When I heard that my daughter had been invited to a birthday party for a six year-old at Coolth KTV bar in Wangjing (Coolth, because the owner is from Spain?) I was a bit taken aback. I’ve been to birthday parties at KTV bars and it has never crossed my mind to let my child enter one for any reason. However, knowing the host, and the kids who would be attending, I was fairly certain that consuming copious amounts of alcohol and chain smoking cigarettes while singing at ear-splitting decibels was not going to be the order of the day.
My reservations set aside, we headed over on the big day and I was surprised just how friendly a karaoke bar can seem in daylight. The staff greeted my daughter with beaming smiles and no one minded that she rode her scooter down the seemingly endless corridor of karaoke rooms. We were directed all the way to the back to a room that appeared to be designed for kids’ parties. Inside, hanging out on the sofas and singing in front of the screen were a dozen girls and a few mothers all enjoying the festive moment that was devoid of alcohol, cigarettes, or the need for ear plugs. Some of the kids even sounded pretty good.
Like most KTV clubs, Coolth actually has a range of kid songs in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English. The one drawback is that the karaoke machine interface is in Chinese, but the staff will gladly help out if you need assistance. Many clubs have themed rooms like Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty. They can also provide candles, plates, napkins, silverware, etc., and they will gladly come in and sing happy birthday to the birthday child. By default, since most kid parties are in the daytime, KTV clubs tend to be fairly quiet and you won’t run into drunken partiers either.
All in all, my kid had a blast and there was no clean up for the host. Prices will vary by location, but expect to pay around RMB200 an hour. Not a bad deal considering the ease of the party and the memories that it will generate.
photo by chris lay