Los Angeles and Surrounding Communities

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© 1996 - 2003. All rights reserved. Do not reprint or reproduce this in any form including this medium without express permission in writing from Hal Cohen.

August 2005 (Updated often - don't forget to reload)

Just a note: Not all of these listings are open mics. Some of them are showcases that are booked in advance. Booking info is always included where possible.

A to H

14 Below, 1348 14th Street, Santa Monica (310) 451-5040

This is one of the truly coolest showcase rooms in town. Though they do not have an open mic night, they do showcase some wonderful acoustic talent as well as full-bore electric acts. A couple of things make this place unique. For one, They share the same roof with Markie D's, an excellent Philly Steak joint seperated from the club by a pretty nice pool room with 4 decent pool tables. 14 Below's full bar is seperated from the stage and showcase room, but the television sets in the lounge turn into monitors when the show begins so you can still enjoy the show without leaving your bar stool (if you're so inclined). I had one of Markie's steak sandwiches, by the way - damn good!

Acoustic Playhouse, 7323 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, (323) 993-8620
Open Mic on Tuesdays. Sign-up at 8:00p.m.
Accordin to the splash page of their website, Acoustic Playhouse is "Hpme to the Singer/Songwriter" --- followed by "Welcome to the world's most outstanding artist community. Let the show begin..."
Several excellent performers have emailed me to tell me they have gigs ate the Acoustic Playhouse and the reviews all seem pretty favorable. AND they have their open mic on Tuesdays, which does not conflict with some of the alreay established OMs around town. Here are recent tesimonials from the Schmoozatorium (thanks frank & ian):

Posted by Ian Hopkinson on August 27, 19103 at 14:26:03:
I did the Acoustic Playhouse Open Mic last week (aug19) at 7323 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood
and I must say it was cosey, the sound was great and whist there was like 38 people in the hat they moved through quickly cause it is well organised..well worth checking out...cool vibe...

Yeah I was there too! It was a great night. Definately one of the best open mics in the city! Check it out! CLeo is a great soundman. Positive experience...
-Frank Hoier

Anastasia's Asylum 1028 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica (310) 394-7113

A lot of people I know love to play here. It's not that difficult to get booked and it's definitely a must-play place. Personally, this venue creeps me out a little. Remember the movie 'Carrie'? It reminds me of Carrie's mom's house with the Jesus candles on every table and tacky red velvet furniture. The other thing is - the stage is actually a loft which is perched directly over the cappuchino machine and the nozzle that's used to loudly steam the milk with drives me crazy in the middle of a performance. However, in all fairness, many disagree with me and enjoy playing there often. Hey what do I know - I guess I'm just gettin' old and kvetchy."

Cafť Bellissimo, 22458 Ventura Blvd. (1 block west of Shoup) 818-225-0026
GREAT NEWS! A great open mic and showcase is backas the The MainStreet Songwriters Showcase is held every†Tuesday night at Cafť Bellissimo, in†Woodland Hills.† Hosted by acclaimed singer/songwriter/recording artist Garret Swayne, The MainStreet Songwriters Showcase†features the finest up-and-coming songwriters, singers, poets, musicians,†and comedians in Los Angeles in a relaxed casual atmosphere.† Each week,†we'll feature one or more†original acts starting at†8:00pm, followed by a general†Open†Mic.† Participants†in the†Open†Mic should sign up between†7:30 and†8:00. Admission†is free.††Our intention†is to support and promote†the creative community†of Southern California.††During the†performances, we ask that the audience be†respectful of†the†artists and those who wish to listen.††We want to create an atmosphere that honors the song and the performer.††So please, no loud or distracting conversations during the show. Cafť Bellissimo†is†well known†for its great Italian cuisine, singing waiters, and warm friendly atmosphere.† It features a†wide menu--including appetizers, salads, complete dinners, and desserts--as well as†a full bar.††For more information or directions, call†818-225-0026.

This is a Hal Cohen favorite. Cafe Bellisimo has a great vibe, fabulous food, and a full liquor bar complete with cappucino. They also have a staff that entertains during the other nights. Imagine your busboy or waitress setting down your salad and belting out "Bobby mcgee" while while your pizza is baking. Garrett - great job landing this spot for your MSSS!

Canter's Kibbitz Room, 419 N. Fairfax, L.A. (213)651-2030

Though Canter's Deli on Fairfax in Hollywood has been around for two million years (you can tell by looking at the union waitresses who've been there since it opened), most people are unaware that the adjacent bar is a hotbed of musical activity. On any given night of the week, there is a jam of some kind going on with a different band hosting each night. On Sunday nights at 9:00pm, the Kibbitz Room has an acoustic open mic hosted by Sean, followed by his house band - The Kibbutz Kowboys hosting the classic rock jam. The crowd is a little gritty, but kinda cool, too. It's one of those places where you might feel more comfortable after you've been there a few times. Did I mention that the house band's drummer is one of the guys who spontaneously combusted in the movie "Spinal Tap"?

Monday night is a Songwriter showcase called Damage Control hosted by Dan Giles.

Cobalt Cafe, 22047 Sherman Way, (Sherman Way and Topanga) Canoga Park (818) 348-3789
At the extreme west end of the San Fernando Valley is a coffee house that's still pretty popular, even if it is considered to be out in the boonies by those who live closer to Hollywood and other parts of L.A. This place has a very cozy feel to it. There are cushy couches,original artwork on the walls and a strange, yet warm ambience in the innerspace here. The open mic is on Monday nights at 7:30, hosted by Rick Lupert. The locals here are all very talented and on the night I went, the music was on the mellow, folksy side, but it belied the potential for the more hard core music that follows later in the evening. The west end of the San Fernando Valley is a hotbed of musical talent and Cobalt Cafe is where you'll find a good deal of it. Also, I should mention that on Tuesday nights, they have poetry open mic. In fact, here is a recent email I received from Rick, the guy who runs the poetry thing:
"Hi there, Thanks for having such a thorough guide online!
My name is Rick Lupert and I've hosted the open reading at the Cobalt for the last 3 and half years. Here's some info on it. Feel free to incorporate any of this info into the Cobalt listing.

Open Reading.
Every Tuesday night at 9pm (sign up any time before or during) 7 minute time limit (pretty generous for on L.A. area open reading) 1 drink minimum
3rd Tuesday of every month the open reading is accompanied by a featured reader presented by the Valley Contemporary Poets.
Very supportive room which always includes reading veterans and people reading for the first time ages ranging from 14 to 90. We pass around a group poem which everyone adds to and which is read at the end of the evening. (which is usally awful, but hilarious)
Usually 30 - 50 people in the room and 20 - 30 people on the list. That's about all I can think of....It's usually a pretty fun evening with all kinds of poetry...funny, serious...form, beat, rhyming, insane, far too sane. Never predictable. Come by some time!
Thanks again,
Rick Lupert
Rick: You're welcome,

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The Coffee Cat, 8320 Lincoln Bl (just north of Manchester) in Westchester.

Here's a letter I got from a guy named Dennis...

They have a great stage and sound system. They opened up probably 2 years ago. They started out with an open mic, later they canceled and just showcased. It's now under new management by a nice gal named Denise. Anyway, I spoke to her yesterday and she 's was interested in starting up an open mic for next Thursday. She's going to make some flyers. She wanted me to host it. I said, that I would, but then I realized later, that I just have some music projects and might not have the time. Well, I'm wondering if you can post her place in your guide and the open mic for next Thursday...and if you would know of anyone interested in hosting. I haven't got back with her yet, but I will. Her number is 310-641-9035.

Thanks for your help and your support.
Good Luck, Bro.

Coffee Junction, 19221 Ventura Blvd. Tarzana, (818) 342-3405

Sad to say, the music at the Coffe Junction has gone on hiatus. Because Sharon has done so much for the creative community and the human race at large, I leave this listing out of respect for a true humanitarian. As soon as there's any news about Coffee Junction's future activities, you'll find it right here. In the meantime, you can visit their website for updates.

THE COFFEE GALLERY BACKSTAGE, 2029 N. Lake Altadena, Ca. 91001 (626) 398-79176

Bob Stane's Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena is host to some of the finest acts in the country. This relatively small but mighty venue continually packs the house on many nights with audiences who venture out to see and hear incredible songwriter/performers, worthy of the drive to the outskirts of L.A.

If you think you've got what it takes to perform there, here in Bob's own words (from his website) is what they're looking for:

Bob Stane is always looking for GOOD acts, especially those who still have unclaimed souls which can be acquired. Remember, this particular Central American country and The Coffee Gallery Backstage are the last entities allowed to recruit indentured servants. Tourists are warned to sign nothing. If you are wearing ruby slippers, "stay tight inside them."

Loud and rowdy rock groups may be teased but won't be asked to play. Except in the wading pool of Alligator Lagoon, while dressed in chicken suits, of course.

Fais Do-Do 5257 Adams Blvd., L.A. (323) 954-8080

Third Tuesday night of very month at 7:30pm.. A pretty good open mic for musical acts, and it is also peppered with some comedy. This place is in a tough part of L.A., so just be a little cautious around there.

The Fret House, 309 N. Citrus (between Madillo & San Bernadino Rd.), Covina (818) 339- 7020
John Taylor hosts. Another place that cares about quality, the Frethouse has been a mainstay of top flight acoustic entertainment for many years. This one's a little bit of a drive from the hub of open mic activity, but it's worth it. One catch, though - they only have open mic on the first Saturday of each month. Sign- up is at7:30 and the show stars at 8:00

The Gig (Hollywood)- 7302 Melrose Avenue - (323) 936-4440

The harder edged version of the Gig in West L.A. (see below) The names of bands playing there that caught my eye recenty: Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash and Trailer Park Pam.... just thought I'd share that.
The Gig (West L.A) 11637 West Pico Boulevard (310) 444-9807

This is the location where a lot of my favorite acts showcase solo or with full bands. Roomy, comfy, dark and good sound. The cover charge here is a bit high, but usually worth it. Local band Kelly's Lot recently organized and performed a Stop Cancer benefit here. I love this band. This is also the location for BMI's Circle of Songs, a webcast & showcase sponsored by - well who else? -- BMI... held on the last Wednesday of every month.. Find out more by going to the BMI web site.

Genghis Cohen 740 N. Fairfax Ave., Hollywood

Genghis Cohen Cantina has not had an open mic night for years, but I think Genghis is a great room to play and be seen in. Though it's not as innundated with music biz types as it once was, there are still a few that check in from time to time looking to sign fresh blood. This is not the easiest room to get booked into, but well worth the effort if you have the talent and have amassed any kind of following. As far as their booking policy, you can click on their name and it will take you to the Genghis Cohen website where you can find out everything you want to know. BTW- the food there is terrific.

The Green Room, 6752 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles CA, 90028 (323) 860-0775
According to Tulipsky's review in Digital City, "...the Green Room serves the best coffee in Hollywood. Located in a great location near Highland on Hollywood Blvd, and near many of the tourist stops, this is the place to go for a caffeine pick-me-up when in Hollywood."
Bill Ewing hosts an open mike from about 7-9ish.

Hallenbecks General Store

Hallenbeck's General Store 5510 Cahuenga Blvd. (between Burbank Bl. and Chandler), North Hollywood (818) 985-5916

One of the best showcases and open mics to emerge since Billy Block's Western Beat.

Open mic is every Tuesday night hosted by Bruce Teitell. Sign up at 7:30 for the 8 o'clock show.

The latest incarnation of L.A.'s answer to the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville is hosted by Seth Jackson and Craig Lackey, two excellent and devoted songwriters with a gift for attracting some of the best songwriters and performers in the civilized world. Though it's predominantly country flavored, the key word here is talent. It's called the Songwriters Lineup It's a Nashville-style writers held on the 2nd Thursday of each month. Each showcase has writers "in the round" plus a featured guest.There's an open mic following the scheduled performers. It's a real cool thing, and they've been getting an excellent turnout.

The Hideaway Bar and Grill, 12122 N. Kagel Cyn. Rd., Lakeview Terrace (818)890-1225

From Dave E. Conrades:

The Sunday jam at the Hideaway is still going strong and being hosted by Steve BeasleySign up around 3 p.m.  This is a great country bar.  Love to see some country songwriters come down and try their stuff!

Highland Grounds, 742 N. Highland Ave. Hollywood (323) 466-1507

Highland Grounds is a choice spot for the acoustic scene. Karen Fields holds court for "Open Mind Night" every Wednesday night at 8:00pm. - sign up is at 7:00pm and again - get there early as the list tends to fill up fast! This is probably the most popular weekly open mic in town. Many of the regular showcase acts at the club are chosen on Wednesday and it can't hurt to bring in a few friends to cheer you on. Like their flyer says "All Minstrels, Muses and Mongrels are welcome". There is a $2.00 cover at the door and a one drink minimum.

If you get ther to late to sign in or you get to play early and wish to play again, you might try jamming to TAIX in Silverlake where the sign-up time is 9:00pm for the 10pm show

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