Where To Find The Best Open Mic Venues In Bristol
Bristol is well known for it's great live music scene. With some long established venues such as The Fleece, Mr Wolf's, St George's Hall and Colston Hall putting on some of the best local and national bands on a regular basis, it's always easy to find something to watch. But what if you're just starting out as a musician and want to get started? I've listed a few of my favourite open mic nights below. I often take new guitar students out to get their first experience at playing live and these are some of the best places to do it.
The Star and Dove – Tuesdays - 0117 933 2892 - This is one of the best open mics in the Totterdown and Bedminster area, and one of my favourite ones to attend in Bristol as a whole. There is always a healthy turnout of good musicians, but uniquely to many open mic nights, it also boasts an open minded and relaxed crowd. This is the main reason I regularly choose to bring my students here for their first live playing experience. The audiences here are equally supportive of newcomers and virtuosos alike, making it the perfect place to shake off those first time nerves. 9/10.
The Plantation – Wednesdays. - 0117 907 7932 The Plantation is one of the most fun places to play or watch live music in Bristol. Located on Stapleton Road this Jamaican restaurant offers a free buffet to all performers, and a regular audience that really knows how to have a good time. Best suited to more experienced musicians, this open mic night is sure to welcome you with open arms. Especially if you can play a reggae song or two! 8/10.
Under The Stars – Thursdays. - 0117 929 8392 Definitely the quirkiest open mic night I’ve come across in the city. This one is situated on a boat near The Hippodrome in Bristol City Centre. Set against the backdrop of the harbour, with fairy lights and some good food and drink, this place is a great find. Come here if you like you’re looking for some nice background music you can catch up with your friends over. 7/10.
Kingsdown Wine Vaults – Thursdays. - 0117 329 2521 This Intimate and cosy Cotham based open mic which has “the feeling of the 'Cheers' pub where everyone knows your name” is brought to you by the team that gave you The Star and Dove open mic. So if this one is a little closer to home for you, come here for the same great atmosphere and another line up of great musicians. 9/10.
The Oxford – Thursdays. -0117 972 8028 Another staple of the Totterdown music scene. Being just around the corner from The Star and Dove these two open mic nights share a fair few of their regular attendees, so you can be sure to see a few good performances on any occasion. I took one of my students there for a performance recently and the audience were very welcoming and full of complements for the newcomer, which was helpful. Graeme (the host) was also equally good as a host and as a musician, making for a good night out. 8/10
The Grain Barge – Tuesdays. - 0117 929 9347 A new open mic night in a lovely setting in Hotwells. Having only been open a few weeks this one was a little quiet when I went. If you’re a beginner guitarist looking to do one of your first performances that’s not necessarily a bad thing though! As a popular venue I can imagine this open mic night will get busy pretty quickly in the coming months. At the moment it’s a very relaxed affair. The host plays backing music between the performers, giving first timers plenty of time to calm their nerves before performing. I tried a new song out there and was pleasantly surprised by the welcoming atmosphere. 7/10
Martin Sean McConnell Guitar Lessons - 20/05/15
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