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open mic | © Ed Schipul/Flickr
open mic | © Ed Schipul/Flickr
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The Best Open Mics In New York City

Picture of Michelle Lam
Updated: 6 October 2016
Whether you want to fulfill your dream of becoming a standup performer or you’re simply in the mood to savor a set of eclectic, soulful performances while you sip on a drink, Manhattan offers plenty of open mic venues to choose from. Hone your skills or witness the newest up-and-coming talent in music, comedy, and the performing arts. Here we profile Manhattan’s best open mics.
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Sidewalk Cafe

Situated in Alphabet City, Sidewalk Cafe fosters a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere for audiences and performers alike. This legendary establishment is where countless performance artists have gotten their start, so pay it a visit for a memorable evening out.

Sidewalk Cafe, 94 Avenue A, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 501 1482.

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Nuyorican Poets Cafe

Cozy, edgy, and exuding an undeniably creative vibe, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe caters to the artistic set on Monday open mic nights and Friday night poetry slams. Numerous talented participants who have competed in national poetry events come to put on some powerful, unforgettable performances.

Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 East 3rd Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 780 9386.

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Village Underground

The Village Underground is spacious enough to hold a crowd of over 200 people comfortably, yet it maintains an intimate, creative ambiance. This dimly lit, vibrant lounge is filled with aspiring artists on Sunday open mic nights. The soulful acts transcend race, generation, and occupation.

Village Underground, 130 West 3rd Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 777 7745.

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Klimat has a warm, inviting ambiance as the place for refreshing, authentic stand-up comedy shows in the East Village neighborhood. Head downstairs for entertaining nights at the Laughing Buddha Comedy Open Mics, or unwind upstairs with a few drinks. Overflowing with atmosphere, Klimat is a great venue for after-work relaxation.

Klimat, 77 East 7th Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 917 214 0589.

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Comedy Cellar

One of the best open mic comedy clubs in Manhattan, Comedy Cellar gets crowded, especially on weekends. Its immense popularity attracts big names such as Louis CK and Aziz Ansari, so don’t be surprised if you see a celebrity or two enjoying their fill of X-rated humor. Comedy Cellar is perfect for a late-night laugh.

Comedy Cellar, 117 MacDougal Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 254 3480.

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Don’t Tell Mama

Don’t Tell Mama is a small, classic piano bar with no cover charge. Come by for their Broadway open mic night every Saturday from 10:30pm to 2am. Bring your own sheet music, sing a song, or sit back, relax, and watch the performances.

Don’t Tell Mama, 343 West 46th Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 757 0788.

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UNDER St. Marks Theater

This small hidden theater underneath St. Marks showcases eccentric improv acts every Tuesday night. Aspiring artists head over to perform their acts at UNDER St. Marks Theater in abundance, so there’s no shortage of extraordinary shows for audiences to enjoy.

UNDER St. Marks Theater, 94 Saint Marks Place, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 777 6088.

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The People’s Improv Theater

The People’s Improv Theater was a critics’ pick winner of The Village Voice‘s ‘Best of NYC 2012: Best Comedy Open Mic’. Loyal patrons flock to this comedy club to savor free and inexpensive improv shows nightly and have a quality laugh. Featuring a wide variety of standup acts, this comedy club accommodates comedy of every kind.

The Peoples Improv Theater, 123 East 24th Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 563 7488.