As someone who actively goes to as many open mics as I can every week, I have been in search of the best open mics in the area.
I have found that there are 3 basic types of open mics. There are over 40 open mics in the Buffalo-Erie County/Niagara County area.
My apologies to the Niagara County Open Mics which I have had limited time to reach in the last 6-8 months.
That is the ONLY reason they are not on this list. My apologies to Chuck DiRose, Ray Berry and Dave Thurmond.
Here is the list of types and some of the more notable examples of ones I have visited recently.
I have listed two monthly open mics, the rest are weekly. The monthly open mics are Talty's and the Roycroft Inn.
Traditional open mics.
These are open mics that have lots of players come up to play typically 3-5 songs on average. The host may be play a song or
2 to break the ice and get the crowd into it. The host typically does not try to do show-stopping songs to show up the performers to follow and may
on occasion be able to provide someone to add to the performance with another instrument.
These open mics are in 2 categories:
Type 1: Band open mics or acoustic-individual/duo open mics.
Some of the more notable Band open mics are:
Couzins in Boston, NY: Good host and host band. They welcome new performers and are happy to collaborate with a performer if they would like.
More electric than acoustic.
The Byrd House in Orchard Park, NY. Very much electric and band-oriented. Very instrument oriented.
Craft Tap House in East Aurora, NY: Leans heavily towards band and lots of collaboration. Acoustic, nice blend of instrumentals and vocals.
Metzger's Pub in West Seneca: Heavy electric with a southern rock influence, loud, lots of musicians playing, fairly noisy, good instrumentals with vocals a little harder to hear.
Type 2: acoustic-individual/duo open mics
These tend to be smaller groups or geared to individuals or duos mostly.These are the most traditional open mics of all, since performers do not need to be in a find a band to play here:
Moonshiner's in Hamburg: Very acoustic, sound is phenomenal, good hosting and appreciative audience, owners very supportive. They have a featured performer each night who plays early that has opportunity to play longer and show off their original music.
Clarence Center Cafe in Clarence Center: This longest running open mic gets up lots of performers every night, sometimes 15 or more, good hosting, appreciative audience, lots of collaborating- musicians "banding together" to play. A cultural/community supported phenomenon. This open mic has released 2 CdDs to raise money for charity.
Al-E-Oops in Clarence: Also has bands play, lots of collaborating, good hosting and a host band ready to help if you want backup.
Duke's Bohemian Grove: Dedicated sound man, mostly individual based, featured performer starts early.
Nietzche's in Buffalo: Well supported, featured performer starts early.
Stockman's Tavern in Swormsville: Acoustic and small indoor crowds in cold weather, big outdoor crowds at the "Tiki Bar" in back during the summer.
Gypsy Parlor in Buffalo: Good hosting, younger crowd with a few electric players but mostly acoustic, very nice intimate setting.
The Library in Amherst: Lots of acoustic duos, appreciate crowd with good hosting.
O'Neill's Stadium and Bar in Orchard Park: Good Hosting, more acoustic with a fun but often indifferent crowd. Younger crowd.
Millkie's on Elmwood in Buffalo: Very supportive owner of this mostly acoustic open mic with good hosting. Younger crowd.
Roycroft Inn in East Aurora: Acoustic, Very good performers, hosts prefer students and talent from the East Aurora area.
Talty's in South Buffalo: Very acoustic- Lots of performers with a very accommodating core group of performers from the Charlie O'Neill's "band".
Type 3: Headliner Open mics
These are open mics with a known entertainer or band that acts as host.
Lackawanna Grove Bar in Lackawanna: Heavy acoustic, good sound, good host who is very accommodating to new performers and who loves to collaborate.
Anchor Inn in Cheektowaga (Not Anchor BAR): Good host that stops playing to let you play 5 or more songs.
Hideaways in Hamburg: Great sound engineering, good performers, very electric, heavy instrumental. Host band has trouble giving up the stage to other performers.
Francesca's In South Buffalo: Heavy acoustic, Good sound, good host who is very accommodating to new performers and who loves to collaborate.
Brick Oven Pizzeria and Bar: Acoustic/electric sound with both band and individuals with a good host.
Backstage Pub in Buffalo: Heavy acoustic, Good sound, good host who is very accommodating to new performers and who loves to collaborate.
Colden Lakeside Resort: Good ownership, beautiful facilty.
For more information, and a list of open mics you can go to by the days of the week( and an updated rating system of open mics in the area)
go to: openmicreviews.com, or call me at 716-602-4588. Tim Weir