Open mic nights are a big part of the local music scene in London. Playing at open mics is a great way to meet local musicians, get over stage fright, or just enjoy a night out. When researching open mic nights, it can be hard to find an open mic event dedicated just to live-music. Stand up comedians and aspiring comics usually can find stand up comedy open mics to test out their funniest jokes, but musicians may have a harder time. While karaoke nights and jams are quite common in the London scene, recurring live music open mic nights can be tricky to find. We’ve done the research on the best open mic nights in London all about music so that artists don’t accidentally show up to a comedy show!
Many London open mic nights are focused on acoustic acts but there is also space for all genres from rock music to hip-hop. Are you a folk singer ready to perform with a microphone on stage? Maybe you’re a rapper that wants to test out some new rhymes? Or you happen to be a touring musician and want to check out the local scene. Performing at an open mic night is the perfect place to do this. Who knows, you may even be able to book some gigs out of it! Looking to skip the open mic and book a concert straight away? Try contacting booking agents directly through Groover.
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Many of the open mic events in London require artists to book a time slot in advance to play. There are venues and music bars where artists can sign-up when they arrive, but communities like Acoustify and London Unplugged organize multiple shows around the city and require signing up in advance.
Here is our selection of the 15 best places to be heard on the open mic London scene.
1. The Hope & Anchor – Acoustify
Every Monday night, Acoustify hosts an open mic night at The Hope & Anchor in the trendy neighborhood between Brixton and Clapham. This beer garden and pub is a hotspot for young people and a great atmosphere to play in. To play the open mic, send an email to email@example.com to book a time slot in advance. A line up of around ten performers is scheduled every Monday night on a first come first serve basis and the show starts at 7:30pm.
2. Bishops Bar – Acoustify
Acoustify hosts another open mic night on Thursdays at Bishops Bar in Fulham. The same booking process applies for the Thursday open mic session and performers are welcome to play original music as well as cover songs. Sign up to play by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to showcase your talent in this cozy bar and restaurant!
3. Bubblebath Open Mic @ Fiddler’s Elbow
Bubblebath Open Mic is an experimental open mic night held on the first Tuesday of every month at Fiddler’s Elbow in Camden. Performers can email email@example.com ahead of time or sign up starting at 7pm on the night of the show. Performances begin at 7:30pm and each artist has 8 minutes on stage or can play 2 songs. This is a great place to meet other musicians in the area and see a diverse range of performances. In addition to welcoming musicians and singers, Bubblebath is also open to poets, comedy acts, and more.
Suburbia is an eclectic nightclub and music venue that hosts the Plug and Play Open Mic Night every Wednesday. Sign-up starts at 7:30pm in person and runs on a first come first served basis. There is a full backline on stage and all genres of music are welcome. The open mic at Suburbia also offers a jam session where local artists come out and showcase their talents together.
5. Craft Beer Co. Limehouse
Every Thursday, Craft Beer Co Limehouse hosts an open mic night with sign up starting at 7:30pm. All genres and performance styles are welcome as well as singers who want to sing with a backing track. This spot showcases all talents in a cozy tavern setting with tasty beers on tap. Performers even get a free drink!
6. Babel Art House
The Babel Open Mic is every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month and welcomes singer-songwriters, spoken word artists, and other performers to take the stage. The event runs from 7pm-10pm and you can book slots to perform through Eventbrite. There is an in house piano and great sound system and all music genres are welcome.
7. Ram Jam Records
Located at the back of The Grey Horse Pub in Kingston is Ram Jam Records: the former spot of the Ram Jam Club where Jimi Hendrix used to play. Every Wednesday night, artists are invited to play 1 to 3 songs during their open mic. They provide guitar and bass amps, a piano, and a drum kit. Sign-up is at 5:30pm and the performances start at 6pm.
8. Powerplant Camden
Every Thursday night from 8pm to 11pm is the Powerplant Open Mic night in Camden Town. Located in a vegan restaurant at Selina Camden, this is a unique hotspot where you can enjoy live music and 100% plant based cuisine. Original and cover songs are welcome and there are microphones, a house guitar and PA at venue. Be sure to check out their jazz dinner every Wednesday at 8pm and their DJ in residency every Friday and Saturday night.
9. The Harringay Arms
The Harringay Arms Pub in Crouch End hosts a music-only open mic on Wednesdays at 7:30pm. Musicians can pre-book a slot by emailing E-O-M@outlook.com or by just showing up early. In addition to the open mic night and weekly concerts, they also host drag shows and pub quiz nights. They often book solo singer-songwriters for weekly gigs so you could potentially book a show here!
10. The George IV – London Unplugged
Every Wednesday night, an open mic night is hosted by London Unplugged at The George IV in Chiswick. To play, you have to sign up in advance on the London Unplugged website. They open booking requests two-weeks ahead of each show, so make sure to sign up fast! What sets this open mic apart from the rest is that each performer gets to play a longer set of four songs rather than just one. Only solo performers, duos, or trios are allowed to perform acoustic music at this open mic. They also offer professional photo and video services for a small fee if you want to record your set!
11. The Distillers – London Unplugged
London Unplugged hosts another open mic every Thursday night at The Distillers in Hammersmith. The same rules apply for signing up in advance to play but The Distillers is a livelier atmosphere. If you’re looking to play a short set and even record a live session, these two open mics are the best place to do so. The event starts at 7:30pm and performers take the stage at 8pm.
12. Hercules Pillars – UK Open Mic
UK Open Mic hosts a handful of open mic nights throughout London and one of them is at Hercules Pillars in Covent Garden on Saturday nights. Sign-up starts at 7pm but you can RSVP ahead of time through their eventbrite page. Artists have up to 10 minutes on stage to perform but are welcome to play just one song if they prefer.
13. Anchor Bankside – UK Open Mic
On Tuesdays, UK Open Mic welcomes new talents to the microphone at Anchor Bankside in London Bridge. Booking your time slot in advance is highly recommended. The UK Open Mic nights are a warm and welcoming environment for artists to play and meet other musicians. If you enjoy playing at Hercules Pillars and Anchor Bankside, check out their website to see the rest of their open mic London events!
The open mic London scene is full of opportunities for emerging artists
14. The Castle Inn
Every Thursday from 8pm until midnight, Laurence Jepson hosts an open mic night at The Castle Inn in Ealing. All types of performances are welcome but there is a focus on live music and a full band jam session. No sign up is necessary, just show up early to make sure you get some time on stage!
15. The Camden Eye
The Camden Eye, located in the heart of Camden Town, hosts an open mic night every Thursday at 7:30pm. After the open mic, there is a music showcase followed by a jam session and a DJ to keep the party going until 1am. You can sign up when you arrive or sign up in advance by texting the host, Tom, at +44 7840 374 202.
Playing open mics or even just attending them is a great way to hear local live music. Ready to learn more about the live music scene in the UK? Here are our favorite small music venues you should be playing at. After you’ve conquered the open mic London scene, check out the ten best places to be heard in New York City, where the coffeehouse open mic has a long history.