A guy walks into a bar ready to sing some songs in Spanish and Mandarin, and he's greeted by servers dressed as superheroes.
While you might be waiting to hear a punch line, it's actually the basis for a serious business undertaking in New Haven, Conn., by attorney Andrew Lebwohl, a Big Law expatriate who just opened Karaoke Heroes, the state's only full-time karaoke bar.
Opening a bar "is every lawyer's escapist fantasy," said Lebwohl, who spent nearly three years practicing corporate bankruptcy and insurance regulatory law at Dewey & LeBoeuf in New York after graduating from Columbia Law School.
But Lebwohl wasn't acting on a whim. While he enjoyed the bankruptcy work he was handling as a junior associate in 2009, it was a crushing workload.
"I realized that despite all of the things I loved about law, there was more that I wanted to be doing," Lebwohl said last month as he was tying up loose ends a couple of days before Karaoke Heroes' grand opening.
So he left the practice to earn his MBA from Yale and developed his business plan in 2011 as a fellow at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute.
His vision is a bar that blends two of his favorite things -- karaoke and superheroes. Lebwohl, a New York City native, got hooked on karaoke when he was 8 years old singing Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" at a ski lodge in Vermont. He has sung with numerous a capella groups and won the first round of the New York City trials for the National Karaoke Championships last year.
Karaoke Heroes is set up like a traditional karaoke bar in Japan, where this type of nightlife entertainment began. There is a main bar area and stage for singers as well as three soundproofed private rooms where groups can gather.
The bar's decor includes colorful mural artwork from a Marvel Comics artist that Lebwohl commissioned, and all of the servers dress as superheroes wearing capes. A comic book will tell the elaborate story of Karaoke Heroes, based on a superhero who saves a depressed society through singing and performing.