On every evening of the workweek, diverse downtown hangouts host open-mic nights to provide musicians and other artists of all talents and genres with the opportunity to perform live, while also providing audiences with the chance to experience something new, or to simply chill out while enjoying unpredictable entertainment. These evenings are also ideal for traveling musicians who don’t have the proper connections to organize their own concerts in Budapest, but who would happily play a short set in a new city. We’ve collected the best places to stand behind (or in front of) the microphone.
Many people rave about Budapest’s vibrant nightlife scene, and almost as many people complain that there aren’t enough live-music venues here. While it’s hard to argue with that, we have some good news: more and more places now host open-mic nights, providing opportunities for those who are tired of recorded tunes to enjoy live music amid intimate settings. Here are five open-mic nights taking place at different Budapest venues every weekday night, with all of them open to the public for free:
Jelen Bisztró (Closed)
Jelen’s open-mic Mondays welcome every type of performer, from comedians to poets to freestylers to musicians. For the latter, they can provide a microphone, an acoustic guitar, and a stand, and they can play for 15 minutes (comedians have seven minutes to make the audience laugh). The venue’s chilled-out atmosphere and their signature drinks will surely get you in the mood, whether you are performing or sitting in the audience. A great way to start the week!
Mika Tivadar Mulató és Kert (Closed)
Mika Tivadar Mulató was one of the first Budapest venues to hold open-mic nights, and luckily for us all, they still believe in these inspiring events. On these special Wednesdays, the stage is set up on the ground floor before the main window, where lots of people walk by – so a large audience is kinda guaranteed. The organizers grant every performer an acoustic guitar and a microphone, but all other instruments are the performer’s responsibility. You can sign up in advance at email@example.com. If you don’t want to perform, you can enjoy a great variety of live music and Mika’s fine potent potables. (UPDATE: Open-mic nights at Mika Tivadar are suspended for the summer season, but they are expected to restart here in autumn!)
Szimpla Kert attracts thousands of visitors every day, especially on Fridays. So the fact that their open-mic nights, called “Szimpla Open Stage”, happens to be on that same workweek-ending day, is like a dream coming true for every performer. Up to this point, these events are exclusively unplugged, but there are plans to make it available for bands with electric instruments, too. However, that shouldn’t hold you back from giving a serenade to the girl you’ve just met there, or to play some of your favorite tunes for your friends. Just like the aforementioned open-mic nights, Szimpla Open Stage is also free.
For more details on Budapest’s open-mic nights, check out the Budapest Open Mic Facebook page.