Best Open Mics

Nuyorican Poetry Slam Photo courtesy of Daniel Gallant
By Alizah Salario

Want to sing your heart out, or dance the night away? Great local spots abound.

The Nuyorican Poets Café
236 East Third St.
For the founders of the Nuyorican, art and politics were inextricably linked. This tradition of art-as-activism continues at the Nuyorican's weekly open mics, up to three each week, where hip-hop, slam poetry, jazz and storytelling all get top billing on different nights. What's more, this intimate brick-walled space is about to explode, quite literally. In the next few years, the three upper floors of the old tenement building that houses the Nuyo will be transformed into performance, rehearsal, and classroom space. Change is coming, and fast.

Brandy's Piano Bar
235 East 84th St.
This little hole in the wall is the type of place where everyone knows your name, or at least it feels like they do. Brandy's is known for its eclectic crowd and live music, with staffers and patrons alike belting out hits from “Hamilton” to piano classics from Carole King and Elton John. Grab a reasonably priced drink, get friendly with your neighbor and enjoy some incredible performances from old and new talent. At Brandy's, you never know who might drop by.

Prohibition Bar
503 Columbus Ave.
Mondays at 9 p.m.
Musicians, singer-songwriters, rappers and poets hoping to melt their little town blues away have long frequented this popular open mic night. The down-to-earth atmosphere make it the perfect spot for aspiring performance artists to hone their craft, while locals can take in free entertainment and chow down on Prohibition's signature mini cheeseburgers. There's a strong sense of camaraderie here, and it's not uncommon to see a performer loan a guitar, or sing backup with a perfect stranger. Got stars in your eyes? Open mic sign-ups start at 8 p.m. on Mondays. All are welcome.