Fancy yourself the next Ed Sheeran, or just want to catch some fresh new talent? We’ve got you covered
Whether you fancy yourself as the next Ed Sheeran, need an outlet for that difficult second album or simply get a kick out of the heady aroma of fresh talent, open mic nights offer just the relaxed, welcoming space you’re looking for. Leeds plays host to enough of these small musical gatherings to fill a good month of your calendar, so we’ve picked out the best of the best to get your creative juices flowing.
LIVE IN THE HIVE @ NORTHERN GUITARS
With a 30-year history trading guitars on Leeds’ most famous of streets, Northern Guitars ground-floor café-bar provides the perfect cosy respite from the late-night revelries of Call Lane. A collection of neon signs fight for attention in the window and, inside, vintage posters line the walls. Live music is no stranger to this place, and on Monday nights - when the venue welcomes Live in the Hive to host its weekly open mic - the stage becomes a platform for the city’s emerging talent. Just turn up in good time on the night if you want to play.
Every Monday from 7pm, Northern Guitars, 41 Call Lane, Leeds LS1 7BT
GASLIGHT CLUB @ OPORTOBAR
Just a few doors up the road is Oporto, where come Monday night, you'll also find a host of acoustic music. Although not strictly speaking an 'open mic' – acts are booked by the bar's in-house promoters – Gaslight Club offers great opportunities to some of best songwriters, singers, acoustic acts and bands from Leeds and beyond. Think candlelit tables, an electric atmosphere and a room that’s seen some of the region’s rising stars pass through it – all as you enjoy drinking at one of Leeds’ best-known bars. Just make sure you get in touch if you want to perform; this isn't a 'turn up and play' sort of evening. You can apply by dropping email@example.com a line, along with some links to your music. The Facebook page is also a good place to start for more info.
Every Monday from 8:30pm, Oportobar, 33 Call Lane, Leeds LS1 7BT
OPEN MIND @ THE GROVE INN
As a Leeds institution and renowned hub of folk activity, The Grove Inn is a go-to spot for live acts, spontaneous sessions and musical performances every night of the week. On Wednesday nights, the venue goes unplugged, welcoming musicians of all shapes and skillsets to take the floor and entertain the room. Hosted by Giles Winterton and operating on a turn-up-and-play basis, Open Mind is a popular, friendly night with a supportive atmosphere and a smiling crowd of regulars and newbies alike.
Every Wednesday from 8:30pm, The Grove Inn, Back Row, Leeds LS11 5PL
CROONER CLUB @ WAPENTAKE
Self-proclaimed ‘friendly neighbourhood open mic night’, Wapentake’s Crooner Club has been up and running for almost two years, turning the intimate downstairs bar into a hive of musical activity every Wednesday. With a guitar, PA and amp all provided, all you need is yourself and a few songs up your sleeve – or just an open ear and a willingness to get fairly cosy with fellow customers and performers. The simple setup lends itself to a refreshingly eclectic roster of performers, with lively cheers and a range of musical talent making every night different. Head to the Facebook page to check availability and get in touch.
Wednesdays from 8pm, Wapentake, 92 Kirkgate, Leeds LS2 7DJ
SOMETHING FOR TUESDAY @ THE SHIP INN
As one of the city’s most central and best-loved pubs, The Ship Inn would seem incomplete without an open mic somewhere on its weekly schedule. That’s where Something for Tuesday comes in; the weekly open stage that sees an ever-changing line up of singers, songwriters, bands, duos, and even the odd spoken word artist take the floor for a star turn. Head on down to see the pub’s traditional wooden floors come to life with the inner musicality of whoever wants to perform. Get in touch via the Facebook page to sort out a slot.
Tuesdays from 8:30pm, The Ship Inn, 71 Briggate, Leeds LS1 6LH
WEDNESDAY NIGHTS @ GROWLERS
Heading out of the city centre to the bright lights and student heartland of Headingley, we discover bottle-shop-turned-craft-beer-bar Growlers and its Wednesday night addition to the open mic night scene. Hosted by Muted Productions and welcoming performers from every musical avenue, this is the place to get your voice heard amid a crowd of welcoming beer-sippers. Bring your own guitar, or a backing track on a device with a headphone socket, and make sure you’ve got at least two songs ready to perform. You can arrange a slot by filling out the form on the Muted website, or just showing up on the night from 6:30pm.
Wednesdays from 7:00pm, Growlers Beer Shop, 29 Otley Rd, Leeds LS6 3AA