Where to find the local talent

Austin Walker
Staff Writer

Open mic nights in Richmond are mostly open to singers and musicians, however some include slam poetry and comedy. Photo by Mary Clark

Open mic nights are not a new phenomenon. They’ve been around for decades, letting up-and-comers play their newest work to a live audience. They let people watch a returning artist grow and evolve their music. The international superstar Taylor Swift was found during an open mic performance in Tennessee. Here in Richmond, open mic nights take place throughout the week and across the city. To hopefully catch sight of the early work of a soon-to-be-famous artist, try out some of these places, arranged in no particular order.


1) Emilio’s Tapas Bar 1847 W. Broad St.

Fridays and Saturdays 9 p.m. – midnight

Open to a broad range of performers, Emilio’s is a place to go to see some of Richmond’s up-and-comers. Unlike some venues, drum kits are allowed and provided here. This means it might get a little louder, so on Friday and Saturday nights you can expect there to be people on the dance floor. There’s a full inhouse band that backs any per- former that needs an ensemble, so they can still perform for the crowd that often has many VCU students in attendance.

2) Cary Street Cafe 2631 W. Cary St.

Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

This cozy restaurant offers live music daily, and hosts a weekly open mic night with any style of acoustic performers welcome. Their website describes the place as a hippie bar, and you’ll find a wide arrangement of people there. No band provided, but there are various instruments they can hand out to unequipped musicians.

3) The Hippodrome Theater 526 N. 2nd St.

Check their website, hippodromerichmond.com for dates

A bit unlike the rest, this restored theater holds a monthly “RVA Has Talent: Unplugged Open Mic” event. There’s a $5 entry fee for performers who will be scored by a panel of judges, with the winner being announced toward the end of the event at midnight. Attendees can watch from the Hippodrome’s “Speak- easy Lounge,” which serves food and drinks. They ask for business casual attire, no sweats allowed.

Performers can find an open mic almost every night of the week in Richmond. Photo by Mary Clark

4) Cary 100 100 E. Cary St.

Fridays and Saturdays 8 p.m. – midnight

Cary 100 is a small restaurant that has acoustic performers, karaoke singing and poetry readings. On Thursdays, it’s open mic for speakers to present original poetry on stage. Fridays they have their variety music night, with enough space for a few musicians to squeeze on stage and play until midnight.

5) Poe’s Pub 2706 E. Main St.

Tuesdays 9 p.m. – midnight

An Irish pub located on the outskirts of downtown, this place has a weekly open mic with a lot of returning faces. Poe’s Pub has a tendency to attract an older crowd, but new talent makes its way onto the stage pretty frequently and the bar is fully stocked.

6) Good Clear Sound’s Open Mic Shafer Street Playhouse

Every other Monday 7:30 – 9 p.m.

VCU’s own Good Clear Sound slam poetry organization hosts a biweekly open mic event in the Shafer Street Playhouse for slam poetry, stand-up comedy, and acoustic music. Anyone is in- vited to come and show off some of their original work, and the members of Good Clear Sound often take the stage themselves to present some of their work. The next open mic is Monday, March 16.

7) Coalition Theater 8 W. Broad St.

Found through website, rvacomedy.com This improv comedy venue regularly hosts “mixer” events where any group of people, regardless of experience, can sign up to perform any style of act on stage. They take their improv se- riously, but students and newbies are encouraged to act alongside the veterans. These events are typically pay-what-you-can, meaning that any amount of money will get you through the door.

 

 

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