Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Karaoke Right Here in River City

Well, either you're closing your eyes
To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated
By the presence of [karaoke] in your community.
Ya got trouble, my friend, right here,
I say, trouble right here in River City.
Source: With apologies to Meredith Willson.
In China, karaoke bars, known as KTV, offer a place where small groups can gather in private rooms with state-of-the-art video and sound systems for karaoke. KTV is ubiquitous in China. Apartments are small in China and standalone houses are uncommon. If you want to host a party, KTV fills a real market need.

Last year I had the good fortune to visit China. One night in Jiaxing, a city about 60 miles from Shanghai, we were treated to our first experience at a KTV establishment. A mixed group of locals and foreigners, all friends or acquaintances of our host, enjoyed a private party, not unlike parties I've experienced in private homes in America. There was food, there was alcohol, there was smoking (more common in China than I care for), there was singing (mostly by the Chinese, but still). All in all, a good time was had by all.

After the jump, is KTV coming to Richardson, Texas?

At Monday night's city council meeting, a business requested a special permit to open a karaoke bar in the shopping center at the corner of Campbell Rd and Coit Rd. Given the proximity to UT-Dallas, I think it's a great location for KTV. A growing university is attracting a growing population of young professionals. Is there a market for KTV in Richardson? I can foresee it becoming a popular destination.

There's only one catch. Apparently, current zoning allows a bar in that location. It allows a karaoke machine. But it doesn't allow a karaoke bar. Go figure. No don't. Don't go there.

Anyway, the city council approved the special permit with an amendment to allow operation of the karaoke bar only from 5:00 PM to midnight. State law allows sports bars or country bars to stay open to 2:00 AM. It even allows them to play karaoke machines until 2:00 AM. Richardson's zoning in that location is fine with all that, but call it a karaoke bar and suddenly you're forced into a midnight closing time. What is it about karaoke that has the city council spooked? It's almost as if the membership of the city council lacks any, shall we say, pool players.

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