In our December issue last year, we presented a round-up of some of the best KTV outlets in town, including the ‘fancy pants’ option of Le Baron. The Donghu Lu hangout, which is notoriously exclusive (David Beckham partied there during his visit to Shanghai last month), has a series of sleek karaoke rooms above the main bar area where they sling you bottles of Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut for 13,000RMB. But now a new venue is looking to muscle in on the high-rolling (legit) KTV market, and it might be even fancier than Le Baron.
MuseK, which ‘soft opened’ last month at Xintiandi, is every bit as bling as you’d expect from one of China’s best known high-end club franchises. Backed by Suzhou-born Mandopop star and actress Carina Lau, the Muse brand has become synonymous with the ‘Number One DJ’/dice-rattling and whiskey end of the Chinese clubbing spectrum, but this new outlet marks their first venture into KTV in Shanghai.
And they’re not doing things by halves. Their 23 rooms feature monochrome decor, leather sofas and personal bartenders; the larger spaces have pool tables, floor-to ceiling windows that look out onto the surrounding streets, en suite bathrooms and dining tables (food is sourced from HK restaurant Molokai next door). One room features a Yamaha piano and Swarovski paintings on the walls; another has a large balcony nestled among the roofs of Xintiandi.
Renting one of these rooms is basically like having a house party in a swish serviced apartment. But what really tips MuseK into outlandish territory is room M13. Approaching this room, the minimalist black corridors of MuseK are suddenly adorned with neon coloured lighting, reflective surfaces and a touch pad that opens a sliding metallic door that seems straight off the set of Star Trek.
Behind the door, MuseK goes into hyperdrive. The sleek black space with customisable lighting compounds the sci-fi theme with a decor that looks like a tuhao version of Tron. Huge screens (including one which takes over the far wall and one embedded in the floor) flank a central area of sofas, tables and, of course, a stage and mic stand.
Touch screens embedded in the arms of the sofas allow you to scroll through a broad selection of pop songs as you recline and enable a feature that rates the singing ability of those on the mic, a la SingStar. By the time the complex ‘grand opens’ in the summer, they’re hoping to have installed cameras so that you can make your own music video. You can also choose from nearly 100 different graphic modes for your backdrop and personalise the screens, for example with a birthday message (for a small fee).
If you get tired of the KTV, M13 also features a separate DJ booth, meaning that you can turn it into what the PR dubs ‘your own mini club’. The investment in this room alone stretches to several million RMB, she tells us.
Flicking through a game of Truth or Dare on one of the touch screen tables, we ask a coded question about clientele, given that some high-end ‘KTV bars’ often have less than salubrious connotations. ‘We don’t have any KTV girls,’ is the swift reply. ‘Ladies can feel comfortable coming here. We may even open it up for family events and kids parties in the day once we’re fully operational.’
Nevertheless, a night in M13 doesn’t come cheap – we’re not in K-Party anymore, Toto. During soft opening, there’s a minimum spend of 20,000RMB (Sun-Thu) or 30,000RMB (Fri-Sat) for M13, plus an extra 800-1,000RMB if you want to hire a DJ.
The other rooms start from a minimum spend of 3,000RMB on weekdays. You can knock that out in one go with a package of three bottles of Belvedere vodka, nine cans of Red Bull, 12 mixed shots and a fruit plate for 3,080RMB, or three bottles of the 1,080RMB Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut. Time to practice that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
MuseK is at Third floor, Building 6, South block, Xintiandi, 123 Xingye Lu, near Madang Lu, Huangpu district.