Karaoke Crush—Ocean One Bar & Grille

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By: Diane Feen Contributing Writer

There’s a secret in the far reaches of Delray Beach. It’s hidden behind the retail shops that face Atlantic Avenue (in Atlantic Shopping Plaza), but it’s presence looms large among those who have found this culinary treasure.

It’s also the most transcendent. Many other restaurants have come and gone, but this homage to neighborhood niceties with the 1970’s prices, great food and bargain drink prices (three for $10) has made it a favorite of many.

You not only don’t have to break the bank (or cash in a CD) to have a great meal, but every Sunday night is Karaoke Night with Jammin’ Jimmy. When I saw “reserved” signs on all the tables one Sunday afternoon (where lunch costs $4.99) I asked why they were so busy. I was told it was Karaoke Night. So, what’s so special about that, I thought.

A lot.

Just stop in one Sunday after 6 p.m. and you’ll see large tables filled with people of all ages singing, eating and dancing. You’ll also see something else spread around the room like invisible thread – smiles and laughter.

It’s so festive you would think you were at a wedding or Bar Mitzvah, but the best part is you don’t have to bring a gift or have an invite. All are welcome. That’s a lot to say when your days of clubbing have been over for more decades than you want to admit.

“We come here every week. At our age the only sin is to waste one day,” said Barbara Wyman, who ran a senior center in Ft. Lee, New Jersey for 24 years. Wyman had a coveted seat at a large round table near the window with luscious looking chicken wings and her friends nearby.

Though she was dancing up a storm and using her vocal range with Jammin’ Jimmy’s hits, her husband Michael had a more cerebral take on the adult festivities.“This is the most enriching experience without having to be rich. The food is delicious, the menu is varied, and the prices are outrageously low. We ate at an expensive restaurant last night and it paled in comparison to this.”

Michael has a point. Hanging out at Ocean One (for Karaoke, lunch or dinner) is like visiting an old friend. Getting three drinks for the price of one is part of the chatty allure, but so is the informal atmosphere and “come as you are” vibe. It doesn’t break the bank, but it breaks the social barriers with élan.

Starting a conversation with a stranger seems de rigueur and laughter rings from the rafters (which were totally redone after Free House and DIG left the premises). I recently sat next to two retired electricians who work part time and call themselves “Two Old Goats.”

The laughter and lightness of being permeates both the outside patio (where live music is played on Friday and Saturday nights) and the inside. During lunch time there’s often a line out the door with retirees just salivating at the thought of dining inside or al fresco for a mere $4.99. But everyone waited their turn while I tasted and toasted at the bar where there was no wait. Seated next to me were Brenda and Kevin Rainey of Katcha-Ride.

“We come here almost every day. It’s cheaper than grocery shopping or cooking at home. I’ve eaten everything on the menu and we bring food home. I would come here for breakfast if they were open,” said Kevin, who designs colorful and creative open-air vehicles that cruise the streets of Delray picking up passengers.

You can’t underestimate the benefits of fun and friendship these days. And Ocean One seems to have a patent on this ideal. The Karaoke is more fun than a movie (sorry Hollywood) and the dancing, dining and schmoozing can’t be beat at prices that will make you think it’s 1975 (don’t I wish).

You’ll have a spring in your step with Jammin’ Jimmy on Karaoke nights and you’ll have a smile on your face just being part of the Ocean One story that unfolds daily.

Ocean One 777 E. Atlantic Ave, 561 270-7373