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Songbirds take flight Tuesdays at Moonies

Moonies Bar and Nightclub.
Moonies Bar & Nightclub located on State st. has become a popular hangout for college students and locals | Source: Brooke Vogel

In a move to attract more customers during the week, the venue is hosting karaoke night.

In the past few years, bars including Kilpatrick’s Publick House and Hideaway have begun to host weekly karaoke nights. Down the road, K-House Karaoke Lounge and Suites lets guests sing songs in 17 different languages.

Moonies’ owner Shakawat Hossain said that after the pandemic, college students and locals alike have been looking for more nightlife activities. 

“They’re asking me where the fun places in Ithaca are, especially on weekdays,” Hossain said. “That’s why I’m thinking on Tuesdays, I can start karaoke and hopefully that’s something people will enjoy.”

Already the owner of Collegetown bars Hideaway and Level B, Hossain acquired the bar back in 2020. He said that the previous owners saw his success and knew he’d be able to take care of Moonies.

In the wake of the pandemic, Hossain said Downtown Ithaca became quiet. As he reflected on what the Commons looked like during the week, he said, “Tuesdays and Wednesdays have always been slow. But Thursdays used to draw in a lot of people.” 

The Weekdays Versus the Weekends

Although the weekdays are said to be slow, customers flood the dance floor in search of a fun night during the weekend.

Moonies bartender and Ithaca College senior, Lilly Knowlton said that weekends often get to the point where people are crammed shoulder-to-shoulder.

 “It can be really overwhelming at times,” Knowlton said. “I think that people who want the atmosphere of being at a bar without being surrounded by a huge crowd will enjoy karaoke night.”

Knowlton has worked at Moonies since Jul. 2021. Though she only works Friday and Saturday nights this year, she used to bartend on weeknights.

“Tuesdays and Wednesdays have never been busy,” she said. “They did pick up a little bit when we started Wednesday night trivia, but we stopped doing that.”

A split comparison of the bar at Moonies. The top photo shows the bar during the weekend, filled with people. The bottom shows a Tuesday night, with five people sitting at the bar, the room nearly empty.
A comparison of the bar on a weekend (top) versus a weekday (bottom) | Source: @mooniesithaca via Instagram (top) / Brooke Vogel (bottom)

Knowlton explained that while trivia night was a big hit, the two hosts were Ithaca students who graduated this past May, and they couldn’t find anyone to replace them.

A Glimmer of Hope

Knowlton and Hossain have high hopes that karaoke night, hosted by DJ entertainment service Elephant Sound, will take off just like trivia night did. 

“In the last two weeks I’ve seen some locals and IC students there,” Hossain said. “We just started so there aren’t too many people yet, but these things take time.”

Oli, a local artist, has attended two karaoke nights. Although attendance was a bit light, she said, she’s hopeful it will pick up.

“I think once the news starts getting around that Moonies is doing karaoke, especially in the college, there will be more people here,” she said. 

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