open mics are a great way to scratch that itch of wanting to play songs with and/or for people. it can be a great way for people who don't play in public to get their feet wet, try out the stuff they've been learning for themselves. or it can be a great way to "get back on the horse" for those who haven't played in a while. or, it can be a great opportunity for musicians who do get to play out to try out new material before they add it to their act. no matter what the circumstance though, open mics can be a really fun way to meet other people and musicians.
typically, most open mics allow 3 songs or 15 minutes, you usually sign up on a list, you always bring your own instrument (except drums if the OM offers a full kit), and quite often there are amps available. but every place is different, so find out before you make the outing so you're not stuck with too much or not enough gear.
here's a comprehensive list, with my comments on what i know about the OM (style, gear provided, etc). if there are no comments it means i haven't been there or haven't heard about what they offer.
Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst St. near Grant, 9pm-12:30am. mostly a singer-songwriter acoustic night, usually with a bass amp, electric guitar amp, and keyboards available for the asking (shameless plug, this is the one i host!).
Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St., following a songwriter showcase. usually starts around 9:30 or 10, mostly a singer songwriter acoustic night. you have to talk to Mike Meldrum to get a spot, they don't keep a list, and i'm not sure if they go in order of attendance, but i haven't been there in years since i host on OM on mondays too.
TUESDAY: there's a ton...
Al-E-Oops,5389 Genesee St.- 8:30-11:30pm: Hosted by Eric Joseph. as far as i know this is a full band, jam-type open mic. i've also heard it gets pretty busy so you need to get there early to sign up on their list.
Bokans Pub, 2847 S. Park Ave., 9pm: Hosted by Dean
Brennan’s Bowery Bar, 4401 Transit Rd., 9pm: Hosted by Joe Dzialak
Broadway Joe’s Bar & Grill, 3051 Main St., 10pm: With the Gay Todd & the Sprockets. as far as i know this is a rock/jam open mic, and i do believe they have a drum kit.
Cafe Allegro, 1374 Hertel, 8pm: Hosted by Tim Baldwin. nice acoustic open mic.
Clarence Center Coffee Co., 9475 Clarence Ctr. Rd., 7:30pm: Open mic. not sure who's hosting these days but it's another nice acoustic open mic.
Daily Grind Cafe, Lockport - 7-9:30pm, Lockview Plaza.
Elmwood Lounge, 522 Elmwood, 8pm: Hosted by Charlie Reed. i think this is a mostly acoustic format but it may have changed.
Riley Street Station, East Aurora, 8:30pm: Acoustic Open Mic with John Deibel & friends.
Central Park Grill - nothing is published about this OM but it used to be run by Liz Abbott and was mostly acoustic. not sure what the dealio is these days but i know it's still a hoppin open mic.
Double D’s Queen City Grille, 1051 SHeridan, 9pm: Ray Barry & Friends
Kate’s, 1125 Tonawanda St., 8pm: Open jam with Big Tobacco. mostly blues in a jam-type format, i do believe they have all gear available, just bring your own guitar. i don't think they keep a list.
Limerick’s Lakeview Pub1957 Lakeview Rd, 8pm
Merlin’s, 727 Elmwood, 11pm: Hosted by Ed Wyner. starts late but goes late. all out rock format, and i believe they have gear.
Rock City Bar, 8881 Buffalo Ave. in NF, 9pm. i think this is a new place.
Tudor Lounge, 335 Franklin St., 9:30pm: Hosted by Largevandriver. very eclectic with all sorts of talent. no actual sign up list, just have to talk to Largevandriver to get a slot.
Caz Coffee Cafe, 688 Abbot Rd., 7pm: Hosted by Mike Mendez.
Root Five, 4914 Lakeshore, 7-11pm: Open mic night with Dan “J”
Steelhead Irish Pub, 453 Center St. in Lewiston, 9pm, hosted by Ray Barry & Melissa Munno.
Stillwater, 483 Delaware- 9pm: with Michael DiSanto
Daily Grind Cafe, Lockport, 7-9:30pm
Don Pablo’s, 1591 Niag. Falls Blvd., 5pm: Hosted by Paul Dylin. i don't know this open mic, but i know Paul, so my guess is it's eclectic with lots of popular covers and some originals.
Metzger’s Pub, 4135 Seneca St., 10pm: Hosted by Bill Burger, Scott Joy & friends.
Al-E-Oops, 5389 Genesee St., 9:30pm. Hosted by Eric Joseph. as far as i know this is a full band, jam-type open mic. i've also heard it gets pretty busy so you need to get there early to sign up on their list.
Ernie’s Beef-N-Ale-, 3167 S. Park Ave. 9pm: Open Mic
Heroes, 6621 Main St., 10pm: Hosted by Paul Dylin. fun covers-type OM, with occasional jam sessions.
Jet Port Lounge, 9822 Porter Rd, NF, 8pm: John Dudley & Friends Acoustic Open Mic.
McGarret’s, 946 Elmwood, 10pm: Hosted by 3 Left Feet. Ages 21+. i've heard this is a really cool, full band open mic.
Summit Street Saloon, 320 Summit St., Lockport- 9:30pm: Herman & Farley’s Magictonez Variety Show. the Magictonez are very fun diverse guys. haven't been to this OM but i bet it's fun.
now, get out there and play some music!