We all know Berlin boasts something of a vibrant musical culture, and with so much going on it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. So we’ve compiled a list of the best open mic nights on offer so you’ll always know where to go to watch up and coming talent. And if you fancy taking to the stage yourself, there’s somewhere new to perform every night if need be!
Start your week off the right way by heading down to one of these events:
- arcanoa, Am Tempelhofer Berg 8, 10965 Berlin (Kreuzberg) – known colloquially as ‘die Bar mit dem Fluss im Tresen’, this is one of the prettiest bars you’ll find in the city. There’s a unique warmth to this place, so make sure you play here at least once!
- Café Sandmann, Reuterstraße 7, 12053 Berlin (Neukölln) – tucked away on a quiet Neukölln corner, Café Sandmann boasts a welcoming team of avid music lovers and a great audience. It’s easy to see why it’s been a Berlin institution for nearly 40 years!
- 12 Grad, Frankfurter Allee 24, 10247 Berlin (Friedrichshain) – super friendly staff and cheap drinks complement this quirky cabaret-style haunt. There’s always something happening… plus the ambience is great.
- Barkett, Czeminskistraße 10, 10829 Berlin (Schöneberg) – this venue’s pretty small, but it has a great atmosphere and the stage is still a decent size (it’s covered in moss for some reason, so it’s definitely an experience to remember).
- Lagari, Pflügerstraße 19, 12047 Berlin (Neukölln) – this cosy Neukölln gem has something of a familial vibe to it; everyone seems to know each other here. Plus, the staff are really friendly and you can treat yourself to American-style pancakes after your set.
Beat the midweek blues at one of these south-eastern open stages:
- Laksmi Bar, Wrangelstraße 93, 10997 Berlin (Kreuzberg) – always featuring performers of an eclectic mix of genres and ages, it’s obvious why Laksmi’s renowned open mic nights are so popular. The owner is potentially the nicest person you’ll meet in Berlin, but be sure to get there early (no later than 8.30pm) if you want to play before 1am, as slots tend to fill up very quickly!
- Bar Bobu, Müggelstraße 9, 10247 Berlin (Friedrichshain) – this Friedrichshain haunt hosts Stage Time: a weekly open mic night dedicated to singer-songwriters and acoustic acts. As with Laksmi, sets here are very much in demand, so show up as early as possible.
- Prachtwerk, Ganghoferstraße 2, 12043 Berlin (Neukölln) – don’t be intimidated by the imposing architecture; Prachtwerk’s open mic nights are a fairly laid-back affair. The events here are better suited to solo or small groups, and the acoustics are brilliant (as is the wine selection).
Thursday evening events are slightly more niche, but we’re sure you’ll find something to suit your taste:
- Zanjabil, Colditzstraße 27, 12099 Berlin (Tempelhof) – this particular open mic night is organised in collaboration with Kulturgarage Tempelhof; an artistic collective who celebrate intercultural identity. Niche genres are especially welcome here!
- Kugelbahn Wedding, Grüntaler Strasse 51, 13359 Berlin (Wedding) – if you’re into kitsch, we’d wholeheartedly recommend Kugelbahn! Their open stage is really relaxed, plus there’s bowling in the cellar until the early hours. They’re sadly due to close at the end of 2018, so make sure you get a chance to perform here before it’s too late.
- Leuchtstoff Kaffeebar, Siegfriedstraße 19, 12051 Berlin (Neukölln) – see how much vegan banana bread your body can handle before playing a set at one of their super-friendly events.
Celebrate the start of your few days of freedom and pay a visit to one of these Berlin staples:
- DODO, Großbeerenstraße 32, 10965 Berlin (Kreuzberg) – stylistically, DODO’s open stages are a real melting pot of different genres, so you’re sure to find something interesting. Places are limited to a maximum of five per night, so you’ll have to email them beforehand to ensure you get a spot.
- Flop, Lüderitzstraße 74, 13351 Berlin (Wedding) – this spirited open mic night/jam session is always a lively event, with a guaranteed super peppy audience to cheer you on. They’re open until 5am, so feel free to celebrate your performance afterwards.
If you still have any energy left by Saturday night, you should definitely take the time to explore some of the cosier bars offering slots to eager performers:
- Café Stadtkind, Lychener Str. 39, 10437 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg) – if you’re in need of a sunny getaway but your wallet won’t allow it, we’d recommend you pay a visit to Portuguese-style bar, Café Stadtkind.
- bei Ernst, Sprengelstraße 15, 13353 Berlin (Wedding) – this one is an adorable little venue where the audience act like extra-keen parents there to support their offspring. The staff are lovely and, while it’s not the most visually exciting of bars, the atmosphere is great and often spills out into the street.
Mourn the end of the weekend and give it the send off it deserves by spending your evening at one of these popular open mic nights:
- Madame Claude, Lübbener Str. 19, 10997 Berlin (Kreuzberg) – enter a topsy-turvy world in the weird and wonderful setting of this former brothel, a stone’s throw from Schlesisches Tor U-bahn. Entry is by donation (typically €1-€3) and the atmosphere’s surprisingly relaxed.
- Kindl Stuben, Sonnenallee 92, 12045 Berlin (Neukölln) – bring your weekend to a close with a cosy evening at the intimate Kindl Stuben. It’s a great location with friendly bar staff, and you’re pretty much guaranteed a great line-up.
Want to hone your performance skills and try these open mic nights for yourself? Take a look at BIMM Berlin’s courses on offer here.