Leave the shame at your table and take the tune out of your pocket, it’s time for karaoke on Catalina Island. Karaoke is your only chance at stardom, or, if you’re like me and completely bomb it on stage, it’s your only chance to at least pretend to be a star for five minutes of your vacation. There’s only one place in Avalon to get an experience like that, and it’s at El Galleon restaurant on the Crescent Avenue boardwalk. I still remember walking by the New Orleans themed restaurant after dark as a teenager, just waiting for the day I could be old enough to be a part of that fun-loving crowd. Now that I finally visited at a legal age, I know it was certainly worth the wait. The food is tasty, the atmosphere is lively, and the drinks provide the liquid courage necessary for those folks to get up and show ‘em what their mama gave ‘em (or in some cases, didn’t).
El Galleon was Catalina’s premiere karaoke bar in 1967, and still remains the only attraction to get your groove on to the rhythm of, or lack there of, visitors, islanders, and the rare celebrity appearance. For many adult visitors over the age of twenty-one, Catalina Island offers an experience to let loose on a hot summer night. This experience includes daytime shenanigans and more often than not, a night out of sloshed rowdiness. The great thing about karaoke on a fun night out, there is no judgment, there is no shame, and there is no promise of musical tone. But who cares about tone in a karaoke bar anyway? No matter how wild that brave soul gets while up on the El Gallon stage, the happy customers and friendly staff will always encourage you to hit that high note, sway those hips a little more, and cheer you on no matter what happens.
At El Galleon, it is all about providing good food and good times, the rest relies on the attitude of the performer. Confidence radiates passed the outdoor patio and onto the boardwalk, where by-passers even catch a slight pep in their step hearing old throwback tunes like Johnny Cash’s “Cocaine Blues”, Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me”, or who can forget the classic Grease duet to “Summer Nights”. You keep trying to hit that end of the song high note, I mean John Travolta could hardly even get it right. If you haven’t been on stage at El Galleon, I suggest you get some of that courage in you and try it, and if you still don’t have the willpower to bring yourself up there, definitely stay at the bar and cheer on those who do.