Southampton Open Mic Nights — The Top 10

Southampton has made a name for itself through its thriving music scene and open mic nights. Both Craig David and British rockers Band of Skulls launched their careers in Southampton, proving that when it comes to breaking into the music industry, Southampton open mic nights are the ideal platform for burgeoning new talent to build a following.

Southampton Best Open Mic Nights:

Looking for an open mic night in Southampton? In no particular order, these venues attract the best of the city’s breakthrough musical talent.

#1 The Stable: Stables Sessions Open Mic Night

The Stable hosts one of the newest open mic nights in Southampton. Run by musician and producer Ollie Butler, it’s known for being a fun night out. The venue is great and the staff are all very friendly and engaging.

There is a house guitarist who can accompany singers and the night is open to all performers! The venue is situated directly opposite the 02 Guildhall Southampton and primarily a pizza, pie and cider bar which will appeal to a few performers making a night of it,

The Stable have long been supporters of Live Music in the City- along with regularly hosting events including weekly music nights every Saturday. It’s a bit quieter than the other more established open mic nights but there’s a good variety of performers.

Venue location: The Stable – 138, Above Bar Street, Southampton, SO14 7DU
Phone number: 023 8023 6710
Open Mic Night: Monday fortnightly from 7pm
Want to perform? Open to all, so turn up on the night to get involved

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#2 The Alex: Plug & Play

One of the finest open mic nights in Southampton, the Alex has an action-packed schedule and Tuesdays are no exception, with this old-school boozer playing host to its Plug & Play open mic night.A nice touch for performers, there’s a free drink for anyone who takes to the stage.

So be prepared to muscle in against a tide of open mic regulars. There’s always a flurry of support from local student who frequent The Alex seeking music and cheaper drinks.

Venue location: The Alex – 6 Bellevue Road, Southampton, SO15 2AY-22
Phone number: 023 8033 5071
Open Mic Night: Tuesdays from 7pm
Want to perform? They welcome performers of all genres, all styles and all abilities

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#3 Suburbia: Open Mic Night

Suburbia’s open mic is a monthly affair hosted by Zeus Bookings (who manage multiple live music events in Southampton), the night is organised with industry support and attracts a lot of interest.

Performers are encouraged to sign up on Facebook in advance to avoid disappointment. Every genre of music is welcome, from folk and indie through to spoken word and rap. So, roll up if you’ve got something to share with the crowd.

Venue location: Suburbia – 27-29 Onslow Road, Southampton, SO14 0JD
Phone number: 07738 361059
Open Mic Night: Tuesdays, monthly from 7pm
Want to perform? Contact Zeus Bookings to let them know you’re coming down

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#4 104 Kitchen & Cocktail Bar: Open Mic Night

A brand new open mic in the city centre, run by Henry the previous host of The Edge’s popular weekly open mic.

15 minute slots are available for acts with piano, guitar and Cajón percussion available for those that would rather not lug all their own equipment around! The atmosphere is very friendly in a chilled out cocktail bar that is quickly gathering a flock of regular acts while welcoming newcomers each week.

They have a cracking selection of drinks and food on offer.

Venue location: 104 Kitchen & Cocktails Bar – 104-108 Above Bar Street, Southampton, SO14 7DT
Phone number: 023 8023 5930
Open Mic Night: Tuesdays from 7:30pm
Want to perform? Just show up and let the host know what you want to do

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#5 The Social: Buskin

Buskin, The Social’s Wednesday night open mic event, attracts some top-flight talent, keen on showing off their vocal and guitar skills in a relaxed and ambient space. They also have a happy hour from 5-9pm on selected beers, wines, spirits and cocktails.

Each Wednesday boasts a different musical host who can double up as instrumental support for singers to play along while they perform. Be aware you may need to be persistent on the night to ensure you get your time on stage.

On a Summer’s evening, the folding doors at the front make The Social an attractive watering hole and ensure you’re performing to a good crowd. Hosted in the ground floor bar with a newly open kitchen (open until 9pm), The Social offers a good selection of bar type meals.

Venue location: The Social – 21 Lower Banister St, Southampton, SO15 2EH
Phone number: 023 8017 5175
Open Mic Night: Wednesdays from 9pm
Want to perform? They invite anyone with the slightest musical inclination to get involved

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#6 The Cricketers Arms: Ales and Anthems Open Mic Night

Based in the heart of Southampton’s Bedford place, the open mic night at The Cricketers has been a city favourite since its launch last year.

Not only do you get the floor to showcase your skills in a pub packed full of peers, but for those who enjoy a drink, there’s the added bonus of a wide selection of ales on tap for only £2.80 all night. So you won’t be short of Dutch courage if you’re a first-timer to the stage.

Venue location: The Cricketers Arms – 34, Carlton Place, Bedford Place, Southampton SO15 2DX
Phone number: 023 8022 6448
Open Mic Night: Thursdays from 8pm
Want to perform? Stage slots are available on the night

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#7 Retro Cafe: The Retro Jam and Open Mic

The Retro Cafe is a great little venue in trendy Bedford Place, with a cosy and eclectic feel that’s perfect for a more intimate night of live music.

Their night is hosted by Elliot House and has been running since 2018. They offer up a friendly, chilled atmosphere where really anything goes, and it’s a great alternative to the usual nights on offer.

According to their event page, “For too long have Saturday nights in Bedford place been owned by the vodka guzzling hordes of club night goers. This is our last stand in the fight for real, live music on weekends.”

They have a house acoustic guitar and Cajon drum, but performers are welcome to bring their own instruments. It’s the only Saturday night Open Mic in Southampton, plus every performer gets a free beer!

Venue location: Retro Cafe – 34 Bedford Place, Southampton, SO15 2DG
Phone number: 023 8178 3900
Open Mic Night: Every other Saturday from 7pm
Want to perform? Open to absolutely everyone

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#8 Mango Tapas: Mango Jam

Mango Jam is a real gem of a night. Some talented local musicians get up and play with the house band and performers and singers will interchange for an entertaining night.

Though it may seem slightly intimidating at first, go along, take it in and take the plunge when you feel you’re ready. A great place to find fellow musicians to potentially collaborate with, Mango jam rocks into the early hours with the basement bar open until 3am.

Mango Tapas offer table service throughout the Jam, and if you book a table you’ll get a complimentary Thai Tapas sharing board when you order a bottle of wine.

Venue location: Mango Tapas – 5 Canute Road, Ocean Village, Southampton, SO14 3FH
Phone number: 023 8033 1477
Open Mic Night: Thursdays from 9pm
Want to perform? If you want to get up and play, just have a chat with J on the Keyboard or Sean the host

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#9 Flying Dutchman: Open Mic and Jam Night

Under new ownership, The Flying Dutchman hosts Southampton’s latest Open Mic and Jam night.

This Open Mic night is aligned and brought to you by River Studios in Southampton so there’s always someone there from the studio should you want any advice or just a chat. River Studios also do an annual Battle of the Bands in Southampton at the 1865.

The hosts vary with a house band (The FortySix) every other Friday of the month if you’ve always wanted to front an ensemble.

There are PA and mics, with performers of all levels welcome to get involved. The house band will even start jamming to your original songs to give a lovely creative vibe.

Under 18’s can also perform at the start of the evening (before 9pm).

Venue location: Flying Dutchman – 13 – 14 Terminus Terrace, Southampton SO14 3DT
Phone number: 023 8033 5069
Open Mic Night: Every other Friday from 8pm
Want to perform? Show up early and let them know

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#10 Belgium & Blues: Open Mic Night

Hosted every other Sunday by Southampton Blues Band the Fake Shakes, this open mic night is relatively new.

Set in Southampton’s Cultural Quarter, Belgium & Blues is a quirky, independent bar and their open mic if one of the most laid back in town. Get there early for a solo spot or rock up later to jam.

There’s also a free beer for all performers if you need a little extra motivation.

Venue location: Belgium & Blues – 184 Above Bar St, Southampton SO14 7DW
Phone number: 023 8022 5411
Open Mic Night: Every other Sunday from 7pm
Want to perform? Musicians of all levels are welcome

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Bonus Open Mic Nights in Southampton

The Art House: Moving Voices

A relaxed, non-threatening environment, this is a great place to try something new for the first time, whether it’s spoken word, poetry or music.

Venue location: The Art House – 178 Above Bar Street, Southampton, S014 7DW
Phone number: 023 8023 8582
Open Mic Night: The last Friday of each month from 7:30pm
Want to perform? Everyone is welcome

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The Cricketers Arms: The Cricketers Jam

An extremely popular, busy and inclusive jam night every other Sunday at The Cricketers. With a lively, interchangeable house band providing accompaniment with keys, percussion, guitar and even a bit of flute!

All styles of music and levels of ability are welcome, and the manager is always on the lookout for new acts to perform at the bars regular paid gig nights.

Venue location: The Cricketers Arms – 34 Carlton Place, Bedford Place, Southampton SO15 2DX
Phone number: 023 8022 6448
Open Mic Night: Every other Sunday. Turn up at 9pm
Want to perform? Chat to friendly host David if you fancy performing

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Oasis Bar: Open Mic Night

Run by Ryan Saunders, this is a bi-monthly night where you can expect to find a varied line-up of local talent.

Venue location: Oasis Bar – 137 High St, Southampton, SO14 2BS
Phone number: 023 8023 8605
Open Mic Night: bi-monthly
Want to perform? Let them know on the night

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The Hobbit: Open Mic night (on hiatus)

A little outside the city centre in the heart of student land, this lively pub once faced closure over its use of The Hobbit name, before it was thankfully saved by overwhelming public support. Even saw Sir Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry chimed in.

The open mic night takes place in the downstairs basement bar on Thursdays, kicking off at 9pm and continuing into the early hours.

There’s a chance to net yourself a paid gig if the audience responds well to you too. So it’s a great platform for anyone looking to get a leg up to the gig scene. Stella from the Hobbit explains: “Open mic events can too easily be used by venues as a source of cheap or free live music and that is not fair. We are happy to give talented open mic’ers a paid gig.”

On the funny side of the open mic nights, Stella explains “We have had more than one act that could clear a pub in minutes and even a guy who took all his clothes off to get into the mood.”

Venue location: The Hobbit  – 134 Bevois Valley Road, Southampton, SO14 0JZ
Phone number: 023 8023 2591
Open Mic Night: Thursdays from 9pm
Want to perform? It’s an easy-going, intimate open mic hosted in a private room

The Talking Heads: The Candle Club  (not currently running)

Having run every Monday night, since 1996, sadly The Candle Club stopped in 2018. After a brief stint at 1865 time was called, as a result of the closure of the Talking Heads where it  had been hosted at in the Polygon for many years.

So, now you know some of the top open mic nights in Southampton there are no excuses to get out there and get performing!

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Alan Ward-Best

Pls update. Open Mic Talking Heads Southampton which moved from the Polygon to the 1865 has finally closed.

Mike Kirk (OMUK)
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Mike Kirk (OMUK)

Thank you for letting us know, Alan. Do you know if The Candle Club is closed permanently?