Our 10 favorite open-mic nights on the Main Line.
Think you’ve got what it takes to become the next best thing? Then drop the stage fright and let audiences be the judge. And don’t worry, Simon won’t be anywhere in sight. Here’s where to go to get your Kelly Clarkson—or your Sanjaya Malakar—on.
2 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore
7 p.m. Tuesdays
Milkboy’s open-mic night showcases a variety of top-flight talent—so much of it that each act can only perform one song. Café owner Tommy Joyner takes music very seriously—Milkboy has a recording studio down the street—so most musicians know not to sign up if their stuff’s not worthy. If you’re searching for the best up-and-coming local acts, this is a wise stop.
Fennario Coffee & Tobacco
111 N. Church St., West Chester
8 p.m. Wednesdays (competition last Wednesday of the month at 9 p.m.)
Expect quality talent here on most nights—but especially the last Wednesday of the month at the “Tough Act to Follow” competition. This showdown brings the best young talent together for a friendly but competitive face-off.
Big Easy Saloon
128 Paoli Pike, Paoli
7 p.m. Sundays
The relatively new Big Easy Saloon has a full-band setup with keyboards, drums, bass guitar and plug-in for acoustic and electric guitars—all of it ready for any aspiring musician looking to give it a whirl. Watch wannabe rockers jam or head up to the stage yourself and rock until the beads stop flying.
105 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne
8 p.m. Mondays (sign-up 7:30 p.m.)
A hub for local musicians, this storefront bistro is a great place for young musicians to meet more experienced performers. Just make sure you arrive early if you want to perform; the sign-up list fills up fast.
36 W. State St., Media
10 p.m. Thursdays
Staying true to its name, Picasso’s attracts some of Media’s most creative acts. At times, the acoustic-guitar-wielding singer/songwriters and sharp-tongued poets may seem a tad pretentious, but the warm host and yummy food help audiences take everything in stride.
Seven Stones Café
22 S. Plum St., Media
7:30 p.m. last Saturday of the month (sign-up 6:30 p.m.)
This open mic seconds as a dinner-time serenade for the café’s patrons. A wide range of talent— from singer/songwriters, classical musicians and poets to Native American flautists and blind blues guitarists—makes up the musical smorgasbord. Nights usually culminate with an all-inclusive jam session.
2626 County Line Road, Ardmore
10 p.m. Wednesdays
Here’s your chance to let loose. Hosted by Griz and Mike from the local band StillWillis, McGillicuddy’s is the place for young and old alike to let their inner rock star shine. It’s wise to bring your own instrument, but you can use the band’s if you need to. And those who’d rather stay in the audience can still enjoy the free popcorn.
Riddle Ale House
1073 Baltimore Pike, Media
8 p.m. Tuesdays
The Ben Singleton Band sets a blues-rock tone for an evening of rock-your-guts-out fun. This open-mic night welcomes older musicians who crave that fleeting moment on-stage. Amps and drum kits are provided, but you’re welcome to bring your own equipment. Most nights end in full-on jam sessions.
The Rusty Nail
2580 Haverford Road, Ardmore
8:30 p.m. Thursdays
Hosted by Craig Tillman, harmonica player extraordinaire, and supported by openers Blues Mercenaries, this open-mic night encourages musicians of all ages and skill levels to get on-stage and show the world what they’re all about. A great thing about the Nail is how passionate the regulars are about the music—older performers often offer advice to younger ones.
27 N. High St., West Chester
8 p.m. Tuesdays
Upstairs at Sprazzo offers a more relaxed atmosphere for performers. The stage is small, and you have to bring your own equipment, but the scene is mellow and the crowd encouraging. A good place to check out local artists just starting out.
NOTE: All times provided by the venues. Please call to confirm.
More Open-Mic Nights
15 North Café
15 N. Walnut St., West Chester; (610) 436-0287, 15north.com; 10 p.m. Mondays.
America Bar & Grill
499 E. Uwchlan Ave., Chester Springs; (610) 280-0800, americabargrill.com; 9 p.m. Wednesdays.
Bobby Burgers Tavern
600 E. Hector St., Conshohocken; (610) 834-9400; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays.
1339 Pottstown Pike, West Chester; (610) 696-9656, brickettelounge.com; 8 p.m. Mondays.
Burlap and Bean Coffee
204 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square; (484) 427-4547, burlapandbean.com; 7 p.m. Thursdays.
The Coffee Club
214 W. State St., Media; (610) 891-6600, coffeeclubmedia.com; 7 p.m. Fridays (sign-up by 6 p.m.).
109 W. State St., Media; (610) 627-2102, joclyns.com; 9 p.m. Mondays.
John Harvard’s Brew House
629 Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 687-6565, johnharvards.com; 8 p.m. Saturdays.
Five area locations, kildarespub.com; 9 p.m. Mondays..
242 Haverford Ave., Narberth; (610) 667-0510, mcsheas.com; 10 p.m. Thursdays.
Steel City Coffeehouse
203 Bridge St., Phoenixville; (610) 933-4043, steelcitycoffeehouse.com; 7 p.m. Thursdays.