Asian Karaoke to fill Vacant Social Club II
University City, MO/June 6, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – One of St. Louis’ premiere entertainment districts is about to get something totally new to the area, an Asian-style Karaoke lounge. St. Louis restaurateur Ivan Wei plans to open W Karaoke in October, right next door to his Corner 17 and Joy Luck Express restaurants. We profiled Wei’s University City eateries last July. Wei is working with Tao+Lee Associates to renovate the old Social House II at 6655 Delmar Blvd. This is the same design firm he tapped for last year’s expansion of Corner 17 and creation of his Asian express takeout, Joy Luck Express.
The site of his new venture has a history of cutting edge entertainment and controversy. Social House II closed last June after just four-months in business. The controversial nightclub had drawn protests from the community and members of the University City government over the scantily clad servers (who wore only pasties and body paint from the waist up). Wei’s planned karaoke lounge has already won approval from the University City council. Wei won approval of his conditional use permit for the karaoke bar at the May 8th city council meeting.
Renovations are underway, including a gut rehab of the building and installation of an elaborate sound system that will allow karaoke performances in multiple locations inside the 4,000-square foot lounge. W Karaoke will feature 11 private rooms that can accommodate five-six people, and an open common area with a bar. Each room will have it’s own karaoke setup, allowing customers to sing for just their friends, or belt out a tune in the larger, and more public bar space. The multiple private rooms allowing performers to sing for just the audience they want is the crux of the difference between traditional American-style karaoke and Asian-style.
Asian-style karaoke lounges have been very popular, especially with college students, in China, Korea, and Japan for several years. They’re also hot right now in major U.S. cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. While there are a few spots offering Chinese karaoke and Korean karaoke in the St. Louis area, Wei’s new place will be different. He says customers won’t find just another bar when they walk into his lounge. W Karaoke will feel be glitzy and more glamorous.
W Karaoke Lounge will offer a full bar along with simple, limited menu of American eats and Pan-Asian cuisine. Although food won’t be the main draw, the popularity of Wei’s restaurants, especially the noodles at Corner 17, it’s sure to be a nice addition to the karaoke lounge. The plan is for W Karaoke to be open Sunday – Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to midnight, and Friday – Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. The new lounge is slated to open in October.