Best Open Mics in Nashville

Music City Brings Melody To The Mic At These Local Open Mic Spots

Open Mic Nights in Music City bring out glitz, glitter, and talent. If you are from out of town, or haven’t played a venue before, Open Mic is the best way to begin. Nashville caters to local and out of town singers and songwriters. A city that values and celebrates music, you will find you are always welcome to sing for your supper, applause, or foot in the door. 

Open Mic nights provide musicians with an opportunity to not only gain experience, but test new material and gauge audience reaction. If you’re looking for a great way to spend and evening in Music City, attending an Open Mic night at Bluebird Cafe, 2 Hippies, or Cafe Coco is a great way to be entertained and discover new artists. Often you’ll find songwriter clubs and artists in the round – scenes where experienced and well-known musicians come out and perform. 

In Music City, Open Mic is a sacred night. Celebrated, respected, and cheered. It takes courage to commit to your craft and to put yourself out there, and Nashvillians are always happy to cheer on a newcomer and revere a seasoned hand. So grab your mic, tune your guitar, and hit the stage. We’re waiting for you. 


A great spot if you're into blues and it's like. Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar delivers talent, fun, and the perfect excuse to boogie. Located in Nashville's famous Printers Alley, this Big Easy-style restaurant is famous for great music and laid-back, Bourbon Street style. The owners aim to please, and the staff is hospitable. With a charming venue and the New Orleans sensibility, Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar is a great venue to perform. Expect to hear terrific live blues when you stop by, and make sure to bring your appetite because the Cajun menu boasts too many temptations to ignore!

Local Expert tip: Printers Alley offers historic sights and tasty eats, so bring a camera for great memorabilia shots before you hit Bourbon Street Blues.

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The Family Wash
Photo courtesy of Daniel Howard

The Family Wash is a cozy and laid back venue in East Nashville. The talent is always cheered with the songwriters stage beckoning. A former laundromat, this hangout is an ideal place for a night of live music, good beer (or wine!), and simple yet delicious food served by a friendly staff, most of whom live in the neighborhood. It's a no-frills place where the food is hearty (shepherd's pie is a favorite), the music is free, and regulars line up to squeeze in as often as possible. Keep in mind the size is quaint, so be sure to arrive early for a great seat.

Local Expert tip: Try the shepherds pie while you're kicked back enjoying the show. It's amazing!

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A fun and funky joint, the music goes on late at Tin Roof. This popular live music venue is a staple in the Nashville nightlife scene. There's always a variety of songwriters performing, and the patrons are glad to listen. Featuring live music six days a week, the Tin Roof is the place to go for an after-work drink or an energetic night out. College kids and professionals alike flock to this fun-loving bar for the music and drinks, so be on the look out for local celebrities in the crowds. You never know who'll you'll bump into at Tin Roof.

Local Expert tip: Tin Roof is often packed with the college scene, but the food, drinks, and bands are well worth the crowd.

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Elliston Place

One of the more prominent stages, and Open Mic Night bars, Exit/Inn always draws a crowd. A popular spot for up-and-coming artists (along with those who have already made a name for themselves), this club hosts everyone from local punk bands to nationally known rock and country performers. The establishment has been around for a few decades now and is still going strong. If you're a fan of country music lore, check out the pictures along the walls that catalog the Exit/In's storied past. Past musicians have included Steve Earle, Shelby Lynne, and Seven Mary Three. Performers and showtimes vary.

Local Expert tip: Alternating between raucous and relaxed, this landmark music venue gets packed and loud, so come prepared to rock.

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Although located in an unassuming building, Douglas' Corner Cafe has one of the top open mic nights in Nashville. With past performers like Garth Brooks, its easy to see why songwriters looking to break into the industry flock here. Come listen to these artists perform, and you just might hear the next hit song before it reaches the radio. Douglas Corner Cafe began in 1987 when Recording Engineer, Mervin Louque, partnered with businessman, Rick Martin, to create a music venue aimed at showcasing new singers and songwriters in Nashville. It's known as a "home away from home" for many of Nashville's songwriters and performers.

Local Expert tip: They have a small menu, so it's best to eat before you come and munch on their appetizers.

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The name says it all. Come to listen, to savor melody and to bask in song. Although relatively new to the scene, the Listen Room Cafe's open mic night is one of the best in Nashville, TN. Located in the historic Cummins Station building in downtown Nashville, the venue plays host to several hit songwriters and artists in Nashville. Performances are held every night of the week, and the cafe also features an extensive menu with favorites like CB's toasted ravioli. Parking can be a little confusing, but If you drive right past Cummins Station, you will see a parking lot on the left surrounded by a chain link fence, along with a sign indicating parking for TLR. Best of all – parking is free!

Local Expert tip: Arrive early enough to people watch, you never know who you'll see.

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Elliston Place

Lovely and charming, Cafe Coco is a favorite of Nashvillians. A musicians haven, the crowd is always primed and all ages and avenues of perfumers are welcomed. Bring your Johnny Cash or your Vampire Weekend - you'll find an audience for both. Besides hosting an open mic night, this popular Nashville cafe is open 24-hours a day. A mix between coffeehouse, restaurant and music venue, Cafe Coco boasts plenty of hang out space with a covered front patio, side veranda and BackStage. Bar menu options include everything from personal pizzas to hot sandwiches and burgers. So kick back, enjoy the show, and fill your belly, too.

Local Expert tip: Try the iced coffee! It's a divine energy boost.

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The Bluebird Cafe
Photo courtesy of Bluebird Cafe

The legendary stage is known around the world. While seasoned musicians perform nightly at the cafe, newcomers are welcomed with open arms. Bluebird Caf is a must-see for all music fans. The quiet, smoke-free venue is a great place to hear Nashville's up-and-coming singer-songwriters perform before they hit the big time. Garth Brooks and Kathy Mattea are just two well-known singers who have played. Since it's a popular spot, make reservations in advance, and don't forget to observe the "Shhh!" rule while the music's playing! Depending on how big the booked act is, the cover can be as high as $50.

Local Expert tip: If you can only visit one music venue, Bluebird Cafe should be your choice. Just get there early - it's a small spot and gets filled quickly.

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Meet Paige Crutcher

Paige Crutcher is a writer, author interviewer, book reviewer, and storyteller. When her nose isn’t between the pages of a well-worn book, she’s working on articles, traveling, or researching a...  More About Paige