Gorilla Cinema to open new Downtown karaoke bar

CINCINNATI -- A new Japanese-themed karaoke bar will open Downtown this winter.

Gorilla Cinema, the company behind the Video Archive and Overlook Lodge bars, announced Tuesday it plans to open Tokyo Kitty at 500 Race St., Downtown, in the 84.51 Building.

"We wanted to push the boundaries of what a bar can be (in Cincinnati)," said Gorilla Cinema owner Jacob Trevino.

Trevino said Tokyo Kitty will have seven private-themed karaoke rooms, with the largest able to accommodate up to 25 people. Individuals and groups will be able to rent the rooms for private parties and gatherings. Rentals will include full wait services and thousands of songs to karaoke to, Trevino added.

"If Willy Nelson is your thing, you can sing his full playlist until your hoarse," he said.

As an added twist, Trevino is employing San Francisco-based Bbot, an automated drink delivery system to assist the bar's wait staff.

"For this bar we wanted to do something revolutionary," Trevino said. "Your server can send a robot to get your drink as you order."

Tokyo Kitty will also have a 75-to-100 person capacity dance floor. A deejay will play top 500 songs and create a more curated-style karaoke experience in the general space, Trevino said.

"The worst part of a traditional karaoke bar is that anyone can do anything," he said. "On the dance floor the deejay will pick a song and pull someone up on stage to sing."

Trevino, a self-ascribed cinephile, said he drew some inspiration for Tokyo Kitty from the 2003 movie "Lost in Translation" starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson as tourist who meet in Japan. In one scene in the movie Murray and Johansson's characters visit a private karaoke room.

Trevino based the Overlook Lodge, which opened in Pleasant Ridge in November 2015, on the horror film "The Shining." Then in October 2016 he opened Video Archive in Walnut Hills, as an ode to "Pulp Fiction" and other films directed by Quentin Tarantino. 

Trevino said what makes Tokyo Kitty different for him is that he reached beyond his love of movies for inspiration when designing the bar.

"All of this is pulled from my youth while growing up in Houston," he said. "It's such a multicultural city. We are really excited to bring this to life here."

Print this article Back to Top