Sing for salvation at Lost Souls, the hellishly fun new karaoke spot from the Netherworld team
Sing for salvation at Lost Souls, the hellishly fun new karaoke spot from the Netherworld team

Sing for salvation at Lost Souls, the hellishly fun new karaoke spot from the Netherworld team

The Netherworld crew is opening a karaoke joint. That sentence, in and of itself, is likely enough to get a good percentage of Brisbane’s bar hoppers hyped. But, like everything the team behind Brisbane’s fiercely cherished arcade bar and diner does, the fun is all in the details. This weekend the team will pull back the curtain on Lost Souls, a purgatory-themed karaoke bar where guests will belt out an assortment of jams surrounded by monsters, demons and other wayward spirits. Here’s what we know …

If you visited the home of Netherworld co-owner Benjamin Nichols right now, you’d be greeted by giant hand-carved eyeball irises, fibreglass monster sculptures and an abundance of stalactites. You’d be forgiven for assuming the publican was in the midst of some kind of nightmare-addled reno but, in reality, Ben’s abode has been doubling as the construction site and staging area for Lost Souls – the brand-new karaoke bar the Netherworld team is mere days away from opening to the public.

Ben, alongside Netherworld brains trust of Beck McKinney, Jimmy Nails and Cara Westworth, are at the pointy end of an extensive DIY fit-out process that has seen another portion of the old Shamrock Hotel (more recently known as the Step Inn) converted into a karaoke-centric sibling to the team’s treasured trove of gaming relics, craft beer and plant-based eats. “We had the opportunity to add another area and we didn’t just want to just do more of Netherworld,” says Ben. “We felt that Netherworld works as it is, so we just wanted to do something that complemented it.”

As anyone that frequents Netherworld knows, the team doesn’t do things by halves. The team is extending the same playfully profane inspirations that form the foundational mortar of Netherworld into Lost Souls, which will be unlike any karaoke bar you’ve visited. “It’s hard to describe to people what it’s actually going to be,” says Ben. “I haven’t really seen anything that’s quite like it before, but the short sort of description is extremely themed karaoke.”

Themed is putting it lightly. Lost Souls will be a full-blown trip into the underworld, with five private rooms (two big enough to accommodate eight guests and another three spacious rooms for upwards of 20) given a different, but equally otherworldly aesthetic. “Each individual room has a very, very, very specific theme,” Ben explains. “We’ve likened it to a video game boss battle. When you enter Lost Souls (via a separate street entry), you’re entering a purgatory-like area. You check in with the counter and you, as a newly deceased soul, will be shown your own private purgatory. Each purgatory will be a room commanded by a giant monster – it’s the main thing that ties the room together – and that’s where you sing karaoke. We’re using the phrase ‘Sing for your soul’ a lot.”

Overseeing the design of Lost Souls’ hellish realms is Nelson Gibbins, an artist that has played a key role in forming Netherworld’s distinct visual and branding identity. “He’s very much spiritually in line with us,” says Ben. “He loves monsters and cartoon illustrations, and has done the majority of our poster illustrations and a lot of the merch and gives life to the graphic part of Netherworld.” In addition to plenty of 2D art on the walls, Lost Souls will boast loads of fibreglass decorations and props – all of which the team has sculpted and installed itself – giving each room an incredible level of detail akin to elaborate stage design and B-grade horror movie sets. “We’re just trying to make this visually as tight a venue as possible,” Ben adds.

As for the karaoke itself, Lost Souls has partnered with Singa to curate the playlist, which we hear is incredibly diverse. “I’ve been doing some heavy duty testing lately,” says Ben, who’s been putting the call out for song requests. “We’re getting a good 96-percent hit rate. You’d be pretty hard pressed to not find what you’re after.” If you’ve only got one or two songs in your repertoire, don’t stress – these rooms aren’t exclusively for karaoke. “It’ll be primarily karaoke focused, but we will be opening the rooms up to other things as well,” Ben reveals. “For example, if people wanted to do an hour of karaoke and they wanted to spend an hour playing Mario Kart, they absolutely can.”

The venue itself will be equipped with its own eight-tap bar dispensing a concise edit of Netherworld’s full tap list as well as an extensive cocktail set up. You’ll be able to order drinks to your room, so you’ll never need to cut your performance short if you’re feeling parched. While Lost Souls isn’t furnished with its own kitchen, Netherworld’s Hellmouth Diner is just next door for pre- and post- sing-along snacks. Though certainly ambitious in both theme and design, Lost Souls will be just as welcoming as its sibling. “You don’t need to be hardcore into video games or vegan food to come and be part of Netherworld,” says Ben. “Here it’s the same. Everybody is welcome – please just come and be part of the chaos.”

Lost Souls Karaoke is opening this weekend. Bookings will be launching in the next few days – keep one eye on the Lost Souls Instagram page for official announcements. 

The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.


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