Galaxy (CLOSED)909 E Burnside St Portland, OR 97214 Northeast Portland & near Southeast Portland
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BarFly's Review of Galaxy (CLOSED)
Location is now Trio.
BarFly's last review of Galaxy appears, below.
While a decent enough place to kill an afternoon gaping at the ginormous fish tank, stiff cocktails and surprisingly-edible appetizers aren’t solely responsibly for The Galaxy’s persistence ‘midst the East Burnside metamorphosis. After dark, as the day-laborers and old men give way to bachelorette parties and local celebrities, one of Portland’s finest karaoke parlors comes alive.
They’ve a fine sound system, beloved KJs, a wide range of patrons ranging from drunk mutes to nascent superstars and almost enough room to seat them all. Rules against smoking, drinking or sweating from the stage rather hurt the metal covers, though.
Getting to Galaxy (CLOSED)
Reader ReviewsAdd your own review or comment
Is the Galaxy a great place to go for karaoke, eating chinese food, and feeling like you're in a David Lynch film? Yes, it absolutely is. My only complaint is the drink prices. While the pours are generous, $9 for a pint of beer and a soda for the DD is just stupid. I'm sure the price points hover this high to cover everyone's salaries (they sure as fuck don't go to upkeep of the bathrooms. Cleaning the gigantic fish tanks, maybe?), but a $6 gin and tonic shouldn't be served in a kiddie glass. This place is a fun divey dive, but dives shouldn't charge arena prices for drinks.
Bottom line: come for the karaoke and food and get a gullible stranger to buy your drinks for you. Your wallet will hate this place.
The KJ I sang with during the week was great, the KJ I had on a Saturday was awful. He let some people go up several times, while leaving some (including myself) to wait over two hours only to find out we still had another hour to wait! And I tipped him too! And I saw someone else I didn't even know leave for the same reason.
So I would suggest going during the week, but to go somewhere else during the weekends.
I enjoy this place, like the seating and the staff is always nice. Always entertaining kareoke. Very dissapointed in the crab puffs however. Thought they would be better. Probably the worst I have had...
Don't get me wrong. I don't dislike this place. As a matter of fact, I think it's not bad. If I had to describe this place in one sentence or less, I'd use those two words.
The drinks aren't bad. The food's not bad. The karaoke's not bad. The bathrooms even aren't bad! The only consistently bad thing about this place is the video poker. (No points for saying it's bad everywhere. It's obvious and not always true.........true enough most times though.....*sigh*.)
So with all that going for it, what's the problem? The problem is every time I go in there, it seems like one or two things are off. The food sometimes takes forever and is cold. Not every time, of course. Just sometimes. And sometimes the pours aren't what they should be. I don't get them watered down every visit. Just sometimes. The wait staff, while I respect how hard they work, come off a bit surly at times. Not the entertaining kinda surly either.
Then, there's the karaoke. The song list is excellent, probably the best in the city. The sound system is top notch as well. There's a long wait sometimes for a song, but that's what draws the crowds in, and most people in the joint are there with a song up, so you can't fault them for that.
There's one thing though.....ahem......no cursing on the mic??? Am I confused, or is this establishment not 21 and over only? I know the fish tank would be adored by the kiddies, but they can't drink (without a good fake ID) so they're not there. There's cursing in every bar in this town, yet you don't want the virgin ears of the Galaxy to hear the word fuck? This wouldn't be such a big deal to me, but my favorite song in the world to sing is Creep by Radiohead. It's the one song I can do with even a little bit of proficiency. But it goes against EVERY fiber of my being to say the line "you're so fuckin' special" as "you're so very special." It ruins the entire song almost!! Bars are not, or at least they shouldn't be, PG-13.
Again, these quibbles all seem minor. And they are, but they just happen a bit too often. Doesn't mean I won't go back. Just means I won't be there as often as other haunts.
I've visited this fine procurer of spirits a few times, mostly to show off my rockin' version of Manfred Mann Earth Band's cover of "Blinded by the Light." However, the most recent visit was for a friend's birthday, and on two separate occasions that night I was offered the remainder of a stranger's beer as they sashayed out the door, both women expediting the process by simply placing the 3/4 full pint glass directly into my hand. Now, I'm not a regular here by any means, but is that standard Galaxy etiquette? Because if it is, I'm going back for a night of free booze.
Well, a few negative responses are expected, as you cannot please everyone. I will respond to them however. To the person discussing the tips and how new people should be put ahead of regulars.. I have my own beliefs on this, and I agree that it would be more fair to do that. But unfortunately, I do not make up the rules.. The owner of the Galaxy does that. And I have to follow his wishes as an employee. So my hands are kind of tied with that one. If I go against it, and I have. I usually get into an argument that I cannot win. So that's what's going on with that. I wish that I could do more.
And to the other person that commented on my being at the bar or restroom, and not being at the karaoke booth when they think I should be because of their tips. That I admit is something that I should work on improving. I understand about the lag time between songs, and it makes total sense. The restroom part.. well when ya gotta go.. ya gotta go. but the hanging at the bar too long is something that should change, and I am willing to do that. I certainly do not want to get anyone upset, or keep people waiting like that. And apparentely I have.. my bad. and I apologize for that, and will do my best to make a change for the better.
I do encourage this feedback. It does help in giving me a heads up on what needs to be improved on, or what doesn't need to be changed.
So please keep the comments coming. I will check back more often so that I can keep myself current on the issues at hand.
Patrick needs to let new people up instead of ACCEPTING THEIR TIPS and then letting the people who have gone up six times go again. Also, dude, don't be in the bathroom or standing at the bar when the song finishes. I'm not anal and oppose regimentation and stiff expectations in all forms, but I did not pay you two bucks to not get to sing and have minutes-long gaps between the performers.
Clueless Karaoke host... if the term rotation has any meaning to you - it won't be found at the Galaxy. Good system, stiff drinks and a big selection all ruined by a short bald guy wearing a beret and a ponytail out the back. What good is a computer if you don't know how to use it - why not give it to some clueless goon that is too lazy or too stupid to rotate singers and keep everyone happy.
6/18 Monday-The Leprechaun is by far among the best KJ hosts. He's fun, fast & keeps the show moving. Being from out of town, I've been to a lot of Karaoke shows. This one will be a favorite of mine next time I'm back. A lot of fun to be around good singers, the people are friendly enough. Bar staff are fast & efficient as well. They don't do the chit chat BS, they keep service moving right along. & serve 'em up the way I like 'em stiff. I especially like the fact they keep Pendleton whiskey on board, another favorite of mine. The fried won-ton was good too. I'll be back, most likely on a week night.
Tilted Kilt / Vista
I've been a frequenter of the Galaxy for about 8 years and must say that I keep going back because it is always a comfortable, fun place. The sister-bar, the Ambassador, is also owned by the same person. They have the LARGEST selection of songs I have seen yet. Call it a BIBLE, if you will. Both bars resonate QUALITY karaoke that NO other bar in Portland can touch. Period. However, they do keep the volume down a bit more than I care for, but that is not the KJ's decision. Their system of who sings next is by far the best I have seen. They do not take bribes to put someone up, which becomes unfair to other singers, which I have seen at other places, and they also do NOT play favorites to even us old timers. They do not allow any type of cursing on the microphone, nor drinking and smoking on the dance floor, which I applaud. They keep a fun atmosphere, while making you feel welcomed. Both places have long-standing employees. And it is great to see Patrick, Heather, and Kellen, the KJ's get up and jam out a tune. Please remember to tip these KJ's, as they deserve it!!! Even though I've been a turd sometimes, I want these guys to know that I seriously love them. That includes ALL staff. And to my other regular patrons: I'm thankful for the friendships. Thanks for tolerating me ;) See u all soon!!
Some things are still familiar: the great sound system that makes almost anyone sound good on karaoke, except me of course. The great hours where you know you can drift into Galaxy after 1pm and it's still going strong until they kick you out at 2:30. And there's Patrick, Jamie and Bonnie who still give the place a connection to past years, along with a sprinkling of long-timers. But where have all the regulars gone? Fridays and Saturdays fill up with the hipster crowds, but I used to look forward to going during the week and seeing some of the same faces. Especially Thursdays and early Fridays. It's sad that Shannon and April are gone, especially April. She and Patrick were the face of the Galaxy to a lot of us. Can we lobby her to go back, wherever she is? Maybe that will bring back some of the other faces. Or maybe I should just go in there and get a wicked stiff drink and not worry about it anymore.
This is more of an appreciation statement than a review.
My name is Patrick, AKA:The Leprechaun. I am the karaoke host at the Galaxy M-F. I have so many fond memories of the place since beginning my employment there ten years ago. I love the diversity of it all. Always different, and I never know what to expect. I am very pleased with all of the positive responses that there have been, it makes me feel like the Galaxy is doing something right. Everyone should have a great time there, and granted, there are quite a few rules, but sometimes that is necessary when people are mixing singing and booze.
All in all, I personally try to create a pleasant and fun atmosphere while I work, I want everyone to have as much fun as I do. It should be a party after all. In closing, I would like to thank everyone for stopping in, and I hope for many more good times at the Galaxy in the future.
Thank you all..
Hi, my name is Roller and I'm a Galaxyoholic. I sit quietly in the booths with my songbook and slips and get in a couple of songs before disappearing into the darkness. I can't get enough of the week day regulars singing. The guy who sings Britney Spears like Type O Negative is hilarious and still pulls it off. And he does it better than a lot of girls who might be trying it seriously. That is, after a few good Galaxy drinks. I'm off to the Galaxy to save my seat. Did I say I need a sponsor?
Well, I've been coming to the Galaxy as a lost soul since 2001... That's right, that makes this my fifth year! What keeps me coming back is a friendliness of the KJ's and the amiability of the staff and patrons.
Once again, best karaoke place in down. I once went to D----'s, got up once, and walked the mile and a half to the Galaxy, just because they're so darn nice!
I've been to the Galaxy a couple of times lately, and the bartenders and KJs are what make the place. Sitting in the chairs and barstools is an adventure, because some of them tilt forward or sideways. Throw in the nice pours and a couple rounds later, still staying in that stool can be a 50-50 thing.
There was this one night when a group of people came in to karaoke, all wearing wigs and campy costumes. There was nothing like them all singing up there together a rendition of Queen. Nowhere else but the Galaxy! It seems like the regulars and great singers go there on weekdays, and the weekend crowd is more of a hangout crowd flowing over from Doug Fir. April, Jamie, Bonnie, Kellen (?) and Patrick are great. Now, back to my tippy barstool.
As a former KJ at the G, I have to say I love it... By far the best sound system and song selection in Portland (and I'm a karaoke whore)...
The staff is friendly - April and Jamie are amazing - as well as Patrick the KJ - and the regular crowd is talented and welcoming...
Yeah, the best singers go there because it's the best - but all the best singers usually go on week nights... the crowd gets worse on the weekends (it can be a 2 or 3 hour wait to sing)...
Remember to tip the staff! ESPECIALLY the KJs!!
Thanks kids! Have fun and call a cab...
You got to love the galaxy if you love karaoke. All of the above is true and even on a packed night you can still get up there a couple times
Two different crowds: happy hour regulars early in the evening, and the karaoke crowd from 9 on. Picks up with serious karaoke singers, especially weekends. I've been there for both crowds, and like the cheap drinks and laid back crowd. Mix of hipsters and older crowd, but works nice. Bartenders have been there a long time and are super friendly after you've been there more than once.
I've been here on a weeknight and on a Friday. The Friday crowd was a bunch of lousy fratboys; the weeknight crowd was a theatre troupe celebrating closing night, who were sweet and welcoming and all sang songs I loved! Maybe the last reviewer was at a different bar, because Rocky Horror stuff is apparently just fine, and one of the frat boys on Friday got very vulgar (and misogynistic, which was no good; that was when we left and determined we'd be back on a weekday) and he wasn't kicked off stage. But all in all I had quite a good time singing here, and there were all kinds, from complete amateurs to consummate performers. In summary, early is better than late, weekdays are better than weekends, and it's a good cheap way to have fun.
The Galaxy is where the professional singers to go do karaoke, or so it seems. You know when you go out for karaoke and everyone sucks? This isn't that place. It takes GUTS to get up and sing in front of this mostly young-hip-pretty crowd. They have an extensive song list, one of the best I've seen. The KJ is strictly business and keeps things running smoothly. They do have quite a few 'rules'. No swearing, drinking or smoking on the dance floor,turning in more than one song request at a time, singing anything from rocky horror or anything they might be considered vulgar. Good drinks, albeit small and expensive, and one giganto-huge fish tank that is pretty fun to stare at when you are far from sober.
this place rocks for late night grub and some laughs. Cool atmosphere, kind of feels like Japan not that I've ever been.
Overall Rating of Galaxy (CLOSED)
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