While the closing of The Highball left a giant, onion ring-sized hole in all of our hearts, fans of the lounge should get excited: it's coming back soon. So while CultureMap may be over-doing it a bit by harassing The Highball on Twitter and emailing anyone involved with the project to ask when it is re-opening, the folks at the Alamo threw Austin a collective bone this week.
While we still don't have a solid opening date for the new South Lamar development, a recent drive by confirmed that it is no longer just a giant pit in the ground. This week The Highball published photographs of the still-under-construction interior, and launched a social media campaign asking folks to submit ideas for new karaoke room themes. The winner will get 10 hours of free karaoke. Do you know what that means? You could sing Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight" 240 times! For free.
While we don't speak ill of The Highball, the old karaoke rooms were a little generic (Hip Hop Room, Country Western Room) and we think we can do better. So here you go, Highball!
The Nirvana Room
So you're going to have to lighten up on the no smoking indoors rule for this one to feel truly authentic, but that's easy. For the Nirvana room you're going to need misters so that everything feels a little wet. Not drenched, but like you're in Seattle and it's just damp. You're also going to ensure that there is always a coffee pot plugged in so it smells like coffee. Good coffee, too. None of that Starbucks nonsense. Couches must be plaid. My parents have one in their basement if you need to borrow it. My mom tried to cover it with a slipcover for a while but (like all slipcovers) it never fit correctly and everyone still knew it was a plaid couch. The music selection must be really well tailored; there can be absolutely no Hole or Foo Fighters on the menu. Actually, just play it safe and only have musical selections that were recorded pre-April 1994. But still, no Hole!
Dolly Parton Room
This is where I will hang out because Dolly Parton is the greatest woman alive and the least we can do is dedicate a room to her. So pay attention Highball. First, you will need a selection of large, blonde bouffant wigs for guests. Everyone must wear them at all times with the exception of one person in the room who must wear the long, red wig. This person must be referred to only as "Jolene" for the entire night. Any renditions of the song "Jolene" must be directed towards the red wig-wearer. If the person playing the "Jolene" character cries under the weight of the suffering they've caused Dolly, then the whole room must take a shot.
Insane Clown Posse Room
I can hear your eye-rolling from here. Just hear me out, okay? The Highball needs an ICP room for one reason: Faygo. Faygo on draft, Faygo cocktails, Faygo shots, there's a whole Faygo theme to be had here. Just imagine, The Highball can stake its claim as being the only place in town where a decent, hardworking Austinite can get some Faygo and not be judged. Now the room will have a lot of trash on the floor and pots of black and white face paint must be fresh. Just because we're dressed like juggalos doesn't mean we don't care about hygiene.
This is an important room because sometimes people just need a judgment free place to belt out New Found Glory and Dashboard Confessional without being criticized or told "they have bad taste in music." Studded belts will be given upon entry and the floor should be black carpet (to match our hair) and the walls should be crushed red velvet (to match our bleeding hearts). Couches should be covered with old Good Charlotte band t-shirts.
Generic 70s Room
So, yes, a 70s room might seem a bit stereotypical, but Austin is suffering from a severe lack of light up floors. Just once it would be nice to walk into a room, look down at your feet and see the floor glowing back at you. A rack of knitted ponchos should probably be provided at the door to add authenticity. Make sure to install a disco ball and throw in a patterned couch. And since karaoke is a judgment free zone, let's just go ahead and put a large key bowl in there and let the whole scene just play out as it will.
The Enya Experience
If there is one thing that doesn't get enough play at karaoke joints, it's the Pure Moods compilation albums. Imagine a karaoke list that isn't so focused on lyrics, but rather just noises you can make with your throat. For this room everyone will sit on the floor (no couches mean big savings) and get a complimentary didgeridoo. Instead of paint, you should install wall-sized images of Ireland's rolling hills.
The Obscure Underground Hip Hop Room
In order to research this room, you're going to have to take a field trip to Bushwick and Silver Lake. If you need a place to stay, I have a friend of a friend who would probably let you crash on their floor for a few days. The essence of this room is that everything must be ironic. You can have an expensive mid-century modern sofa, but only if you found it on the street. You should probably also have a cat living in this room. But don't name the cat. Now with this room, the karaoke list is key; you may only have obscure, underground hip hop on the list. I mean stuff absolutely no one has heard of. Songs that are so new they haven't even been written yet. The moment the artist gains any notoriety, the song must be removed from the list. You may have exactly one Ice-T song, but that is to be sung only by the random guy in the group who "just doesn't get it."
We can't wait to see which one The Highball selects! And stay tuned for news about when they will be opening the new location — we will keep annoying them until the date is confirmed.