Open Mic nights: You don’t have to go far

Story and photo by Emmy Gyori

Whether you feel like snapping your fingers along to the dramatic word, laughing tell your stomach hurts, or even being moved to tears by a beautiful melody- all while sipping your beverage of choice- Orange County has an open mic option for you.

Best for: Up and Coming Bands

The Gypsy Den

125 N Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 9270

This restaurant-coffee shop hybrid opens up their stage every Monday and Thursday night to local musicians- particularly popular OC indie bands- wanting to entertain their always busy crowd. Every inch of The Gypsy Den is covered in fun, unique artwork that has been hand-picked.

Senior film production major Lauren Huff goes every Thursday night, “it’s a great place to hear really talented local bands and the craft beer isn’t too shabby either!”

Best for: A night of Intellectual Stimulation (Poetry)

Portfolio Collection

2300 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90814

With over 25 years of poetry readings under their belt, Portfolio is a must for any aspiring open mic-est. Friday and Saturday nights are acclaimed in Orange County for their live art as well as great menu and beverage options. Poets new and old come to the stage to try their hand at it or sharpen old material.

Best All-Around

Max’s Café Noir

220 N Malden Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832

A charming hole-in-the-wall that offers a little bit of everything- local musicians, poets, and comedians all try their hand on stage. Wednesdays & Thursdays are reserved for musicians and Fridays for the comedians. With an old fashion feel and great coffee, this is the perfect café for a night experiencing the Open Mic.

Best for: Comedy

Anchor Bar (Monday nights)

2675 Irvine Ave, Costa Mesa

No cover charge, personal pizza, great performers- Monday nights at the Anchor Bar “are so awesome,” says senior English major Gianna Giusti. “Every type of stand up under the sun stops by.” A cute dive bar located near Newport Beach with comfortable seating that has musical performers on other nights as well. 

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