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Irvine’s Hottest Club Is Plush Karaoke Bar

Plush is an unassuming place… at first. Unless you look it up in advance, it’s pretty hard to find. It has a shiny sign, sure, but if you don’t know where to look, you might not see it.

Since we were, in fact, already looking for Plush (located right above Tokyo Table in Diamond Jamboree), we took the stairs straight up. We had already called in my waitlist request earlier in the day, specifically asking not to be placed on the waitlist until 10 p.m. (as the rest of our singing squad was showing up at 10:30).

This, it turns out, was a mistake. Diamond Jamboree is probably the most hip and happening place around the UCI campus. While we had assumed it might be difficult to get into Plush, we also expected that the foul weather would keep enough people home to ensure a short wait time.

So, at 10 p.m., with one person in line ahead of us, we climbed the stairs above Tokyo Table and entered Plush. A busy but friendly woman greeted us and gave us a quick briefing on what to expect. Looking around, we began to see that we had made an error in booking such a late time.

What we had failed to account for was that everyone who showed up before 10 p.m. intended to stay a long time past 10 p.m. Oops. There were more people going out that night than we expected. Turns out, the draw of singing badly with your friends can overcome the temptation to shelter yourself from the rain.

There was only one person ahead of us. Good, we thought. We might not have long to wait, crowd notwithstanding.

Twenty minutes later, tired of being in the staff’s way while they rushed to help customers, we started to head down to Tokyo Table to wait. It was then, luckily, that the rest of our squad showed up to endure the wait with us.

(Courtesy of Yelp)

A few of the singers-to-be ordered fancy cocktails (hey, It’s hard to work up the nerve to sing without a little bravery juice), while Ryan and a friend ordered something called “honey toast” topped with green tea ice cream (bravery toast?).

At 11 p.m, some of the squad members began to get a little antsy. To kill even more time, we perused the chilled sake options at H Mart and nabbed a few cost-effective favorites.

We were beginning to wonder if we would ever get our room. How long could people possibly hog a karaoke room for? The now-boozy singers were restless.

At 11:20 p.m., with half the group fully drunk, we were still waiting. I was dead sober, since I was driving, which should have kept me a little more awake, but my sleep schedule tends to be on the early side.

Just as we thought hope was lost, the phone rang. A voice more beautiful than an angels choir asked if we were ready for our room. Yes, we said, definitely. The group cheered, and we jogged to the door.

Before we even began to search for which Fall Out Boy song to ruin, we first took a look at the menu. We had mainly subsisted on Reese’s Pieces and King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls for most of that day, and it was time for some actual nutrition.

We made sure to cover all the major food groups: corn nuggets, french fries, mozzarella sticks and spicy dumplings. We didn’t know the exact reputation of karaoke bar food in general, but the fact that starvation was on the horizon and everyone else was drunk meant that we weren’t  worried about getting through these plates.

Luckily, as it turned out, we would’ve been able to power through them regardless. Everything came pretty quickly considering how busy it was that night, and every item we ordered was hot and ready to go.

The french fries, which were covered in a healthy amount of seasoning, were packed with flavor and made with what seemed like high-quality potatoes. The corn nuggets were also a welcome addition, with a crispy outside and a warm, flavorful inside. They brought their A-game with the mozzarella sticks, too — it’s hard to mess them up, but we could tell they went the extra mile.

Lastly, the spicy wontons did not have to be as good as they were. Don’t get me wrong, we’re very glad they were, but it almost seemed wrong to be shoving them in our mouths while sitting on a couch. The spice made us more alert while not throwing us off or giving us the hiccups, and all the ingredients involved were of the quality we’d expect from an above-average restaurant.

With inadvisable amounts of sodium rushing through our veins, we began flipping through the songbook to make our selections. While we wished there was a book available that organized the options by artist, we had no trouble finding some choice tracks in what we had.

(Courtesy of Yelp)

These weren’t just the classics, either; in fact, we found a large amount of songs that had come out earlier this year from hit artists like Billie Eilish, Post Malone and a myriad of others.

We kicked things off with one of the more modern tracks on the list, SICKO MODE by Travis Scott and Drake. Even though the lyrics were flashing on the screen, we still managed to mess them up. That being said, some pesky lyrics weren’t going to stop us from singing and rapping our hearts out.

From there we took care of the classics: “All Star” by Smash Mouth, “What I’ve Done” by Linkin Park, “Drive” by Incubus, “Feel Good Inc.” by The Gorillaz, and, of course, “Thnks fr th Mmrs (Thanks for the Memories)” by Fall Out Boy, which we all sang in near-perfect unison.

As we all sat together with full hearts, full bellies and torn vocal chords, we knew that this was worth the wait, as arduous as it was. As long as you remember to book your reservations in advance, especially on the weekends, we can’t recommend this place highly enough.

Want more fun things to do in Irvine? Be sure to keep up with us at Irvine Weekly for more coverage on everything happening in town.

Plush, 2710 Alton Parkway, Irvine.