Voicebox to Bring 'Japanese-Style Karaoke,' Sake Cocktails to BoDo 

click to enlarge voicebox_courtesyvoicebox_2_.jpg

Courtesy Voicebox

The downtown Boise space that used to house Urban Outfitters on the corner of Eighth and Front streets has been vacant for more than a year, but thanks to a new karaoke bar concept imported from Portland, Oregon, that's about to change, at least in part. Voicebox is set to open in the back portion of the 3,100-square-foot space in September of 2019, bringing what it calls "Japanese-style" and "private suite" karaoke to the Treasure Valley, to be served up alongside bar snacks, sake cocktails, wine and local beer. The bar will have a new, separate entrance off of Front Street.

click to enlarge COURTESY VOICEBOX
  • Courtesy Voicebox
"In Japan, karaoke almost always happens in a private suite in the company of friends, co-workers, or family. This is a contrast to American karaoke, which usually happens in a public space in front of strangers," Kate Tapia, a Strategic Development Manager for Voicebox, wrote in an email.

The space will be split into private rooms for parties of between 6 and 30 people (the typical group size is 10-15), where they can belt out their favorite hits without fear of disturbing fellow customers or embarrassing themselves in front of a crowd of strangers. The suit walls will be covered in colorful artwork, and guests will be able to control the music and lighting from their smartphones via vbsongs.com. In another move to embrace technology, would-be singers will be able to go online before visiting Voicebox to make their song selections, eliminating in-suite arguments over which track to try next.

"We’re firm believers in the idea that being a good singer isn’t a requirement for participating at Voicebox. The best karaoke experiences happen when you connect to the lyrics of the song because they’re meaningful to you. Picking a song that’s technically in your range, but means nothing to you, isn’t nearly as fun as belting out the song that was the soundtrack to your best summer ever. Browsing songs before the event and choosing what you really respond to helps you have a great event," wrote Tapia.

click to enlarge COURTESY VOICEBOX
  • Courtesy Voicebox
As for the menu, bar classics like chicken wings, popcorn, tater tots and sliders will be on offer to pair with house-infused sake cocktails, a specialty from Voicebox's full bar. Beers from local producers will be on tap, too, along with wine by the glass.

The Boise outpost will be Voicebox's fourth location. There are other bars in Portland and Denver.

“The culture of Boise and the music scene growing here is hard to ignore,” Voicebox Founder Scott Simon said in a press release. “Boise is a vibrant community that loves a good celebration. We’re certain Voicebox will become central to that tradition, a gathering place embraced and enjoyed by local crowds.”
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