Business

This entertainment business will go into Downtown Boise’s old Urban Outfitters site

A woman sings while her friends join in inside a private suite at Voicebox.
A woman sings while her friends join in inside a private suite at Voicebox. Voicebox

Like to sing? A Portland company plans to open a karaoke lounge in the former Urban Outfitters space in Downtown Boise.

The business, named Voicebox, will open at 328 S. 8th St. in BoDo. That storefront has been closed since Urban Outfitters moved to The Village at Meridian in summer 2017.

Voicebox operates two lounges in Portland and one in Denver. It’s based on the Asian karaoke concept, where guests gather in private suites with their friends to eat, drink and sing.

“The culture of Boise and the music scene growing here is hard to ignore,” Voicebox founder Scott Simon said in a news release that the company’s local public-relations agency, Red Sky, emailed to local media Friday after an Idaho Statesman reporter called Voicebox about its plans. “Boise is a vibrant community that loves a good celebration. We’re certain Voicebox will become central to that tradition, a gathering place embraced and enjoyed by local crowds.”

The lounge, which is expected to open in September, will have 3,100 square feet. The company said it expects to hire about 20 workers.

Storefront 2.jpg
Voicebox, a Portland company, plans to open a karaoke lounge in September in the old Urban Outfitters store location in BoDo. Voicebox

Voicebox will include a restaurant, and food can be eaten in private suites or a public dining area. A bar will have beer, wine and liquor. The selection will include Idaho craft beers and house-infused saké cocktails.

The karaoke suites will include two monitor screens, one for the singer and one for guests to sing along. Music and lighting can be adjusted to guests’ preferences through a smartphone app or through a provided remote control. Online playlists allow guests to select songs before they visit.

Reviews for the three Portland and Denver lounges are favorable. Emily R. of Lake Oswego, a Portland suburb wrote a typical review on Yelp: “Always a blast!” she wrote. “I love that you have your own room and can try whatever song you want!”

Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.

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