Kingston’s music scene is one of the best in the country, and a great series of open mic nights is crucial to the support of a healthy music community. It’s where many new musicians step on stage for the first time, and veteran musicians get to test new material and hang out with fellow players. We’ve put together this handy to guide to help musicians and music lovers find a great place to discover new talent and venues.
The longest-running open mic in town is hosted by Tom Savage at The Rose & Crown every Wednesday. It’s been running for 13 years, more than double any other open mic in the area, and is always well-attended by both musicians and fans.
In a close second is the Royal Jam, which marked its 338th Thursday at the Royal Tavern last week (yes, they keep track). It’s not a traditional open mic, as there is a band on stage should you choose to use them, and any number of local musicians are on hand to join in if needed.
Musiikki Cafe just celebrated its fifth birthday on the weekend, and their open mic on Tuesdays is always busy and has been pretty much since they opened in 2014.
Spearhead Brewing Company has dared gone where few other bars will: an open mic on a weekend! Their Friday open mic has been a popular one since it started last October.
Riverhead Brewing Company is Kingston’s newest open mic, hosted by Landon Martin on Tuesdays and is now just a few weeks in. Videos that have been posted to social media suggest that it’s off to a great start!
The Elm Cafe on Montreal Street in Kingston has an open mic on the last Thursday of every month. They are currently on a summer break, but it’s expected to return in September.
If you don’t mind venturing out of town a bit, The Cove in Westport has an open mic on Wednesdays, The Opinicon in Elgin on Thursday nights, or Deadleaf Distinguished Gentlemen in downtown Napanee hosts an open mic on Fridays, though they are also on a summer hiatus.
And open mics can be for more than just music! Tommy’s has a comedy open mic on Mondays, and poets can head to The Elm Cafe on the first Tuesday of every month for a poetry open mic hosted by Bruce Kaufmann.
Here is the full list. If we missed any, let us know!
- Tuesdays – Musiikki Cafe 7 – 11 pm. Hosted by Tyson Sullivan.
- Tuesdays – Riverhead Brewing Company. 7 – 9 pm. Hosted by Landon Martin.
- Wednesdays – The Rose & Crown. 8:30 – 11 pm. Hosted by Tom Savage.
- Thursdays – The Royal Tavern. 9 – 12. Hosted by ROUGHMIX.
- Fridays – Spearhead Brewing Company. 7 – 10 pm. Hosted by Scotty Knapp. Last Thursday of each month – The Elm Cafe – 7:30 – 9:30. Hosted by Gary Rasberry and Irwin Streight (Summer break)
- Wednesdays – The Cove. 7 – 10 pm. Hosted by Shawn McCullough
- Thursdays – The Opinicon. 8 – 10 pm. Hosted by Mike Cochrane.
- Fridays – Deadleaf Distinguished Gentleman, 6 – 9 pm. Various hosts. (Summer break)
- Monday: Tommy’s. 9 – 12. Hosted by Al Babcock. (Comedy)
- First Tuesday of every month – The Elm Cafe. 7 – 9:30 pm. Hosted by Bruce Kaufmann (poetry/ spoken word)