Top 11 Open-Mic Nights to Check Out in St. Louis
A historic hub for diverse musical styles and sounds, the city of St. Louis has cherished the art of live music and performance for years. The 11 bars, restaurants, and coffee shops below have dedicated a time for local singers, musicians, poets and artists to celebrate their talents.
1. Venice Cafe
Every Monday night since 1988, musical artists of every genre trickle into the wildly eccentric Venice Café and add their names to the open mic sign-up list. The mosaic-covered bar first opened as a coffee shop 30 years ago and has been a staple of St. Louis’ history and unique culture ever since.
2. Gaslight Lounge
Tucked onto Shaw Avenue on The Hill, Gaslight Lounge is a bar and music studio that focuses on high quality, live recordings. Cha Cha Chow, the Latin American-inspired food truck and restaurant works in junction with the lounge, providing authentic tacos, pupusas and burgers to its guests. Every Sunday night, acoustic performers arrive at 6:30 p.m. to add their names to the list and play until 10 p.m.
3. Hartford Coffee Company
Located in Tower Grove South, on its namesake street, Hartford Coffee Company air roasts their coffee and bake their pastries on-site, giving off a cozy smell every morning. On Friday nights at 7:30 p.m., musicians and poets kick off the weekend by gathering at their neighborhood coffee shop to enjoy each others’ music and art.
4. Irish Corner Pub
Irish Corner Pub, a local Irish alehouse with a simple bar and classic comfort food sits on the corner of Cherokee Street and Lemp Avenue. Complete with a backyard patio, the bar feels like an extension of your own home. The pub hosts an open mic on Wednesday nights from 9 p.m.-12 a.m.
5. Lyrical Therapy
A platform for poets, rappers, comedians, storytellers, and musicians alike, Lyrical Therapy takes place at URB Arts or KDHX every Sunday at 7 p.m. Run by The Therapeutics, a local group of spoken word performers, the show is sure to uplift and inspire its audience. Often complimented by guitars or a brass section, these events are unlike any other in the city.
6. Broadway Oyster Bar
Built in the 1840s, Broadway Oyster Bar is an essential part of St. Louis’ history. For over 30 years, the bar has hosted a Monday night blues jam with performers ranging from up and coming musicians to seasoned touring artists. The establishment is covered in funky paintings, lights and decorations and serves some of the best Cajun and Creole dishes in town.
7. BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups
Originally known as Phil’s Hotel in 1969, BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups is a historic building that sits on South Broadway in Downtown St. Louis. On any given night, the bar is filled with jazz and blues musicians playing onstage to a crowd of adoring locals. Occasionally it hosts a “Rock Free Jam” open to musicians, duets, individual artists and comics alike; check its calendar for upcoming dates.
8. Heavy Anchor
A divey staple in the Bevo neighborhood, the no-nonsense bar provides budget-friendly drinks and live performances most nights of the week. To lighten up the first day of the work week, Heavy Anchor hosts hosts a Comedy Shipwreck open mic on Mondays from 10 p.m.-12 a.m.
9. Highway 61 Roadhouse & Kitchen
The “The Blues Highway” refers to the stretch of Highway 61 between St. Louis and New Orleans and the blend of jazz and blues exchanged on the way. The bar and restaurant embodies this cultural correspondence, serving traditional Southern and Cajun Creole cuisine. Highway 61 Roadhouse & Kitchen hosts a jam session on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m.
10. Joanie’s Pizzeria
A champion of the classic American pizza and beer combination, Joanie’s Pizzeria in Soulard serves up delicious pies in a cozy environment. Complete with a sprawling backyard patio, the bar and restaurant is perfect for family. On Thursday nights, Wes Adams hosts an open mic from 9 p.m.-1 a.m., complete with a late-night happy hour.
11. 1860 Saloon
A staple in historic Soulard, 1860 Saloon, Game Room, & Hardshell Café has live music every night of the week. An eclectic saloon with wood flooring, tropical plants and a fish tank, the bar and restaurant serves cheap beer and cocktails along with Cajun-style food. Timmy Perry hosts an open mic on Thursdays from 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
Featured image courtesy of Bogomil Mihaylov. Photo within post courtesy of Mohammad Metri.