frite for some mussels. And when you’re done making people weep with your talent, go dance it off at Reforma nightclub just a stone’s throw away.

Fireside Lounge — Tuesdays, starts at 9 p.m. This bar is like no other in Palm Springs. It’s mostly locals, and a lot of entertainers stop to hit the mic. Way off the beaten track, it’s off Ramon near the dispensaries at 696 Oleander (no website). Very fun dive bar.

Hunter’s — Tuesdays. One of the OG gay nightclubs in town. Bring your A game.

Open mic in Palm Springs

In season only

Play Lounge — You will bring Joel Baker your sheet music, and you will sing, songbird, sing dammit!

Palm Canyon Roadhouse — Sundays at 4 p.m. Their website is a mess. This used to be with a full band, not sure what’s going on. Definitely call. They might answer.

Oscar’s — With Michael Orland, former pianist, arranger, vocal coach, and associate musical director at American Idol. 

I hope this guides you through your musical journey. Namaste, little diva.

“Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya

Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya

Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya!

Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya

Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya

Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya!” — “September,” Earth, Wind & Fire

It’s not quite the end of summer yet, but almost every venue in Palm Springs is back and in the swing of things, a.k.a. there is plenty to do. So as someone once said, “Ain’t nothin’ to it, but to get down to it.”

Sweepstakes!

Locale and Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels (that’s us!) are partnering for the Ultimate Palm Springs Boutique Hotel Giveaway. Five different packages at five very cool and very different boutique hotels: A Place In The Sun, Azure Sky, Alcazar, Los Arboles, and Old Ranch Inn. Enter here by Sept. 19, 2022.

The pool area of Azure Sky. Photo courtesy of Azure Sky

New spots

The Flannery Exchange at 750 N. Palm Canyon Drive is a mixed-use property that includes offices, retail and food. Two new hot spots have opened here in an already very cool space:

Bar Chingona — Hours: Thursday to Sunday, 6-10 p.m. It’s in an Airstream trailer! You must try the cocktail made with fresh pureed watermelon, tequila, basil, and serrano with lemon juice. I love this quote, so here it is: “The concept is a Palm Springs take on Mexico City’s craft cocktail culture, born from Flannery Exchange owner Mike Flannery’s oddly specific longtime dream of having a bar in an Airstream trailer.”

Hoja Blanca — Hours: Thursday to Sunday, 6-10 p.m. A sort of pop-up, according to the website, serving reimagined Mexican food by locally-raised brothers Omar and Arnold Limon. Man, that makes them sound like produce or livestock. My apologies — they’re not farm-raised, but were cage-free.

Luchows — Hours: Thursday to Sunday, but call. Luchows was open for a hot Palm Springs second this spring, then it perma-closed — until an angel swooped in and brought it back from the dead. It’s like Lazarus! I hear it’s great, and that is splendid because we do not have many good choices for traditional Chinese food. One of the things I have missed about Chicago since I left 27 years ago. 4771 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in the Vons shopping plaza (they have a great gas station there too, a buck off if you pay cash).

PRO VR — Brand new virtual reality gaming. This is on Crossley Road, bordering Cathedral City, about 10 minutes from downtown Palm Springs. If you like escape games, this is that, but with heightened reality. Am I going? Does the sun shine 360 days a year in Palm Springs? (It does, so that’s a yes.)

Live shows

Oscar’s — LGBTQ or LGBTQ-adjacent shows.

Purple Room — Great acts, home of The Judy Show.

PS Underground — One of the most creative shows you’ll ever see, and the food matches that description too.

PS Cultural Center — Live music weekdays upstairs, blockbusters, indie films, and film festivals. They’ve even got a restaurant! This month is Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival — make sure to check it out.

Jazzville — All the best jazz from all over the world, every Thursday night.

V Wine Lounge — A mixed bag of entertainment including karaoke, and some of the best wine selections in town.

Cascade Lounge — Themed nights of comedy, Latin, and more.

The Alibi — Their line up is baffling but looks oh so fun.

Cheers to good times in Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

LGBTQ

The Dinah — You can explore the website yourself, but I’m also going to tell you about the biggest lesbian party under the sun in an upcoming post.

Cinema Diverse — September 15-25. Now in its 15th year, this festival of international films from and about the LGBTQ+ community is held at the PS Cultural Center. See one or see them all.

Booze N’ Brush Next to Naked Sip N’ Paint — September 3. This is an exotic male model painting event. 400 Ramon Road.

Chill Bar — Varsity Fridays at 4 p.m. 217 E. Arenas Road.

The Swimming Hole — Sundays from Noon to 6 p.m. at Hotel Zoso, 150 S. Indian Canyon Dr. This is an LGBTQ pool party presented by Hunters Nightclubs and Tyler Caiden. Ages 18+.

Hunters: 

Sundays: Risqué Drag Review, hosted by Miss Rusty Waters, 9:30 p.m.

Mondays: Gaming Mondays, with prizes for winners.

Tuesdays: Trivia Night at 5:30 p.m. and Karaoke Night from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Wednesdays: Drag Me to Bingo with Miss Rusty Waters, 6 to 8 p.m., followed by the Spotlight Drag Show at 8:30 p.m.

Thursdays: Throwback Thursdays with music from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Drink specials start at 3 p.m.

Fridays: Fur Fridays, with $2 Bud Light draft and well cocktails, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturdays: Switch Saturdays Drag Show with a new host and new cast every week, 2 p.m. Terrific food to pair with your beverage.

Eagle 501 — Gear Thursdays, Bear Fridays, and Church Lady Sundays.

Karaoke

Retro Room — Karaoke every night!

Streetbar — One of the friendliest gay bars around. That’s their tagline — LMK if it’s true.

Fireside Lounge — Well off the beaten path, this local and exceptional dive bar is open 23 hours a day. The link is for address only, that page is a mess.

Ongoing events

PS Art Museum — Free Thursday evenings, followed by Village Fest.

Warbird Rides at the Palm Springs Air Museum. I’m not a war girl, but this terrific museum is fascinating.

Speaking of flying, PS Air is something you should check out. They call themselves a speakeasy, but the whole joint looks like an airplane. Very cool. It’s inside a great wine shop with delicious salads and other fine foods called Bouschet.

Palm Springs Museum interior

The Palm Springs Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

October brings the downscaled Modernism Week, so check out their events and reserve now. It’s a very hot ticket.

Please remember to shop, stay, and eat local. It keeps Palm Springs, one of the best adult playgrounds west of the Mississippi, thriving. And if you found this useful, tag us in your Instagram posts when you visit, and tell us what you did!

From its striking desert landscapes to glamorous mid-century architecture, Palm Springs, California, has long been a celebrated destination for LGBTQIA+ travelers seeking a fun and friendly getaway. The nightlife is where it’s at this summer, especially as the warm nights amp up. 

There’s something for everyone in Palm Springs, but karaoke nights amplify the allure of our beloved desert evening entertainment. If you’re looking for seven nights in the spotlight, here’s your ultimate guide to queer karaoke in Palm Springs.

Sundays: 

Karaoke Nights

Venue: Quadz Palm Springs

Location: 200 S. Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs

Time: 6 p.m. until close

Sundays are always “Sunday Funday” here in Palm Springs, so kick off your marathon week of karaoke over at Quadz in the heart of the Arenas district. Every Sunday at 6 p.m., you’ll find locals and travelers alike belting out tunes alongside host Stephen B. With an impressive range of tracks to pick from, your karaoke skills will get a good warmup for the week ahead.

A flyer for Karaoke Nights at Quadz Palm Springs

Courtesy of Quadz Palm Springs

Mondays: 

Streetbar Karaoke

Venue: Streetbar

Location: 224 E. Arenas Road, Palm Springs

Time: 9 p.m. until close

Start your “business” week on a high note (literally!) with Streetbar Karaoke. Also nestled in the heart of the Arenas district (and the first gay bar ever established in Palm Springs back in 1991), Streetbar lights up the night from 9 p.m. on. It’s an absolute must for karaoke enthusiasts — the drinks are strong and the vocalists are even stronger!

A flyer advertising karaoke at Streetbar in Palm Springs

Courtesy of Streetbar

Tuesdays: 

Karaoke with Sean Taylor Jackson

Venue: The Roost Lounge

Location: 68718 E. Palm Canyon Dr., #203, Cathedral City

Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Join the fun at The Roost Lounge for Karaoke with Sean Taylor Jackson. Known for its friendly vibe and classic cocktails, The Roost ensures a diverse variety of music and memories every Tuesday starting at 6 p.m. over in Cathedral City (a.k.a. Cat City).

A flyer of the karaoke event at The Roost Lounge

Courtesy of The Roost Lounge

Wednesdays: 

Karaoke & Cocktails with James

Venue: V Wine Lounge & Martini Bar

Location: 600 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs

Time: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Happy Hump Day! Bring your friends to the chic V Wine Lounge & Martini Bar for Karaoke & Cocktails with James. Between sips of popular libations, you’ll be sure to have enough liquid courage to conquer the stage every Wednesday from 6 to 10 p.m.

A flyer for karaoke at V Wine Lounge

Courtesy of V Wine Lounge

Thursdays: 

Terry-oke Thursday

Venue: One Eleven Bar

Location: 67555 E. Palm Canyon Dr., #A103, Cathedral City

Time: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Make your way back to Cat City for the weekly Terry-oke Thursday with Terry Larson at One Eleven Bar. With a warm atmosphere and welcoming audience, you’ll be serenading the crowd from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. You surely will see some friends there you’ve already made throughout the week!

A flyer for karaoke at One Eleven

Courtesy of One Eleven

Fridays: 

Friday Night Karaoke

Venue: AMP Sports Lounge

Location: 68-718 E. Palm Canyon Dr., #201, Cathedral City

Time: 8 p.m. until close

The weekend’s here, and it’s time for Friday Night Karaoke at AMP Sports Lounge. Join in with host Josh Ryan from 8 p.m. on, and be sure to make a good impression since you’ll be back again tomorrow night…

A flyer for AMP'D Up Karaoke

Courtesy of AMP Sports Lounge

Saturdays: 

Saturday Amp’d Up Karaoke

Venue: AMP Sports Lounge

Location: 68-718 E. Palm Canyon Dr., #201, Cathedral City

Time: 8 p.m. until close

Close out the week with a triumphant return to the AMP Sports Lounge for Saturday Amp’d Up Karaoke. The bar dials it up to 11 with $2 Jell-O shots, unbeatable drink specials, and crowd-pleasing songs hosted by KJ Paul. It’s the perfect way to cap off a week of queer karaoke (Queer-aoke?) adventures!

A flyer for AMP'd Up Karaoke

Courtesy of AMP Sports Lounge

There’s no easier way to let down your guard and let your voice be heard in Palm Springs than by immersing yourself in our thriving karaoke scene. And there’s no better place to stay while you’re doing it than one of our iconic, independently-owned boutique hotels. Each property has its own unique character and charm that the big chains can’t match, and promise a home-away-from-home experience amidst the enchanting desert backdrop.

A stay at one of the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels gives you the perfect balance of relaxation, exploration, and music-filled nights. So go ahead, book your stay, and prepare for an unforgettable karaoke journey under the star-studded Palm Springs sky!