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Links to useful open mic guides to Budapest:

Here’s a great recent article (2016) from WeLoveBudapest.com that lists the current open mics in Budapest.

Budapest Open Mic Nights is a Facebook page worth checking out, with mostly announcements.

And Budapest Open Mic is another Facebook page, which is quite good and current, at the moment.

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 info@jackdoyles.hu 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.

FridaySzimpla Kert, 1075, Budapest Kazinczy utca 14.; szimpla@szimpla.hu; +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.; szimpla@szimpla.hu; +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.

11 Comments

  1. Pingback: Worldwide Open Mic Thumbnail Guide: Budapest Edition | Brad Spurgeon's Blog

  2. Hi Brad,
    I found your great Guide of worldwide Open Mics and Jamsession. It’s a fantastic Idea.
    I’am Running a Open Jamsession in Cologne on every third Tuesday. The Location is in Clologne-Kalk in the Bürgerhaus Kalk. Its Start on 20:00.

    I Hope if you come to Cologne
    again you will find the Chance
    to visit us.

    And if you Interested to know about other Jams and Open Mics
    I can send you a List!

    Regards Nils

    • Hi Nils, thanks very much for this response to my pages. And thanks for telling me about your open mic! I will add it to the list, and I hope that I get to come and play there soon…!

      Brad

      • Hey Brad, I’m in Tokyo looking for a singers open mic in Wednesday or Thursday. I missed Rubys. If you have a suggestion please advise.

        I host an Open Mic in NY on “some” Monday nights called SINGERS SPACE – in Bar Thalia at 95th and Bdwy. We have a closed FB page – (please request to join) jazz/standards/
        Musical theater/R&B ect . .. The house band plays any sheet music and can transpose. Come us out.

      • I’m not sure of any other places at the moment, in fact, sorry! I’ve been going more to Osaka and Nagoya, and my Nagoya list is better than my Tokyo one, I think! In any case, thanks for telling me about your open mic in NYC. I may well be going to NYC in the coming months, and will definitely check out the open mic – hoping it is happening when I’m there!!!

  3. Hi Brad its Tony I finally met you at KARMA in Shanghai. Am going to Budapest tomorrow gonna check out the scene – cheers!

  4. Pingback: An Update to My Budapest Open Mic Guide | Brad Spurgeon's Blog

  5. Pingback: Update of Thumbnail Guide to Budapest Open Mics, Jam Sessions and other Live Music | Brad Spurgeon's Blog

  6. Hello Brad, a friend sent a link to your blog. I don’t see London on your list so perhaps my event isn’t relevant. I’ve been running a vocal jazz open mic event monthly for more than sixteen years. The event itself celebrated its 20th Anniversary in June. Its called Singers’ Night and takes place on the second Tuesday of each month. We have singers of all ages. Some are beginners while others are accomplished singers. Most sing jazz standards. We usually have one instrumentalist on keyboard or guitar. We also run recording workshops and other events for the singers.
    Singers sing on a first come basis. Singing List taken from 6.00pm. music from 7.45 to 10.30pm.

    Singers’ Night, The Nelson, 48 Stanhope Street, London NW1 3EX, Telephone: 020 7388 2283. Nearest Underground Station, Warren Street. Delicious food at reasonable prices is served at the venue. You can reserve a table if you order a meal. For more information on the event itself phone Chris Legee on 020 7703 0648.

    • Thanks very very much Chris. London is indeed a big hole in my open mic lists. My lists are for places where I have played, and play regularly. Having said that, I HAVE played in several open mics in London. But that was a few years ago, and I think NONE of them exist anymore. Also, there’s the amazing, “Virtually Acoustic” site I usually refer people to. BUT, I really should do a list eventually for London, and I’d love to try your open mic, although I don’t do jazz! Anyway, if and when I do a London list, I’ll definitely get this on! Thanks very much. You know about the Virtually Acoustic web site for all of the UK open mics, I imagine? (It doesn’t have much detail about the places, though.)

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