Bristol Open Mic Nights — The Top 10
Few cities in the UK rival Bristol for its open mic nights. The birthplace of respected artists like Portishead and Massive Attack, Bristol has an incredibly varied and vast music scene. From the world-famous jazz-oriented The Old Duke with its rich history, to more modern hidden gems like The LeftBank Bar, there’s a great selection of bars and pubs for open mic nights that you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Best Open Mic Nights in Bristol
Planning a show-stopping performance or looking to catch some future superstars on stage in Bristol? You’re in the right place. Find the best open mic venues below, in no particular order:
#1 The Old Duke: Eddie Martin’s Bristol Open Mic Night
One of the most venerable music venues in Bristol, The Old Duke is a well-known and well-loved jazz & blues bar in the heart of the city.
Named after Duke Ellington, this spot has become famous for its nightly live music. Their well-worn stage has provided a worthy space for both new and experienced performers to show off their music skills.
The evening begins with blues superstar Eddie Martin performing a set to warm the audience up. The mic is then handed over to anyone who’d like to impress the crowd. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds (although Eddie is a tough act to follow). All types of performers are welcome and it’s a very inclusive and friendly night.
|Venue location:||The Old Duke – 45 King Street, Bristol, BS1 4ER|
|Phone number:||0117 401 9661|
|Open Mic Night:||Tuesdays from 9pm|
|Want to perform?||Just show up on the night and have a word with the host|
#2 The Oxford: The Famous Open Mic
On the south side of the river, The Oxford has gained a reputation as a great venue for live music, with their open mic night being a highlight of the week for musicians in the area.
Hosted by familiar face Graeme Moncrieff, they’ve got everything you need to perform; a full PA with stage monitors, stage lighting, house guitar, plenty of mics, and a very supportive audience.
The words ‘Time flies when you’re having rum’ is written on a skull and crossbones sign above the busy bar, there’s a motley crew of colourful character and a lively atmosphere.
Slots are 3 songs long, and all are welcome to perform.
|Venue location:||The Oxford – 22 Oxford St, Bristol BS3 4RL|
|Phone number:||0117 907 5845|
|Open Mic Night:||Every Thursday from 8pm and Sunday from 4pm|
|Want to perform?||Arrive early to get on the list, this one gets busy|
#3 The Rope Walk: Open Mic Bristol
The Rope Walk bar is beautiful bar and restaurant, with flowers and candles on all the tables and an array of artwork and graffiti on the walls (the landlady Annie is well-known on the street art scene and she’s created a very unique space).
Welcoming all musicians—from solo performers to bands—for their weekly open mic night, there’s an in-house guitar, bass guitar and a gorgeous baby grand piano all available for use. Drums and backline can be requested in advance.
The host is James Dixon and they offer 15 minutes per performer. Instruments provided include guitars, bass, drums, keyboard. There’s also a baby grand piano that’s used for piano and vocal solo or duo acts.
There’s always a chilled out vibe perfect for the less experienced musician, and at the end of the night there’s a live jam to wrap things up.
|Venue location:||The Rope Walk – 5 Nelson Parade, Bristol, BS3 4JA|
|Phone number:||0117 963 5124|
|Open Mic Night:||Thursdays from 8:30pm|
|Want to perform?||Sign up with the host on the night|
What should performers expect from a jam night?
#4 The Golden Lion: Open Mic Night in Bristol
Immensely popular, The Golden Lion has established itself as one of the key music venues in Bristol, with live music on offer six days of the week (a DJ plays on Sunday).
Featuring host Jim Davies of The Rin Tins, performers of all levels are invited to step up to the mic. They encourage acts to “Just get up and show us what you’ve got”, from singers, poets and comedians—all are welcome.
Full kit set up including an acoustic and bass guitar, a keyboard, drums, and congas. Jamming is encouraged and these nights are a guaranteed good time.
|Venue location:||The Golden Lion – 244 Gloucester Road, Bristol, BS7 8NZ|
|Phone number:||0117 924 6449|
|Open Mic Night:||Every Wednesday from 9pm|
|Want to perform?||All abilities are welcome|
#5 The Bristol Fringe: Jelli Records Open Mic
The Fringe is a unique music, arts and entertainment venue in Clifton with something on offer seven days a week.
This quirky and soulful little bar hosts regular jazz nights and music gigs, and their open mic is not to be missed.
Steve Parkhouse is the night’s host, and the normal stage, lighting and PA are provided, along with very generous and attentive spectators, “the audience does listen and you are not just background noise”.
Performers are encouraged to bring CDs and any other promotional material. The last Tuesday of the month is a songwriter’s showcase for invited musicians.
For a bit of a change from the usual free pint, they offer free food for all performers courtesy of Lucie’s Creperie.
|Venue location:||Bristol Fringe – 32 Princess Victoria Street, Bristol, BS8 4BZ|
|Phone number:||0117 330 0900|
|Open Mic Night:||Every Tuesday from 8:30pm|
|Want to perform?||Get there a bit early and let them know|
#6 Grain Barge: Bristol Open Mic Night
Possibly the only open mic night on a boat! Climb on board this converted Bristol barge and discover one of the city’s best-loved gems.
Relaxed and friendly, this unique venue hosts a selection of live music in its intimate Hold Bar, with a weekly open mic night held ‘below deck’.
Hosted by musician Mike Dennis; whether you’re a songwriter, poet or musician, everyone is welcome.
They attract a very mixed crowd and some fantastic regular performers. They are always hospitable to newcomers.
This is a great opportunity to meet some of the best players in the city. 15 minute sets and the standard free beer for performers.
|Venue location:||Grain Barge – Mardyke Wharf, Hotwell Road, Bristol, BS8 4RU|
|Phone number:||0117 929 9347|
|Open Mic Night:||Every Tuesday from 8pm|
|Want to perform?||You can sign up from 7pm|
Thinking of attending your first open mic night? Here’s what to expect:
#7 LeftBank Bar: Open Mic Night
The LeftBank, a bohemian bar on Stokes Croft with a passion for all things alternative, attracts all the cool kids in Bristol with a wide array of music; funk, reggae, jazz, blues and beyond.
Running for over ten years, their open mic sees singers, songwriters, instrumentalists, poets, and even dancers take to the stage.
Hosted by Oliver James Dennison and Tom Egan alternately, house guitars and bass are provided. They encourage performers to bring their own instruments if possible.
A great place to try an open mic if you’re new or nervous, plus the regular free drink offer for all acts if you need to settle any nerves.
|Venue location:||LeftBank Bar – 128 Cheltenham Rd, Bristol, BS6 5RW|
|Phone number:||07746 720354|
|Open Mic Night:||Wednesdays from 8pm|
|Want to perform?||Sign up from 8pm at the bar|
#8 The Kingsdown Vaults: Open Mic at the KDV
The Kingsdown Vaults (sister pub to The Golden Lion) has been at the heart of Bristol’s music scene, hosting countless live acts and events through the years.
Their music policy is wholesome with a focus on folk, Americana, country and blues. Their weekly open mic night has been a central part of the KDV’s events programme for years.
Hosted by the fantastic Ben Hopkin (Beyond Rivers) and sometimes Lewis Creaven, they attract some truly superb talent. Several popular singers are said to have performed here before they made it big.
You never know where an open mic night can take you.
|Venue location:||The Kingsdown Vaults – 31 Kingsdown Parade, Bristol, BS6 5UE|
|Phone number:||0117 942 4353|
|Open Mic Night:||Thursdays from 8:30pm|
|Want to perform?||Don’t be shy, let the host know and get involved|
Ever considered hosting your own open mic night?
#9 The Gallimaufry: Open Mic Night
An independent Bar, Restaurant and live music/arts venue, the Galli is a bastion of great free live music in Bristol. There’s a generous blend of Folk, Jazz, Boogaloo, Blues & Alternative sounds on tap.
George Ezra has popped up through the years for a long-running residency here and considers the pub a second home. Check him out performing here:
The open mic stage is open to all, Mike Dennis hosts, and they are always scouting for talented acts to book. This could be your shot at a paying gig.
|Venue location:||The Gallimaufry – 26/28 The Promenade, Gloucester Rd, Bristol, BS7 8AL|
|Phone number:||0117 942 7319|
|Open Mic Night:||Mondays from 8pm|
|Want to perform?||8pm sign up, if you fancy getting stuck in|
#10 Stag & Hounds: Open Mic Night
Found in Old Market, the Stag & Hounds has a great reputation for supporting local musicians and for hosting events.
Vilius Šmigelskas is the main host of their weekly open mic, with a few Stag & Hounds “veterans” helping with the sound and the setup.
They have few amps suitable for bass & electric guitars, mics and all performers can use house guitars (electric & acoustic). They do have a drum kit as well, but it needs to be booked in advance. Depending on how busy it is, they usually run the open mic on the second floor.
They get lots of rock and funk music lovers, as well as rappers and country/rock artists. Also some punk & ska musicians. They see a lot of really talented performers and they also get local bands that visit on a regular basis.
It’s very friendly and welcoming, with around 15-20 people on average performing. A newer night, it‘s mostly a quiet, chilled out atmosphere, so perfect for singers looking to gain confidence and BIMM students.
|Venue location:||Stag & Hounds – 74 Old Market St, Bristol, BS2 0EJ|
|Open Mic Night:||Every Monday from 8pm|
|Want to perform?||Check their Facebook group for details|
Bonus Open Mic Nights in Bristol
Hall and Woodhouse Portishead: Open Mic Night
Hall & Woodhouse Portishead is a unique venue that has to be seen to be believed. Constructed out of 28 shipping containers the building has won CAMRA’s prestigious pub design award. It’s situated right on Portishead Marina with some really nice views of the water.
Their open mic is a newer night hosted by musician Matt Reynolds. They have a large PA and all mics, stands and cables that you’d normally expect. There are no house instruments as of yet, but Matt is usually happy to lend his guitar to acts who turn up without one.
Singers perform at the back of the venue; there’s a nice big bookcase behind the stage area which gives it a nice quirky look.
So far they’ve had a really high calibre of performer – lots of regulars from the Bristol scene playing a mix of originals and covers, from instrumental Irish folk to a duo doing rap.
It’s a large pub and the only one in the immediate vicinity so it can get fairly busy and quite loud, it’s not a quiet sit and listen kind of place. The clientele are very friendly though and love to sing along to songs they know.
There is a free drink for every performer and cheap cocktails, so no excuses not to get involved.
|Venue location:||Hall and Woodhouse – 59 Newfoundland Way, Portishead, BS20 7FP|
|Phone number:||01275 848685|
|Open Mic Night:||Every Thursday from 7.30pm|
|Want to perform?||Just let them know on the night|
The Bishops Tav: Open Mic Night
Their open mic night has been running for a couple years and is currently hosted by musician Amy From the Woods. A guitar is available to use with capo and picks, regular PA set up, and two house microphones.
The night is quite chilled with local people drinking as well as strangers from the street, and there’s a warm, comfortable atmosphere.
Performers can play for as long or as little as they feel comfortable, depending on how busy the night is.
They welcome a variety of performers and see many guitars players, but everyone is welcome to get involved.
Great for new musicians looking to widen their confidence, as well as performers more used to the scene.
|Venue location:||The Bishops Tav – 225-229 Cheltenham Rd, Bristol, BS6 5QP|
|Open Mic Night:||Sundays from 8pm|
|Want to perform?||All are welcome to play, sing, speak and share|
Bristol’s Monthly Open Mic Nights
The Three Tuns: Open Mic Night
One of the oldest pubs in Bristol, The Three Tuns has entertainment and mucsic on offer throughout the week.
Hosted by Graeme Moncrieff—who also runs the open mics at The Oxford—their popular monthly open mic has been running for 4 years.
There is an excellent sounding PA with stage monitor, house guitar and 2 mics (more can be supplied if previously arranged). It’s held in the main area of the pub; if you walk in the door and the bar is in front of you, the open mic will be to your right.
There’s no stage as such, the performances happen in an area by the windows at the front of the pub.
The night is usually quite busy, but it’s a very chilled out, relaxed and quite intimate feel. The audience are attentive and supportive. There’s usually plenty of performers, mainly musicians but also poetry and comedy.
Everyone is welcome and there’s a free drink for every performer.
|Venue location:||The Three Tuns – 78 St George’s Road, Bristol, BS1 5UR|
|Phone number:||0117 329 4310|
|Open Mic Night:||First Tuesday of the month from 8pm|
|Want to perform?||Please arrive by 7:45 for sign up, or contact Graeme to reserve your slot|
Grounded Horfield: Open Mic Night
This friendly cafe-bar has a lovely, relaxed vibe and attracts a really mixed crowd. All musical styles welcome, they provide amplification equipment and those who give it a go will get a free drink. No need to book a slot, just turn up on the night!
Whether you sing, dance, talk, or rap, there’s room for you. Hosted by Harry Harding.
|Venue location:||Grounded Horfield – 421-425 Gloucester Road, Horfield Bristol, BS7 8TZ|
|Phone number:||0117 951 1505|
|Open Mic Night:||Third Wednesday of the month from 8pm|
|Want to perform?||No need to book a slot, just turn up on the night|
The Star, Fishponds: Female Singers
The Star is a popular community pub which serves four changing beers, all from small local breweries. They have a varied and eclectic range of regular live music on offer in a ‘no frills’ setting.
Their open mic is hosted by Ben Harrison and the evening has been running since 2017. Open to all female singers and musicians. The nights are very inclusive and there’s a lovely welcoming vibe.
There’s a PA and a few vocal mics on hand. Ben’s guitar is available for guitarists if he’s not accompanying.
Start time is 5pm, there’s a warmup and social opportunity beforehand. Ben is usually there an hour before to practice song requests.
|Venue location:||The Star, Fishponds – 539 Fishponds Road, Bristol, BS16 3AF|
|Phone number:||0117 965 4685|
|Open Mic Night:||Monthly Sundays from 5pm|
|Want to perform?||Check their Facebook page or email Ben.|
The Cross Hands: Open Mic Night
This open mic is hosted by musicians Deborah Williams and Neil Hoskins and has been running for over five years. A chilled out monthly night ideal for budding songbirds and experienced pros alike.
Many talented Bristol musicians have appeared here since it started, including The Busk, Tom Terrell and more.
They provide a PA system and all styles are welcome, plus they hire the best acts to perform at their annual Cider Festival.
|Venue location:||The Cross Hands – 1 Staple Hill Road, Fishponds Bristol, BS16 5AA|
|Phone number:||0117 965 7759|
|Open Mic Night:||The first Wednesday of every month starting at 8pm|
|Want to perform?||You can sign up on the night|
Golden Guinea: Open Mic Night
‘Bristol’s best backstreet boozer’ the Guinea’s is known for folksy tunes, songs and shanties.
There’s play on a range of instruments including guitars, mandolins, violins, banjo and flute on show.
|Venue location:||Golden Guinea – 19 Guinea St, Bristol BS1 6SX|
|Phone number:||0117 987 2034|
|Open Mic Night:||Monthly on a Sunday from 8pm|
|Want to perform?||You can sign up on the night|
Bi-weekly Open Mic Nights in Bristol
The Arts House: Open Mic Night
The Arts House is an excellent performance and events venue right in the heart of the Artisan quarter of Bristol. Their basement space is home to cinema night, life drawing and a fortnightly open mic that’s open to everyone.
|Venue location:||The Arts House – 108A Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3RU|
|Phone number:||0117 923 2858|
|Open Mic Night:||Every other Friday from 8.30pm|
|Want to perform?||All are welcome|
So now you know where to perform in Bristol there are no excuses to get out there and get performing!
Also, if you are interested in heading a little further afield, check out: Dorset Open Mic Nights.
Have you considered entering Open Mic UK? Auditions are coming to Bristol!