No tap beers, bad karaoke.
Went to The Chalet recently for karaoke. Haven't been there in about 2 or 3 years and it has deteriorated from an okay local hangout to a pretty lousy place.
For my pals and I it's not that hard to please us. Give us a chance to act the fool at karaoke and some decent beer.
The Chalet cannot meet those simple desires.
Failure #1: Bad Karaoke. By bad karaoke I don't mean the singing. I mean horseshit sound (the DJ couldn't get the music loud enough to hear from more than 10 ft from the stage), malfunctioning microphones, and the selection of songs is one of the most poorly organized and small I've ever seen.
I can forgive bad mikes and low sound for the music, but bad selection of songs just sucks the fun out of karaoke. Their DJ had only one book arranged by artist which we had to leave at the front of the room as a sort of community resource. This is very annoying when you might want to glance at all the titles available under say, Elvis Presley. Sure, they'll have Hound Dog, but beyond that every DJ's selection is hit or miss. Most Karaoke books list a whole page of Presley songs. This one (when I discovered the secret artist book) had about 10. Pretty much the same for any other prolific hitmaker (think Elton John, Beatles). If they'd normally get a page or two anywhere else they had between 5 to 10 songs here. Worse, many well known artists who I've seen elsewhere had no songs listed at all.
Failure #2: No tap beers. I don't mean the tap was broken, I mean their tap was taken out. Last time I was there they served tap beers. No longer. I presume that the tap on the bar that no longer has any handles with beer logos on it has been non-operational for a long time.
Failure #3: Lousy selection of beers in bottles and cans. I asked if they had Blue Moon. Our waitress (who was very nice by the way) checked for us. No Blue Moon. Understandable. I asked for Leinenkugel's. She checked. No Leinie's of any kind. Then what do they have in bottles or cans? Michelob Golden Light, Grain Belt, Miller, Budweiser, Coors, Pabst (cans), Rolling Rock, Keystone Light (cans), Corona and Summit.
I'm not putting those beers down, but with the exception of Summit or possibly Rolling Rock and Corona, they're not exactly going to win awards for quality. I get that I'm at a dive bar and not a beer snob place, but if you don't have tap beer surely you can find room for more variety in your bottled beers. Or if you're that limited on space and you don't think the clients will buy higher end/craft beers, how about stocking more of the cheap crap beers? If I can't go good then I'll go for ultra cheap. Bud, Miller, Michelob, Coors are all overpriced swill. Swap out a few of those for Hamm's or some other garbage beer. At least they're cheap.
Apparently a lot of other guests felt the same as I do because the cheapest, shittiest beer in the joint, Keystone Light, ran out before the night was over. My expectations were so low that I'd have been happy if I coulda drank $2 Keystone cans all night but it wasn't to be. Who ever heard of a bar running out of beer?
Positive Aspects: There were some good things, despite my general dislike of the bar. As I mentioned, our waitress was very nice and quite accomodating, even if she didn't always know offhand if they carried a particular brand.
The atmosphere was also pretty good. Lots of just plain regular people. No hipsters. No one looking for fights. Very down to earth. The crowd was supportive of everyone singing regardless of whether or not they knew them personally.
Free parking is always a plus in my book. They have that.
Overall the servers and the atmosphere earn this two stars. Seriously, these are great people, but the fact is that a bar without a tap is just sad. Bad selection in bottles/cans is not excusable if you don't have taps. And someone needs to fire the company they hired for karaoke services because they had bad equipment and bad selection.
Great Karaoke....Great Drinks....Great Atmosphere. Need I say more? If you're looking for a casual atmosphere with friendly bartenders who makes great drinks, Chalet is the place!! Karaoke increases crowd interactions and before you know it, you've made new friends. There are plenty of great karaoke performances, so come prepared to show your best performance.
TC's best karaoke spot?. The downside to this club (for me at least) is that because it's technically not in Saint Paul (with the smoking ban), it's filled with smokers. The karaoke usually starts around 9:45pm on the weekends. They have a small stage, and a mirrorball. Good selection of old and new songs with a diverse age groups that come to hang out. Quite a few regulars. There is quite a bit of audience participation, especially on the well known songs. The place is usually full, but not overcrowded. I brought 30+ people out for a karaoke night and we all fit (some standing though) without a reservation. The place gets full, but because it small you can still sing quite a few songs. The rotation goes pretty quickly. Come by around 9 if you want to get a table or sit at the bar. Pitchers of domestics are cheap and the service isn't bad. The food is standard bar fare. It's a dive bar, but it's fun.
Friendly atmosphere. If you are not a regular you will soon feel that you are! The people are very friendly and the bartender mixes a great drink. On karaoke nights the whole croud takes part.
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