Open mic nights are a truly awesome experience that can open you up to a whole new scene, complete with getting the chance to discover your new favorite bands and local artists. Even if you do end up sitting through a performance or two that might belong on on an “American Idol” out-takes reel, one thing’s for sure: open mic nights in Houston are always guaranteed to provide an interesting, unique night on the town. Whether you’re a patron or a performer, use this list as a guide to Houston’s best open mic night venues for some of the city’s best amateur talent.

Photo Credit: McGonigel’s Mucky Duck via Facebook

McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
2425 Norfolk Ave.
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 528-5999

This little gem might be a bit easily overlooked in Houston’s typical bar scene, but that’s because it’s an entirely different kind of place. McGonigel’s Mucky Ducky is an Irish pub that features a very popular open mic night every Monday at 7 p.m. (sign up by 6:30 p.m.) You’ll hear plenty of folk, country and acoustic renditions by performers that spent their afternoon in classes at Rice or a long day at the office. Not only does the pub feature an impressive array of live music almost every night, but the Mucky Duck has been listed by Billboard Magazine as one of the 20 best acoustic venues in the country.

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708 Telephone Rd
Houston, TX  77023
(713) 923-4277

This artsy local coffee shop is a great place for sandwiches, coffee and beer or wine, either on the outdoor patio or inside, among the walls decked out with pieces from local artists. Bohemeo’s is also a great place for open mic night, as this bright little shop offers up its stage two nights a week to amateur musicians.  From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays, Bohemeo’s offers a standard open mic night for both poets and musicians. On Wednesdays it’s The Beatles open mic night from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., where you’ll hear both acoustic and electric renditions of classics by the fab four.

Photo Credit: Richmond Chill Bar & Grill via Facebook

Richmond Chill Bar & Grill
4704 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX  77027
(713) 622-0775

As a tiny dive bar that seats 26, Richmond Chill Bar & Grill is an unlikely favorite for open mic night. The cozy feel of the place and close proximity to the musicians gives off a very intimate atmosphere, making it one of the most unique places to catch local artists perform. This bar and grill makes it a point to call out that Wednesday night is “not karaoke, this is real music by real musicians.” The event is hosted by Mark Zeus, a local recording artists. Open mic starts at 9 p.m. and lasts well past midnight, so you can listen to the soothing sounds of acoustics, hand drums and electric guitars as you kick back with a beer.

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Avant Garden
411 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006
(832) 519-1429

If you’re looking for something different, look no further than the Avant Garden. This place not only offers open mic night every Tuesdays at 9 p.m., but it also features everything from belly dancers and erotic poets to punk and hip hop performers.  As one of the best places to see local performances, this three-story home has a varied history, as it was once the place where Howard Hughes played as a child before it was used as a halfway house and then left abandoned. But don’t let Avant Garden’s past fool you; the venue is now one of the area’s best live music venues and most popular wedding locales. Its eclectic history offers local musicians of all genres a great place to play.

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Té House of Tea
1927 Fairview St
Houston, TX  77019
(713) 522-8868

Té House of Tea is a relaxing tea house perfect for studying by day and taking in a variety of cultural entertainment by night. Monday is open mic night for musicians, poets and spoken word artists and begins at 9 p.m. Té is a fixture for those interested in the liberal arts and a place that heavily supports its community. Whether you feel like performing or just listening to others head on over to Té every Monday’s night.

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Kristi Rivera is a freelance writer born and bred in Houston, Texas. She is also known as the Rock Band queen, Trivial Pursuit virtuoso and spelling bee champ. She is a lover of music, books, pop culture, blue jeans and high heels. You can find her at some of the best live shows and nightspots in Houston. Her work can be found at