It can be hard for a starting musician; well, it can be hard for musicians period. While social media has become the primary medium to promote yourself, attention has shifted from live performance to digital music files. Some places even require performers to submit an mp3 of one of their songs before they can allow them to play.

Bonus Fun Stuff:Press Start: A Look Inside the National Videogame Museum.

This is how open mics help those having trouble getting gigs–by giving you more exposure and an opportunity to hone your musical skills. It’s the perfect chance to put your talent to the test of a crowd and even tweak some new songs without feeling any sense of pressure or embarrassment. All in good fun.

While Dallas has many open mics, there are some that are exclusive to certain days or weeks of the month. This list will serve to help you find an open mic for every day of the week–excluding weekends. These places have no cover and are located at or near downtown Dallas. Hope you find a home for your melodies! [Ed. note: Days and times could change at any point, so contact the venue before heading out.]

What is open mic?

An open mic is when a place such as a coffee shop, club or pub where anyone who has signed up can get up and speak or sing into the mic. Generaly speaking free open mic nights are for comedians or musicians.

Tips for a good open mic night

1. Be supportive of others. 2. Make friends with those who attend on the regular. 3. Give sincere feedback to others when they ask for it.4. Be gracious when receiving feedback. 5. When others are at the mic be quiet and respectful.


Poor David’s Pub

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Photo Credit: Bryan Yalta

Hosted by Mr. Troll, this open mic sets the stage for any sort of musician to feel like the main attraction–because they are. For every person’s fifteen minutes of fame, Carlos the sound man hooks up an amazing sound that will amplify any musical equipment in high quality. The pub has been hosting live music for roughly 40 years, which suggests that they know how to do it right.

The Balcony Club

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Photo Credit: Bryan Yalta

For a small place, it sure gets crowded for a late Monday night. Located on a second floor next to the Lakewood Theater, the Balcony Club invites musicians and singers to show off their talents in an open mic while a showcase for Liz Mikel’s funky entertainers also occurs. It’s an intimate environment where the audience can also partake in the joy of live music and have a few drinks.

Buffalo West

This Fort Worth location offers a family friendly open mic night. This open mic is hosted by the Ft Worth Songwriter Association. Also of note, is that this is a smoke free environment that never charges a cover fee. The open mic is held on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month.


Opening Bell Coffee

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Photo Credit: Skai Brown

Walking down the steps to head inside Opening Bell makes the coffee shop seem secluded from everything else around it. That being said, it’s nice to have some coffee, sit down, and watch some live music in a more personal manner–personal, because it’s a small place. Artsy and modern decors adorn the walls while the lighting coming from lamps lined up next to them produce a mood that any folk musician can appreciate. The corner stage is open to anyone.

Free Man

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Photo Credit: Bryan Yalta

This restaurant gets rid of stage fright by doing a generous thing: having very, very dim lighting on the customers sitting on the side booths on the wall. The only light there appears to be is either focused on the main stage or in the kitchen. The stage is set right by the window walls in front of the restaurant, capturing the urban setting and reflecting the beauty of the night behind the performers. All of these features should be able to get rid of that fear of crowds.


House of Blues

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Photo Credit: Adam Escamilla

Playing at the House of Blues can automatically make you feel like a star. With its history of bands who have performed there, the aura of legends can be sensed once inside. Even though you must sign up days prior to the weekly event, it’s free and it’s a great way to captivate booking agents–even if performing in front of people eating. Everyone starts somewhere and although it’s an open mic, one can come out of there bragging about performing at the HOB.

Sam Ash

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Photo Credit: Adam Escamilla

Being a singer-songwriter or a lone multi-instrumentalist showcases one’s individual skills–which is a great thing–but learning how jams feel can also be a great thing. Working with other people is something every musician eventually learns. Sam Ash helps musicians in that aspect by providing the essential instruments of a full band, letting people get the feel of how a band works without any pressure. There’s always people trying out instruments all throughout the store, which might interrupt a bit of the flow of the jam here and there, but it’s only to keep performers with the mindset that everyone there is testing new things; just have fun with it.



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Photo Credit: Bryan Yalta

It’s popular for its Tuesday classical music open mic, but it also attracts people for its regular Thursday open mic. Out of the three locations near downtown Dallas, only its Lemmon Avenue site host open mics on Thursdays. Any sort of style is acceptable, from acoustic sets to stand-up or spoken word poetry, so bring yourself and your music to Lemmon Avenue location and have a brew while you’re at it–that is, if you’re old enough.

Green Door Public House

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Photo Credit: Federico Bayona

Located across Dallas’ Masonic Temple and near the Farmer’s Market, this pub organizes its ‘stage’ right by the front. While it really is just some open room made in the corner for performers, the sound of live music there is perfect for the small space the bar holds. It’s also a good place to bring supportive friends and hang around inside or outside the bar in their patio. Plus, there’s a portrait of the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World hanging in their wall; instant cool points.

While Dallas is home to more than 150 open mics, these locations are on a weekly basis, free, and within the downtown Dallas area. Now that this schedule has you covered Monday through Thursday, you can relax on the weekends and find something to spend those tips on.

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