Whether you've written new music you want to test on an audience or you're looking to see Denver's best up-and-coming talent (and perhaps some of the worst, as well), open-mic nights are for you. Artists including the Lumineers and Ian Cooke have attributed their success to these musical free-for-alls. Here are ten of our favorite open-mic nights and jams, some focused on music and others open to everybody from crooners and comedians to magicians.
2199 California Street
Wednesdays, 9 p.m.
The Mercury Cafe has been a stalwart supporter of Denver musicians — not just by giving them two stages on which to perform, but also by employing a host of local artists as waiters, bartenders and dishwashers.The restaurant's open-mic night begins at 9 p.m. every Wednesday in the Jungle Room, and it's free and open to all types of acts. Be sure to sign up with the host upon arrival. Then enjoy a late-night coffee, a cocktail or a snack while you wait to perform and watch others.
Syntax Physic Opera
554 South Broadway
Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m.
Every Tuesday, Syntax hosts Denver songwriters Rachael Pollard and Anthony Ruptak's open-mic night, which has quickly become a must-attend event frequented by some of the city's best musicians. Sign-up starts at 7:30 p.m., and the open mic begins at 8; there's no cover. Feel free to sing or snag a drink at the bar and enjoy some local talent.
Your Mom’s House
608 East 13th Avenue
Tuesdays, 9 p.m.
On Tuesdays, the Capitol Hill All-Stars host a free open-jam/open-mic night from 9 p.m. until 1:45 a.m. at Your Mom's House. Artists are encouraged to bring their own instruments. This event is 21+.
The Corner Beet
1401 Ogden Street
Thursdays, 6 p.m.
The Corner Beet is abuzz during morning hours; on Thursday evenings, the spot is full of open-mic entertainment. Sign-ups begin at 6 p.m. and the show ends around 10. Enjoy a kava or a chai tea latte during the show.
1215 20th Street
Tuesdays, 7 p.m.
Join Soul Daddy and His Band on the first and third Tuesday of the month for free open-mic nights. Artist sign-up begins at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8.
The Squire Lounge
1800 East Colfax Avenue
Sundays, 10 p.m.
The Starlight Squires' open mic happens every Sunday. The weekly event celebrated its three-year anniversary in August. Sign-ups begin at 9:15 p.m. and performances start at 10. Hosts rotate each Sunday and include Denver musicians Wesley Watkins, Nic Jay, Luke Britton, Emily Cooper and Random Temple.
4923 West 38th Avenue
Sundays, 6 p.m.
Ziggies, established in 1964, is the oldest blues bar in Colorado. The calendar throughout the week is full of live music and open-mic opportunities. Drop in on Sunday for a blues jam, with doors at 6 p.m. and music starting at 7 p.m. For other styles, Acoustic Monday and Groovesday Tuesday offer an open-stage opportunity as well. Ziggies provides a PA system, full drum kit, bass amp, guitar amp and upright grand piano.
2701 Larimer Street
Tuesdays, 9 p.m.
The Lumineers love to wax about how back in the day they got their start playing the Meadowlark's open-mic night. You, too, can hit that stage. Every Tuesday, sign-ups start at 8:30 p.m., performances start at 9 p.m., and each set has a fifteen-minute allotment. This event is 21+; all acts are welcome, and there is no cover.
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Blush & Blu
1526 East Colfax Avenue
Thursdays, 10 p.m.
Every Thursday, there's an open mic and open jam at this queer bar hosted by Little Parker and his band, Slowburn. The show starts at 10 p.m., and there is no cover to attend. Be sure to check out the bar's drink specials while enjoying the music.
Beryl’s Beer Co.
3120 Blake Street
Thursdays, 8 p.m.
Come sip on a beer and enjoy an open mic and open jam hosted by Nic Hammer and Jason Brazzel every Thursday at Beryl's. The show starts at 8 p.m. and ends at 11.
Looking for more live music? Go to Westword's calendar.