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The Ultimate guide to Open Mic Nights in London

1 Comment - By ben

One of the biggest and most exciting aspects of the London night life is its many open mic nights that include singing and comedy. This 7 day guide to Open Mic Comedy Nights in London will help make sure you never miss a laugh, any day of the week!


Open Mic Night Mondays

Spice of Life

Open Mic Night: Mondays.

Spice of Life, on Cambridge Circus on the West End, in the basement of the Backstage Bar, has been holding open mic events every Monday now for thirteen years. The place has its own piano which anyone can play, though each performer is allowed to do only two songs per night. Because it is in London’s West End (the same area celebrated in the Pet Shop Boys hit song “West End Girls”), it is an excellent choice of a place to perform as you are almost guaranteed to have an audience!

The Enterprise

Open Mic Night: Mondays.

Chalk Farm, where the Enterprise holds its open mic every Monday, is not really a farm at all but a section of north London that takes its name from a village in the area. One of the attractive things about this venue is its appeal to those who like quieter music: There is often no amplification used. The Enterprise offers much more than you could get from any other “corner of the bar” gig; in fact, the only real reason why it is not currently attracting more people than it is, is because of the presence of much competition in the neighbourhood.

The Earl of Camden

Open Mic Night: Mondays.

The same person who hosts the open mic at the Hideaway (discussed above) also does the same for the Earl of Camden in Camden Town. This venue is unusual among all those discussed in this article, in that it has no stage, nor is any monitoring of events done. All that you have to do to get a slot here is to sign up at 7:30 and show up at the place a half hour later with the instrument you intend to play. Events are “relaxed and informal.”

Waterman’s Arms

Open Mic Night: Mondays.

The Waterman’s Arms is in Richmond, in the southwest part of the city. You do not have to sign up to play here, and the only members of your audience are a group of musicians who accompany you only on the chorus. At the Waterman’s Arms acoustic music is preferred and not surprisingly, much of what they perform is folk music; but any kind of music can be played. Performances tend to follow each other very rapidly because no sound checking is done and technical problems are nonexistent. This is not even a true “open mic” event — microphones are never used.

King Gong

Open Mic Night: Last Monday of Each Month.

Everyone is familiar with King Kong, but those who like to frequent the Comedy Store in Leicester Square will tell you that the open mic night comedy routines known as King Gong are the biggest thing in town. The store itself has been given the title of “Comedy’s Unofficial National Theatre;” thirty years ago it served as a haven for what has been called “alternative comedy.” Unlike most of the other open mic night comedy events discussed here, which are held weekly, King Gong takes place only once a month, on the last Monday. But when it is on, if you have a slot there, you get to hold the stage for as long as the audience will let you.

Off Broadway

Open Mic Night: Mondays.

Situated close to London Falls, Off Broadway specialises in holding cocktail parties. A guitar and a keyboard are permanently part of this venue and the sound quality is excellent. Open mic is held on Mondays. You have a better chance of getting a slot if you come in early. A wide range of musical styles is played at Off Broadway.

Open Mic Night Tuesdays

Party Piece

Open Mic Night: Tuesdays.

Party Piece takes place on Tuesdays at Shaker & Co., a cocktail saloon whose atmosphere is inspired by that of New Orleans. Anyone who has the potential of being entertaining is welcome to put on a show at comedy open mic night here — and every performance is free!

Pear Shaped Comedy Club

Open Mic Night: Tuesdays.

This is a comical name for one of the most hilarious open mic comedy clubs in town — or anywhere. Just about anything that takes place here is guaranteed to make people laugh — even if it goes “tips up!” The Pear Shaped Comedy Club is part of Fitzroy Tavern, and nothing — hurricanes, tsunamis, football games, wars, nothing — gets in the way of their regularly-scheduled open mic nights. Among the foremost comedians who have performed at this venue are Brian & Krysstal, who have gained fame by singing “silly songs”.

Open Mic Night Wednesdays

The Red Lion Open Mic & Jam

Open Mic Night: Wednesdays.

The Red Lion is in Isleworth, on the West End, a town of ancient Saxon origin. Two of the musicians who are regulars here play the acoustic guitar and harmonica. Events are held from 9 to 11:15 on Wednesdays, making for a limited amount of time for any one person to perform, but the audience is “respectful and responsive.”

Old Nun’s Head

Open Mic Night: Wednesdays.

The word is also in the name of the place where the business is located — Nunhead Green in Peckham (there is an unconfirmed rumour that the name of this inn — which dates from the 1600s — comes from the beheading of a nun). Open mic is on Wednesdays in a room whose sound system is perfect for acoustic music. The audience consists of fellow performers. The Old Nun’s Head is easiest to reach if you happen to live in Lewisham or Dulwich; for those who live elsewhere, its location might be a little “off the beach track.”

Rudy’s Comedy Night

Open Mic Night: Wednesdays.

Many new and aspiring comedians find that they enjoy the friendly atmosphere at Rudy’s Revenge, a cocktail and karaoke bar that is situated a short walk from the Convent Garden. The routines held here can last for as long as fifteen minutes. Rudy’s Comedy Night bills itself as “the cuddliest, friendliest, warmest open mic night in London.” Its logo features a pirate dressed in red with a golden sword and a brown eye patch.

Comedy Cafe

Open Mic Night: Wednesdays.

For the individual who is not widely known in the entertainment world, it can be quite a challenge to get a spot on the open mic circuit at the Comedy Café Theatre, which features “the biggest names in stand-up comedy at the coolest venue in East London. It is located at the heart of the East End district of Shoreditch and has a holding capacity of two hundred persons. Events are held every Wednesday. “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” has performed here recently.

Open Mic Night Thursdays

Freedom Fringe Comedy Night

Open Mic Night: Thursdays.

Held at a pub in Kentish Town called the Torriano on Thursday night, the Freedom Fringe Comedy Night is much friendlier with the novice than the venue discussed in the previous section. Events are free and the audience is very supportive. Countless “headliners” have performed at this comedy open mic night, among them Andy Onions, Oliver Noakes, ManBuyCow, Geoff Prutton and Sam Carrington.

Comedy Variety Night

Open Mic Night: Thursdays.

Up the Creek is a comedy and disco bar where an open mic circuit called Comedy Variety Night is held every Thursday. Routines of every sort are performed here — mimes, monologs, improvisations, songs and sketches. The only real requirements for something to become part of open mic comedy at Up the Creek is that it be funny. A professional MC takes care of all of the proceedings to ensure that everybody who attends open mic comedy night here has a great time.

Downstairs at the King’s Head

Open Mic Night: Thursdays.

This is one of the most popular open mic comedy clubs in the city, so much so, in fact, that if you wish to hold a performance here you may have to wait in a very long line indeed. Shows are held on Thursdays. On the walls of this place, which was founded in 1981 and is in a basement (hence the name), you may see pictures of past comic entertainers who have graced its stage in the past. And every two weeks, the most successful acts try out their new ideas at the King’s Head.

Open Mic Night Fridays

Friday at The Duke’s Head

Open Mic Night: Fridays.
This pub is a little on the small side and has a back-alley type vibe. But don’t be fooled, this quirky venue just off the bottom of Richmond Hill has been playing host to some great open mic acts every friday for years. Just minutes away from Richmond train station, this conveniently located venue is guarenteed to give your friday somthing a little special. The evening typically starts off calm and relaxed, and builds as the night goes on, it’s not recommended for kids, and themes are likely to be on the mature side.

Open Mic Night Saturdays

Angel Comedy

Open Mic Night: Saturdays.

This is really one of the best of the best of open mic comedy night in England’s magnificent capital city. Events are held here every Saturday at the Camden Head, a musical venue in the borough of Camden that is also one of London’s oldest pubs — the building was first erected in 1787. In order to perform open mic comedy at the Camden Head, one has to have put on at least a hundred gigs elsewhere and been viewed by all three of Angel’s promoters. Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost will be performing here at the end of this month. Admission to some events is free.

Open Mic Night Sundays


Open Mic Night: Sundays.

Open mic comedy night takes place every Sunday at the Hideaway Bar, located between Tufnell Park and Archway Tube stations. One person who attended their shows commented on their Facebook page that he was “blown away by the amount of talent!” Meals of pizza and wine also accompany each event — virtually everyone’s idea of a London night life. Entry is free.

The Globe

Open Mic Night: Sundays.

No, this is not the southwark based theatre where Shakespeare’s plays were first performed; the globe is in greater london in the less glamourous Brentford. Down to earth comedy in a well established venue. Brentford’s home to a variety of industrial offices, so there’s usually a great crowd and a good atmosphere in the globe during their open mic shows, you might even catch your boss.


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1 Comment so far
  1. Seanan

    A new open mic night for Angel, Big D presents Open Mic at The Joker. http://www.facebook.com/JokerOpenMic

    Saturday 12th April 2014, 5:33 pm Reply
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