As part of my travels I spent a month in Berlin, and was truly astonished by how large and varied it’s music scene is. Websites like The Berliner Sessions highlight Jam Nights and Open Mics happening every single day in a scene which quite frankly dwarfs that of Manchester. Packed nights often permit just two songs, but a lot of Open Mics make use of a featured artist slot if you’re trying to book a tour.
Berlin seems to be a lot more partial to Jam Nights (a house band inviting musicians to join them or make a spontaneous collaboration with others) as opposed to your standard Open Mic, and while I prefer the latter, you are simply spoiled for choice on what to do for a musical evening in the German capital.
(disclaimer-this list is only based off of what I have seen in my short time in Berlin, I wish I could have seen it all)
5) Laksmi-Kreuzberg on Wednesday nights
As a pure music-sharing environment, Laksmi really stands out. All performances are completely unplugged, demanding the audience’s full attention amongst the smokey atmosphere. The dark red lighting and moody decor is contrasted by the friendliness of the staff and host Lucas Castillo, with free drinks and snacks rewarded to performers.
4) Jazz Jam at Hat Bar-Charlottenburg every night
In the Chelsea part of Berlin, Hat Bar brings a touch of class with its speakeasy vibe. The jazz bar located under an S-Bahn bridge runs jazzy jams every single night. The loose structure allows for an organic flow from being serenaded by the house band to stepping onstage with new people and bouncing standards off each other. With free entry, Hat Bar offers some extraordinary music up-close and personal!
3) Kilkelly’s at Kaffee Burger-Mitte on Tuesday nights
This open mic has a really gritty DIY character to it, aided by the graft of Irish host Conor Kilkelly. With an emphasis placed on songwriters, Kilkelly’s Open Stage is a relaxed but welcoming environment to artists of all experience levels, which is what an open mic should be all about really.
2) Barketts-Schoneberg on Monday nights
I only visited this vegan cafe once, but their dedicated gig space complete with sound and lighting can really complement the more experienced performer. Opening with the featured artist, Barkett’s feels less personal but more like a stage show for those who want to be entertained.
1) Kindl Stuben-Neukoln on Sunday nights
This was the first open mic I visited in Berlin when I was wandering through the city in October 2016, and I visited it a couple of times this year. Running strong since October 2015, I find this open mic almost perfect in terms of atmosphere and communal spirit, capturing the diverse international spirit of Berlin with performers from all around the world. With hot food until 11 and the warm Aussie charm of Dusty Dave, Kindl Stuben creates an air of hushed attentiveness with an amazing array of talent, allowing for some special moments of sharing music.