East London’s open mic and jam scene is pretty impressive and there have been quite a few famous musicians that formed there. The local open mic music scene is fantastic with loads of live music and open mic nights to attend, from Hackney to Waltham Forest.
In this article we include:
- Barking and Dagenham
- Redbridge Tower
- Waltham Forest
If you’re looking for open mic nights in East London, you’re in the right place. Here are some of the best places to attend an open mic night in East London, in no particular order.
Weekly & Bi-Weekly Open Mics & Jam Nights in East London
#1 Troy Bar: Spirit & Soul Open Mic
Calling themselves ‘London’s best-kept secret’, Hoxton’s Troy Bar was part of the Shoreditch community before the area became a hotbed for hip bars and trendy fashion.
A long-time leader of the East London live music scene, the venue has dedicated itself to cultivating new music talent with regular showcase events and a committed musical following.
They’ve had respected artists like Macy Gray and Erykah Badu pass through their doors, and they see soul, jazz, funk and acoustic low-key live performances most evenings.
Their weekly open-mic Tuesday night offers a platform for musicians of various genres to showcase their talent.
They have a live band so just bring your vocals and your music. £5 on the door.
|Venue location:||Troy Bar – 10 Hoxton Street, Hackney, East London, N16NG|
|Phone number:||07958 298607|
|Open Mic Night:||Every Tuesday from 9pm|
|Want to perform?||Arrive as early as you can, this night is very popular.|
#2 The Nelson’s Pub: UK Open Mic
Recently renovated, The Nelson’s is a classic pub that is home to a warm and welcoming weekly open mic, hosted by UK Open Mic.
The night is held in the main pub area, with a capacity of around 60 people, which also hosts a Drag led karaoke night on Sundays. In addition they also invite their open mic guests to do set every other Sunday before the karaoke, and have a basement with a capacity of 30 that can be set up for live music and events.
As with The Reliance below, the equipment consists of mixing desks, 2 mics and mic stands, 2 instruments, 2 PA speakers, and an aux lead for backing tracks, along with a house guitar, Cajon and percussion.
A newer night that’s been running for a few months, they are already getting some awesome regular performers in.
|Venue location:||The Nelson’s Pub – 32 Horatio Street, East London, E2 7SB|
|Phone number:||07427 012091|
|Open Mic Night:||Thursdays from 6.30pm|
|Want to perform?||All styles and experience welcome.|
#3 Cart & Horses: Jam Night (currently on hiatus)
The Cart & Horses is the birthplace of Iron Maiden, the band played some of their very first gigs at this venue before they blew up, it has quite the music history! The weekly jam night is hosted by 4foxsake, a local rock band who love creating loud music.
A full PA and backline are provided along with drums if you need them! Thanks to the rock-heavy history, most performances are in the alternative or rock genre so it’s worth keeping this in mind whilst planning your performance.
The atmosphere is very lively with the audience often singing along and rocking out to all of the performances. As it’s a jam night, the structure of the night is pretty laidback and by the end, many of the musicians are creating music together. You’ll leave with new friends and hopefully new fans!
|Venue location:||Cart & Horses – 1 Maryland Point, Newham, East London, E15 1PF|
|Phone number:||020 8519 8230|
|Open Mic Night:||Every Thursday from 8:30pm|
|Want to perform?||Simply turn up early on the night to sign up.|
What should performers expect from a jam night?
#4 Hackney Church Brew Co: HCBC Music Night
Hackney Church Brew Co. are a recently opened brewpub in the heart of Hackney. Named after the parish church over the road, they aim to create a welcoming space that everyone can enjoy and that gives back to the local community.
Hosted by Adam McCullough, every Thursday night, they bring exciting live music to the already very exciting Hackney Church Brew Co.
Adam provides the PA equipment and his acoustic guitar is always on hand if needs be. He also liaises with performers who’ve signed up prior to the night to see if he can help equip them.
Typically, they see solo singer-songwriters, but they have had jazzy duos and full bands in as well.
Get in touch to book yourself in to play and follow their Facebook event page to keep up to date. Good music and tasty beer guaranteed.
|Venue location:||Hackney Church Brew Co. – 7 Bohemia Place, Hackney, East London, E81DU|
|Phone number:||020 8986 2643|
|Open Mic Night:||Thursdays from 8pm|
|Want to perform?||Message Adam on their event page.|
#5 Old Street Records: Common People Open Mic
Slap bang in the middle of the thriving Shoreditch nightlife scene, this place is always buzzing with live music and DJ nights.
The venue was designed with music as its main focus. Records are stacked on the shelves, with exposed brick wall and low lighting making the atmosphere perfect for an intimate evening of music.
The incredibly supportive Common People play host to open mic nights at each of the three sister venues, including Venn St Records and Northcote Records south of the river.
Held in their cosy basement bar, performers have use of a small raised stage. There are no backing tracks, and you’ll need to bring your own instruments as they only provide the cables and mics.
They try to give each act as much time as possible, but if it is super busy there’s a two-song limit.
Free drinks for all acts, so head down to check out some fresh talent or get up and get involved yourself.
|Venue location:||Old Street Records – 350-354 Old St, Shoreditch, Hackney, East London, EC1V 9NQ|
|Phone number:||020 3006 5911|
|Open Mic Night:||Wednesdays from 7.30pm|
|Want to perform?||Check their Facebook page for details|
Open mics near me
Thinking of attending your first open mic night? Here’s what to expect:
#6 The Reliance: UK Open Mic
The Reliance is a warm and cosy pub just a few blocks from the Old Street underground tube station.
Tuesdays they welcome UK Open Mic, which has been running for over 6 years and provides relaxed and friendly nights at various venues across the city almost 7 days a week.
They have a few hosts and generally run the same nights each week and they average about 20-25 performers each night, but they’re still relaxed.
The equipment usually consists of mixing desks, 2 mics and mic stands, 2 instruments, 2 PA speakers, and an aux lead for backing tracks, along with a house guitar, Cajon and percussion.
Most of the performers are singer-songwriters (acoustic guitar and vocal) with about 5-8% comedians and the rest poets and others.
The nights are pretty chilled out, with the host keeping everything very fair, informal and fun. If it’s someone’s first time or their fiftieth, they get treated the same.
For more info on venues and timings, check out their website.
|Venue location:||The Reliance – 336 Old Street, Shoreditch, Hackney, East London, EC1V 9DR|
|Phone number:||020 7729 6888|
|Open Mic Night:||Tuesdays from 7pm|
|Want to perform?||For all their night, see their Facebook page.|
#7 The Admiral Vernon: The Vernon Jam
This popular jam is now well established and is coming up to its 5th year.
The Jam band is a group of four seasoned professional musicians, who’ve all been gigging for many years.
Full, professional-quality backline is provided, 2 guitar amps, bass amp and drum kit. They also put a keyboard in when asked. Jammers are welcome to bring their own instruments/sticks, but there are some provided too.
It’s a really laid-back, easy-going night, with a wide variety of musical styles every week.
The atmosphere in the venue is very welcoming to all, especially the less experienced, who get a little hint of the gig experience on stage.
|Venue location:||The Admiral Vernon – 141 Broad Street, Daganham, Barking and Dagenham, East London, RM10 9HP|
|Open Mic Night:||Every Wednesday from 8pm|
|Want to perform?||Check their Facebook group for details.|
#8 The Crown: Jam/Open Mic Night
The Crown is a well-known music venue and every Thursday they welcome all singers, guitarists, bass players, drummers, solo artists and acoustics acts for a lively night of fun and entertainment.
Their popular open mic night is now in its 17th Year. They have a resident band, Mark, Sef and Steve, who are all well-seasoned musicians. They know a huge selection of covers in all genres of music.
Full backline provided, although you are welcome to bring your own instruments.
|Venue location:||The Crown – 360 Hornchurch Road, Hornchurch, Barking And Dagenham, East London, RM12 4TW|
|Open Mic Night:||Every Thursday from 9.15pm|
|Want to perform?||Check their Facebook group.|
Ever considered hosting your own open mic night?
#9 Grow: Live Jazz Jam
Carved out of an old sausage factory, Grow has been transformed into an independent canal-side bar, kitchen and creative space. It was built and is run by a small team and they operate as an ethical, sustainable business.
Join Grow’s house band on stage every Wednesday. Boris Latinov on guitar, Jamie Murray on drums, Rio Kai on double bass and special guests on sax for this intimate jazz jam with 2 sets and DJ Jazzintime spinning vinyl in between.
These musicians bring you a fresh and energetic approach to mainly a hardbop jazz repertoire, with jazz classics and their own compositions.
|Venue location:||Grow – 98C Wallis Road, Main Yard, Hackney Wick, East London, E9 5LN|
|Phone number:||020 8510 1757|
|Open Mic Night:||Every Wednesday from 7pm|
|Want to perform?||For booking, you can email them.|
#10 The Empire Bar: Higher Ground Jam Session
The Empire Bar is located in the heart of Mare Street, next to Hackney Empire.
Higher Ground is a new jam session which has been running for about 2 months. It was founded earlier this year by Sophie Grant to address the inaccessibility she saw in so many London jam sessions, and the lack of women on stage. It’s been growing pretty quickly since then!
The night kicks off with a set from the house band, followed by an open jam for all that wish to play.
Full backline, guitar and bass amps are provided as well as a keyboard and a beautiful baby grand piano! Thanks to their improv-first approach (which means they don’t just play standards or Stevie Wonder songs) they get a huge variety of musicians, from cellists to trombonists to vocalists to percussionists.
It tends towards a more Soul/Jazz/fFunk/RnB/Afro sound, but every week is different, and that’s part of the magic.
It’s an open space to improvise, express yourself and collaborate, and a new community in East London.
Doors will open at 7pm, and there will be a £2 door charge to be paid in cash only. The jam ends at 11pm.
|Venue location:||The Empire Bar – 291 Mare Street, Hackney, East London, E8 1EJ|
|Phone number:||020 8510 4545|
|Open Mic Night:||Alternate Tuesdays, 7pm-11pm|
|Want to perform?||Everyone is welcome to get involved.|
Top Monthly Open Mic Nights in East London
Gallery Cafe: Open Mic
The award-winning Gallery Cafe first opened its doors in 2006 and is St Margaret’s House’s largest in-house community project. As well as offering low-cost vegan dishes and drinks, they also host a programme of live events and monthly art exhibitions.
Their monthly open mic night has been running for three years. There’s an electro-acoustic guitar, 5 x dynamic microphones, keyboard stand, and stage monitor all provided.
Looking for somewhere to trial new material? If you love music, poetry or checking out new work from performing artists, then head down to their monthly open mic. It always guarantees an attentive audience and a welcoming atmosphere.
Singers, musicians, poets, magicians, actors, comedians and everything in between. Everyone is welcome.
Sign up from 7pm, music starts at 7.30pm.
|Venue location:||Gallery Cafe – 21 Old Ford Road, East London, E2 9PL|
|Phone number:||020 8980 2092|
|Open Mic Night:||Last Wednesday or Thursday of the month from 7pm|
|Want to perform?||You can email George with any questions or check their events page.|
Look Mum No Hands!: Open Mic
Look Mum No Hands is a quirky cafe and bar that’s described as ‘obsessed with bikes and passionate about quality’. The love of cycling informs everything about the venue, with a bicycle theme throughout.
Head down for their monthly Open Mic Night, in association with PMT House of Rock, on the first Wednesday of every month.
Listen to local artists and bands perform live and if you love to take to the stage, simply book your slot, grab a drink and show the crowd how it’s done!
Turn up to the event at 7 to sign up and play 3 songs. First come, first serve.
|Venue location:||Look Mum No Hands! – 49 Old St. East London, EC1V 9HX|
|Phone number:||020 7253 1025|
|Open Mic Night:||First Wednesday of the month from 7-10pm|
|Want to perform?||Sign up on the night.|
Apples and Pears Bar: Olandra’s Open Mic Night
A fun, independent cocktail bar off Brick Lane with an outdoor area, serving fabulously mixed drinks and wood-fired pizzas. Their music programme is eclectic and lively at the weekends and during the week, they have live acoustic sessions.
Olandra’s open mic night at Apples and Pears Bar has been running since February. It’s held in the main part of the venue with a special stage space.
PA, 2 DI boxed and 2 mics on stands are provided. Typically it’s a mix of acoustic singer-songwriters, but also more commercial producers, hip hop and spoken word artists. Every edition there’s a special/feature artist who gets to play up to 4 songs (instead of 2).
Olandra also hosts Fusion of Arts, which had been running weekly since June 2017. Originally at Camden Lock for a year and now being relaunched at Apples and Pears. Every 3rd Sunday of each month – sign ups in advance – 3-4 songs each or 10-15 minutes of performance time.
There’s a special area for artists in the main part of the venue. Performances include: musicians of all sort, magicians, spoken word artists, comedy acts and more! It’s a true Fusion of Arts.
In both cases, the audience listens carefully and the events provide a great opportunity to connect with other artists and likeminded people. The community is growing, so these are great nights to get involved with.
|Venue location:||Apples and Pears Bar – 26 Osborn Street, East London, E1 6TD|
|Phone number:||020 7247 7717|
|Open Mic Night:||Every last Wednesday of each month from 8:00pm|
|Want to perform?||Sign up from 7:00pm and you can email Olandra with any questions.|
Paper Dress Vintage: Noteworthy Open Mic
Paper Dress Vintage is a stylish vintage boutique by day & quirky bar and events space by night located, located in the heart of Hackney.
A cosy, stylish place to shop, meet and relax. There’s a friendly house party vibe with live bands, art events, dance classes, craft beers and delicious cocktails on offer.
Their monthly Noteworthy open mic has a full backline of guitar and bass amp plus drum kit. Drummers should bring their own snare and breakables.
Sign up at 6pm for the musicians, be sure to be down there sharpish/early to claim a slot.
|Venue location:||Paper Dress Vintage – 352A Mare Street, Hackney Central, East London, E8 1HR|
|Phone number:||020 8510 0520|
|Open Mic Night:||Second Sunday of every month from 6.30pm|
|Want to perform?||Sign up 6:00pm.|
Old Hall Tavern: Open Mic
A lovely pub based in Chingford showing live sport & serving great food & drink.
It’s hosted by Trevor Weatherly of Loose Change. The night’s been running for a couple years and starts with the house band doing a few warm-up songs.
As is usual at open mic, everyone gets a three-song or 15-minute slot, more if time allows. The evenings are usually busy, but they will get everyone on.
They ask that musicians have their instrument out of its case and ready a few minutes before they go on. All performers, from first-timer’s to seasoned pro’s, are made welcome at this inclusive and supportive venue.
Time permitting, they also have a jam session at the end of the evening for anyone who wants to.
There are three mics plugged into a 600 watt PA system. A small fold-back monitor and music stands.
|Venue location:||Old Hall Tavern – 200 Hall Lane, Chingford, Waltham Forest, East London, E4 8EY|
|Phone number:||020 3638 2717|
|Open Mic Night:||Third Thursday of the month from 8pm|
|Want to perform?||Check their Facebook page for details.|
Folklore: Jazz Night Jammin’
Striving to showcase artistic talent in all forms, Folklore is an intimate live music venue in the heart of Hoxton. Equipped with state of the art Funktion-One sound in the bar area and Void Acoustics in the live room.
To any instrumentalists that might want to join in, don’t hesitate to bring your instrument along! Alternatively, head down and enjoy performances from their house band.
|Venue location:||Folklore – 186 Hackney Road, Hackney, East London, E2 7QL|
|Open Mic Night:||Last Thursday on the month from 6pm|
|Want to perform?||Check their events page for details.|
Cornerstone Cafe: Open Mic
Cornerstone Cafe is a warm, friendly volunteer-run cafe in Plaistow with a community feel to it.
Their open night is run by Eden Plaistow, a group of local people passionate about building deep and open friendships with their neighbours. It’s a great place for artists to try out new material, and the atmosphere is very supportive.
Most people are just ordinary local, and of all sorts of ages and backgrounds who also enjoy performing.
People perform poetry readings, creative writing, cover songs, their own original songs, instrumental music, acapella singing, comedy, and dramatic readings.
|Venue location:||Cornerstone Cafe – 408 Barking Road, East London, E13 8HJ|
|Phone number:||020 7473 5800|
|Open Mic Night:||Monthly Fridays from 7.30pm|
|Want to perform?||Sign up on the night.|