Friday, 3 July 2009

Home To Roost

I've always enjoyed singing. So Why, on earth, don't you join a choir then? I hear you deafeningly ask. That's a fair question. I've often thought of joining a choir - I've even been to a few for auditions - in the past, though I shy away from the commitment of being required to rehearse at a certain time every week throughout the year.

One means of singing without the commitment is karaoke. There seems to be a dearth of good karaoke bars in Belfast nowadays - or anywhere, for all I know. I tried one in University Road last year and didn't like its atmosphere, essentially that of a Student Bar.

Last night, when I could easily have remained glued to the armchair watching the telly, I took a momentous decision to visit a bar whose doors I haven't darkened for twenty years: The Roost. We used to enjoy our Friday lunch at the Roost bar in Church Lane when I worked in the bank; Ozzie (my assistant manager) and I both used to spend an hour there, Ozzie often eating minute steak and chips; while I had scampi and chips.

Last night I parked in Skipper Street and walked across to Church Lane. Muriel's Café Bar was absolutely heaving, with a crowd on the street imbibing and listening to jazzy music. Some revellers appeared to be in fancy dress - you know, a sixties theme or whatever. Intriguing.

Further up the street I came to the Roost bar, which wasn't busy at all. I walked in. The atmosphere was chilly and dark. It hasn't half changed since 1989! The air conditioning units were literally hanging from the ceiling with their piping; so Lord Foster, the architect, would doubtless approve. Foster likes the Inside-Out style, don't you know. Inside this bar it felt like a fridge. The floors were bare wood; and I noticed four or five stuffed deer heads gazing down at me. They didn't miss much. Other than that, it was hard to see much more detail since the room was so subdued. A disc-jockey played loud music.

I approached the bar-counter, asked for an orange-juice - which tasted watery and cost £1.70 - and sat down on a sofa. Perhaps the abundant ice-cubes affected the drink.

Given that a bar advertizes a regular karaoke night why don't they make more of an effort to encourage singers? There were no folders on the tables, providing details of the song-lists and reference numbers; no pencils or pens evident; no pieces of paper for writing down requests. That's the way many karaoke bars do it abroad certainly; but not here. Little wonder nobody sang except the DJ! Perhaps I'm being unfair. I left before ten, when there were about sixteen customers including the staff.

Neither the Roost nor Muriel's have websites, or I'd have provided links to them.

I got home in time to watch Psychoville. Muriel's seemed interesting, though.


Anonymous said...

Muriels is a great place for lunch. You should pop in sometime.

Timothy Belmont said...

I think that's just what I'll do.