From the suburbs to winelands, whale route and CBD
Sing along with Mitch
Karaoke is nothing short of good fun at Mitchell’s Waterfront Brewery
Karaoke literally means ‘empty orchestra’, but we all know it as an interactive form of entertainment whereby singers, from the amateur to the cat murderers, sing along with recorded music. For all you warbling novices who think karaoke started in Japan, you’re wrong. If the magical karaoke machine was invented by the Japanese in 1971, then how come American TV network, NBC, broadcast a strikingly karaoke-style reality show called ‘Sing Along With Mitch’, in 1966? You don’t have to fly to Tokyo for an authentic sing along - Mitchell’s Waterfront Brewery, at the V&A Waterfront, is one Mitch that’s got an itch for Cape Town to sing along.
Mitchell’s Brewery is the first place you see, upon entering the V&A Waterfront from the Dock Road. It’s one of the oldest buildings in the area and quite the old English pub. On sunny days, its overflowing outdoor area greets you with a rustic smile and tempts day time drinking. It’s the kind of place where you get together with a group of mates on a Sunday afternoon to nurse your hangover with some hearty pub grub. By night, its relaxed ambience, large flat screens and late closing times, make it the perfect venue for sports fans, party animals and, more importantly, karaoke queens.
When I first enter Mitchell’s to meet some friends for karaoke, I feel some nostalgia for my home country, England. It’s like stepping into a pub back home – low lighting, broken down walls and the familiar scent of their home brewed beers, Forester’s Lager and Bosun’s Ale. Up the winding staircase I come across my friends, who are already poring over an extensive karaoke list.
Glass of wine in hand from our friendly waitress, we can’t help but burst into fits of giggles as we choose cheesy pop songs for each other to sing… ‘If I could turn back time!’… ‘Hit me baby one more time!’… I settle for a Stevie Wonder number, but it turns out I’m the only one of my friends to put my name down. I vow to get them horribly drunk, or secretly put their names down for ‘You’re the one that I want’.
At nine o clock on the dot, the host has an ear piercing malfunction with the mic, before he introduces himself. What follows is a scene synonymous with the word ‘karaoke’ – a portly host passionately warbling a cheesy ballad that a) nobodies ever heard of and b) seems to have six verses and five choruses, yet we smile compliantly (at least it buys me some time to down my brandy and coke before it’s my turn).
Just after the gay guy who prances around the stage in a shower of pink singing ‘boys just wanna have fu-uuun’, my name is called out. How am I supposed to top that? Sod it! I grab the mic and march triumphantly onto the stage. ‘I didn’t know you would be jamming until the break of dawn..’ I exclaim, pointing at my boyfriend whilst trying to dance like a Rastafarian. I look like a prat – even more so when I’m later singing a duet with him that I’ve never heard of. There’s a group of friends celebrating a birthday on the table next to us. They’re belting out ‘Waka Waka’, but for some reason all the lyrics on the screen are in Spanish. Everyone looks like a prat, but it’s one of the few times that acting like a prat results in extreme fun, rather than embarrassment.
All of a sudden, little-miss-I-can-sing-amazingly belts out a note perfect version of ‘Hurt’ by Christina Aguilera. The crowd erupts in applause. It’s not fun anymore – this means war! I wage an all-out American divas battle as I belt out ‘Falling’ by Alicia Keys. Little-miss-I-can-sing-amazingly asks me if I’d like to do a duet. Having made my point, I resume enjoying my evening. But by enjoying my evening, I mean secretly nominating my friends to sing ‘Wannabe’…
Mitchell’s Waterfront Brewery is the quintessential British pub that’s fortunately dropped on South Africa. It’s a home away from home, where you can relax with friends and lose your inhibitions in some karaoke fun.
By Lisa Nevitt
Mitchell’s Waterfront Brewery
Corner of East Pier and Dock Road | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town | 0214195094
Opening Times: 11:00-2:00 every day.
Karaoke: Tuesdays, from 9pm.
Fancy beer and music at the Dubliner, or cocktails and burlesque at House of KINK? Check out our nightlife section.