Links to useful open mic guides to Budapest:
Budapest Open Mic Nights is a Facebook page worth checking out, with mostly announcements.
Brad Spurgeon’s findings on Open Mics in Budapest:
Budapest is a musical city with lots of folk music and classical music and some popular music, and one of the biggest rock music festivals in the world: the Sziget Festival. But it is not a city that is really strong on the tradition of the open mic and open jam. Having said that, it is the location of one of the best open jam sessions I have ever attended, at the Szimpla Kert, and it has its mainstay Irish pubs that have open mics, or open MCs and bands. Moreover, since I started going to Budapest, there has been more and more open mic nights, as you can see in the first link above from welovebudapest. Unfortunately, I’m never in the city from Monday night to Wednesday night, so I don’t get to try the three open mics listed for those nights.
Thursday – Jack Doyle’s, 1052 Budapest, Pilvax köz 1-3. ( Varoshaz u. 10 in a taxi ) + 36 1 796 9009 firstname.lastname@example.org A traditional Irish pub in downtown Budapest right near the tourist area of Vaci Street. But this is a fun pub with atmosphere – see the books corner – and it has a very open approach to music, including a weekly open mic on Thursdays, and a kind of “mixed night” of music on Saturdays, where apparently any musicians are also allowed to take to the mic. During the open mic at Jack Doyle’s on Thursday, which starts after 10 PM, there is a duet of musicians that play before opening the stage to anyone. It can get a bit unruly with clients taking to the mic to sing anything that enters their head without an instrument – but that’s a real open mic.
Friday – Szimpla Kert, 1075, Budapest Kazinczy utca 14.; email@example.com; +36 20 261 8669. See a full description below, for the jam. On Friday nights now, starting around 9:00 p.m. there is what they call an open stage, which from my single experience there feels a little like a cross between an open mic and a jam. In other words, the stage is open to all musicians to do their thing, but the organisers may want to play along with you as they did with me at this open stage in Szimpla when I went.
Sunday – Szimpla Kert, 1075, Budapest Kazinczy utca 14.; firstname.lastname@example.org; +36 20 261 8669. One of the most amazing places to visit in Budapest nightlife, the Szimpla garden bar area is located in a building that used to be a factory and was slated for being torn down. It then got turned into a series of bars, a recording studio, a beer garden, a place for films and lots of music and the jam session on Sunday nights. Here is a great description from the web site: “The opening of Szimpla Garden in 2002 has been literally and also symbolically a milestone in the alternative life of Budapest. Converting an old factory into a huge open-air cinema and pub, we were able to create a unique framework for hosting concerts, theatre shows and many different cultural events. Szimpla defines itself as a ’cultural reception space’, indicating our intention to embrace genres and performers off the mainstream, presenting them in an informal atmosphere. Moreover, with constantly supporting initiatives for urban sustainability, Szimpla has been serving as an ultimate incubation house of green ideas from the very beginning.” The Szimpla jam has been on and off, so don’t get your hopes up. But if it is on, don’t miss it. An open stage where anything goes; sing your own songs or join into the Szimpla jam free-for-all with lots of musicians on all sorts of different instruments.