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This article by Jamie Saxon was prepared for the March 31, 2004
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Karaoke? Rolling Rock Girls: We Just Wanna Have Fun
It’s amazing what you can find on Google these days. A background check on the Ivy Inn, renowned for its great karaoke nights, reveals a round-up of local watering holes written for the Princeton Spectator, a Princeton University student publication, by John E. Clabby and Robert A. Faber, both Class of 2002. Of the venerable Ivy, loved by town and gown alike, they said: "Perhaps it is not the most swank of the bars on Nassau Street, but but any place with a Jagermeister machine should earn some credit. Ivy Inn purports to be the college bar that Princeton does not have and the lonely picture of Senator Bradley on the west wall is great for toasting."
What the mostly 20-something crowd goes to the Ivy for, though, is Wednesday karaoke night. First of all, who would’ve thunk that karaoke would be cool – ever? And in Princeton? What’s up with that? Well, according to our sources who plan their week around the Ivy’s karaoke night (which now, actually, due to extreme popularity and the special talents of Ron the DJ, is Wednesday and Thursday nights), the Ivy is karaoke central. And it’s best to go with a group of people.
"Karaoke night has been packed for two years," says Rich Ryan (or "the other Rich Rein," as we call him around here), co-owner of the Ivy, which his family has run since 1966 – he’s been there since 1996.
So, like, what’s packed? "We get about 150 people, many of whom come every week," says Ryan. OK, that works. But what’s the attraction of standing up and singing in front of total strangers? "I think it’s the people," says Ryan. "Some people are excellent. Some people stink. Nobody cares. There’s no judging. Everyone’s just there to have fun." Ron spins the tunes, and the words come up on a TV screen. Just sing into the mike.
Gentlemen, you’ll be pleased to learn that the Rolling Rock girls – well, two of them, anyway, are coming to the Ivy on Thursday, April 1, to help celebrate the last weekend of March Madness. To set the basketball theme, Rolling Rock has donated a Pop a Shot Machine (don’t ask me, I’m a girl – it’s a basketball thing!), and the winner of the Pop a Shot contest, which starts at 10 p.m., gets to take home the machine. The Rolling Rock girls will do what they do best – mingle with the crowd and give away tee shirts, key chains, and hats. Rolling Rock drafts will cost $1.
To coincide with the Masters tournament, the Ivy will host the Ivy Rock Open on Tuesday, April 20, with its own tournament on a golf video game (sign up April 5 through 15). The winner takes home a golf bag, courtesy of Rolling Rock.
Just a warning: If you’re over 30, be aware that management turns the lights way, way up at 1:30 a.m. – that’s how they get people to leave by the 2 a.m. closing. Think the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz: "I’m melting, I’m melting…" – every un-Botoxed wrinkle and unmoisterized bag will be illuminated!
The Ivy Inn, 248 Nassau Street. 609-921-8555.
NEW! Alternative for Singles, 609-750-1910. Romantic house parties; crackling fire, live piano music, refreshments. Ages 30s through 50s. Call now for a reservation.
Among Friends, 609-915-4788. Among the oldest and largest singles groups in the area, for ages 45+. Social get togethers for an evening of relevant discussion, music, dinner. First Friday of every month, the Unitarian Church of Princeton, 50 Cherry Hill Road, 8 to 10 p.m. $10. Contact: Bonnie Williams.
Book and Movie Club, 609-587-7265. Small informal discussion groups, biweekly trips to movies, ages 40+, meetings alternate Fridays, 8 p.m., P.J.’s Pancake House, Nassau Street, Princeton. E-mail: KlassicKorner@aol.com.
Mercer County Single Volunteers, a non-profit with the motto: "Connect by Helping Others." Meetings held first and third Tuesday of each month at the Hamilton Township Library at 7 p.m.
Music and Art Lovers’ Connection, Kimmel Center, Verizon Hall, Philadelphia, 888-348-5544. Singles nights start with a buffet at Toto’s followed by a concert of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Professional and Business Singles Network, 800-537-3859. A 30,000-member organization that hosts nearly 50 activities per month at locations between Philadelphia and Central Jersey. House parties, dances, seminars, barbecues. Median age is late 40s; 60 percent are women. Newcomers welcome. Events hotline: 800-537-3859. Contact: Ralph Israel, 888-348-5544. For a schedule of events, visit www.pbsninfo.com. One-year membership, $65. Upcoming event: Friday, April 2, dance social, La Villa Ristorante, in the ballroom, 2275 Kuser Road, Hamilton.
Rhythm and Bugs, Hamilton, 609-252-0502. A community-oriented social swing dance held on frequent Fridays in central New Jersey. No partner necessary; 40-50 participants, most of them single. All dances are held at St. Matthias Episcopal Church, 2200 Genesee Street, Hamilton. $5. Beginner lindy hop lesson 8 to 9 p.m.; dance from 9 p.m. to midnight. www.patmedia.net/rhythmandbugs. Upcoming dates: April 9 and 23; May 7 and 28.
NEW! Single, Separated, Divorced, and Widowed Support Group, 609-588-0790 or 609-586-7678. Meets Monday nights, September through June (Tuesdays, July and August), non-denominational, 7:30 p.m., Draus Room, St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church Community Hall Building, 4680 Nottingham Way, Hamilton. Occasional social activities. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Singles Speak-Up Toastmasters, 908-371-1323. Improve your speaking skills while having fun, meets first and third Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Kingston Presbyterian Church, Route 27, Kingston.
Yardley Singles, 215-736-1288. Activities such as movie and pizza nights in Bucks County. Also on hotline, house parties, dining, biking, and excursions. Upcoming event: Friday, April 2, dance, Yardley Country Club. Www.yardleysingles.org.
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