Thanks to Grand Rapids' burgeoning music scene, you can make your way to clubs, venues, listening rooms and epic album release parties to hear cover songs performed to their fullest potential in front of a crowd. But if you want to be ahead of the pack, or just get a sneak peek at the songwriter's process, then you may want to pay a visit to one of the various open mic or songwriter's nights hosted here in Grand Rapids. Most artists need a place to try new material in front of an audience, and for some just making their way into the music world, this is a no judgment and nurturing environment that connects musicians with potential new fans.

To start off I would follow the Open Mic Fam Facebook page. The page offers a full list of the open mics around town, and there is one every night of the week.

Some of the most popular are:

Stella's Lounge

Not only can you enjoy a good burger at Stella's, you can also find great live music on Monday nights.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


O'Toole's Public House 9:30 – 1:00 AM
Enjoy this Irish pub that focuses on making customers feel at home while enjoying a variety of local talent.

Rockford Brewing 7 PM – 10:30 PM (summer only)
Head upstairs at Rockford Brewing for a beer and listen or perform on a great sound system in a cozy lodge style atmosphere.

Stella's Lounge  8:30 PM 
Order their famous burger and choose from a vast selection of bourbon, while listening in this hip downtown spot.

Despite its massive size (the brewery now takes up an entire city block), Founders’ focus on quality brewing is still showcased by its specialty taps in Grand Rapids.

Tuesday nights feature local talent and local beer at Founder's. Nice.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Founders Brewing Co. 8 PM (21+ after 9 PM)
Hosted by local musician Nicholas James Thomasma, this is a popular night. In addition to the treat that is playing on the Founder's stage, listeners also get to drink Founders beer. Win win.

Rocky's Bar & Grill  9:30 PM
Bring your own instrument and join the fun, or just sit back and enjoy the excitement of free music. Hosted by Sam Kenny, Open Mic Night at Rocky's is full of energy and menu specials.


Gipper's Bar and Restaurant 7PM 
With its laid back atmosphere, Gipper's provides a chill space for performers of all kinds to take the stage. Playing with other musicians is highly encouraged. Who knows? You may find your next band!

Mayan Buzz Cafe offers Central American-derived coffees, organic espresso, organic teas, smoothies, and sandwiches.

Take a sip and take the stage at Mayan Buzz Cafe on Thursday nights.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Mayan Buzz Cafe 8 PM – 10 PM
If a bar is not really your scene, Mayan Buzz Cafe serves great coffee and great talent. This open mic doesn't stop at music though! There are often book signings, local artists, fundraisers, and tastings as well. 

The Garage Bar 8 PM – 12 PM
While this event is 21+ only, there is no cover charge and many menu specials in celebration of live, local talent. 


Quinn & Tuites 10 PM –12 AM (1535 Plainfield Ave NE)
The Creston neighborhood is blowing up, and this staple is still going strong.

To learn more about the music scene in Grand Rapids, visit one of Grand Rapids' listening rooms, check out the Grand Rapids Music Trail, or attend a WYCE 88.1FM live broadcast of “GR LIVE” at The Listening Room in Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids! Enjoy the free radio show is every Thursday at noon.

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