Top LI Spots to Rock the Open Mic

Whether you’re a local musician seeking exposure or simply a music lover who enjoys homegrown Long Island talent, there’s no better place to be than an open mic night. I’ve rounded up a list of nine rocking venues that open their stages to the public once a week for a jamming session. They may offer different ambiences and menus, but they each have one focus in mind: celebrating local talent. Take the stage or listen up during a Long Island open mic night.

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Bartini Bar, Babylon

Bartini Bar is one of the oldest open mic venues on the island. It’s been hosting the event for about 12 years on Monday nights with local musician Dave Drew as the faithful host. Sign up begins at 7:45pm. Music starts at 9pm and goes through 12am. All performers are welcome regardless of experience level or preferred genre, but acoustic and rock performances tend to take over at this place. Phone: 631-539-4519 | Address: 124 N Carll Ave Rock the mic

The Velvet Lounge, East Setauket 

A guaranteed audience and diverse local talent make a Tuesday night at The Velvet Lounge a good idea. A sign up sheet starts its rounds at 8pm and performances run from 9pm until close. Host Jackie Guma welcomes artists of all kinds, including hip hop performers and singer/songwriters. Slots are only 15 minutes, but sound equipment is provided. Ages 21 and over. Phone: 631-751-7575 | Address: 10 Woods Corner Rd Rock the mic

Shandan Court, East Islip

Shandon Court welcomes anyone serious about music to its Musicians Night, every Monday from 7-11pm. And that includes all experience levels, including amateurs looking for exposure or semi-professionals interested in filming a video in a live space. The four hours are split into eight half hour sets. (Acts with drums get an hour.) The night is hosted by Gil McLean, who provides the sound system. Instruments that are simple to set up are encouraged. To sign up, text McLean at 631-891-8359. Phone: 631-581-5678 | Address: 115 E Main St Rock the mic

Red River In, Yaphank 

Feel like belting out a tune for an audience on Sunday? Head to Red River In with friends (and your instrument of choice!). Musicians of any experience level can sing or play from 3-7pm. It gets better with $20 all you can eat wings and a special draft during the open mic period, or a burger and a brew for $7. Phone: 345-6000 | Address: 450 Main St Rock the mic

Little Nook Café, West Sayville

If coffee houses are your scene, get to The Little Nook open mic hosted by Justin Odiogon and Eva Marie from 6:30-8:30pm on Mondays. This place usually attracts acoustic performers and poets. Original music is also encouraged and bands are welcome, though full drum kits don’t fit well in the space. A sound system and instrument cables are provided. The all-ages venue offers a menu that features pizza, sandwiches, coffee and dessert. Phone: 631-319-6665 | Address: 14 Washington Ave Rock the mic

MJ Dowling’s Steakhouse & Tavern, Sag Harbor 

MJ Dowling’s of Sag Harbor is in its fourth year hosting an open mic night on Wednesdays from 8pm to close. Musicians of any experience level can sign up once the spot opens at 4pm by simply jotting down their name on the signup board. There are no limitations here as a wide range of artists have taken the stage, including rockers and violinists. Phone: 631-725-4444 | Address: 3360 Noyac Rd Rock the mic

Brickhouse Brewery, Patchogue 

Rodney Harris of the local band Funkin’ A hosts a popular open mic night every Wednesday at the Brickhouse Brewery in Patchogue from 9pm-12am. All genres of music are welcome, but make sure to get there at 8pm to sign up (some acts are screened). Performances kick off at 9pm. Phone: 631-447-2337 | Address: 67 W Main St Rock the mic

Katie’s of Smithtown, Smithtown 

For a real jam session head to Katie’s of Smithtown. On Tuesday nights at 9pm, Bobby Rondinelli (former drummer of popular bands like Blue Oyster Cult, Quiet Riot and Black Sabbath) plays a set with his band. Afterward, the group invites anyone interested to come up and jam with them. The setting is informal with no signup required. Katie’s is run by artists and musicians meaning good music and a good time are guaranteed. Phone: 631-360-8556 | Address: 145 W Main St Rock the mic

Nag’s Head Ale House, Huntington

Nag’s Head Ale House in Huntington provides a relaxed atmosphere for anyone to take the stage on Mondays at 10pm. Whether you’re alone or in a group, all are welcome and there is no signup required. The bar is open all night and a Miller Light special is offered while the mic is open. Phone: 631-673-6247 | Address: 396 New York Ave Rock the mic

esme mazzeo

esme mazzeo

Esme Mazzeo is a freelance writer and TV junkie who enjoys writing arts, culture and lifestyle pieces. Follow her on Twitter @EsmeMazzeo