Links to useful open mic/jam session guides to Nice (& Monaco):
Sorry, but I have not found any lists even close to being up-to-date. So I will not lead you astray with the one I did find….
Brad Spurgeon’s findings on Open Mics in Nice (& Monaco):
Over the years I have performed at a lot more open mics and jam sessions in Nice (& Monaco) than I have listed here, but most of them have either closed down or I cannot find further trace of them or they have stopped their open mic, like at Paddy’s Pub, Ma Nolan’s, Johnny’s Wine Bar, etc. But what I have listed below is what I know exists now as I write. Why have I grouped together Nice and Monaco? It’s just the entirely quirky, personal nature of this blog and list: When I go to Nice, in general, it is for the Monaco Grand Prix. And Monaco is not an open mic kind of town – with its emphasis on glitz and glamor and its rich people. I have, however, played in two or three different places in Monaco, and the mainstay was always McCarthy’s Pub, which often had live music and the band was always open to letting another player play. But I think it has either closed down or changed management, and I have yet to check it out this weekend as I write. So actually, I do not have a listing for Monaco as such in the open mic area, but if you’re going to Monaco, you can go to Nice, just a short (20 minutes) train ride up the coast. So for the quirky reasons of this blog, that’s why you get Nice and Monaco together, exceptionally.
Monday – The Snug And Cellar, 22. Rue Droite and 5. Rue Rossetti, Nice, FR. This British pub is the perfect venue for an open mic. It has a small, cosy, ground floor pub where people can talk and chit chat and socialize, and a basement “cave” with vaulted ceiling where the open mic takes place, and people can listen. Still, there can be lots of talking during the open mic as I found out the one time I played in it. Otherwise, it is a great little open mic and there were lots of musicians and spectators when I played at this open mic at the Snug & Cellar. The sound system could be better, but it is such an intimate location to play in that there’s almost no need even for the amp – except for the chatter….
– King’s Pub, 15 rue de la prefecture, 06300 Nice, France, +33 4 93 62 17 11. Generally this is more active in the winter months than summer, but go and ask! Although the emphasis is normally on rock in this pub, the stage is open on Sunday night and Monday night for a jam session, that is like an open mic – you want to play, you go up and play. The stage is high and narrow, the sound system is generally good, the crowd is not always bursting at the seams, but it’s a mainstay venue in old Nice.
Tuesday – Le Jam, 8-10 rue du commandant Raffalli – 06000 Nice, FR. Tel. 04 82 53 29 29. A great open mic-cum-jam session in a chic, cocktail lounge kind of environment, but very relaxed and anything goes. It starts after 9 p.m. and has a good back line, including drums. So a band can play, or you can join the band, or you can go up and play all by yourself with your instrument and your songs, as I did when I took part in Le Jam’s jam. A pleasure to attend an open mic in a section of Nice outside the old town, where all of the other open mics take place.
Wednesday – Shapko Bar, 5 Rue Rossetti, 06300 Nice, France. Located just around the corner from the Snug, mentioned above, this amazing music bar is completely different in vibe and approach, but just as worthy – or, because it is devote only to music and bar imbibing, let’s say even more worthy. Owned and operated by Dimitri Shapko, a fabulous Russian expat sax player, the bar has a different style or approach to its music showcase every night. On Wednesday nights it is the open Vocal Swing Jam Session, and that is just what it sounds like – an more. IE, you can get on stage and sing songs with the band – drums, piano, bass, guitar, sax, etc. – or you can even ask to join in on one of the instruments, or an instrument you bring yourself. Although the emphasis is on jazz, they let me do “Wicked Game,” and some of the other songs were close to pop-rock as well. The rounded stage is a pleasure to mount and the audience is there to listen.
Sunday – De Klomp Bar, 6 rue Mascoinat, 06300 Nice, France; +33 9 82 34 14 21. The jam session/open mic starts late here, after 10 PM. The feel of this bar is young, vibrant, and cool. It is like a British pub, with a large choice of draft beers. The sound system is good, the little nook of a stage area at the back of the room looks like a little recording studio, with sound insulation on the walls, and the smoking room is right next door, which means that when people go to smoke a cigarette inside, they can still hear and see you perform. A great addition to the open mic scene in Nice.
– King’s Pub, 15 rue de la prefecture, 06300 Nice, France, +33 4 93 62 17 11. Another jam session night – see full description on Monday listing above.
Other Live Music Joints
The main places you would want to start looking at for full-fledged bands and other cool musical stuff are, in fact, in all of the same places mentioned above, but on different nights. They all have music on other nights. The only other one I would want to add at the moment – although all you have to do is walk through old Nice and you will hear music emanating from almost every street and pub, is:
– Jonathan’s Live Music Pub, 1 rue de la loge, 06300 Nice, Tel : 04 93 62 57 62. This nifty bar used to be run by the Canadian Jonathan who leased it in order to open up Johnny’s Wine Bar around the corner, which he has in turn sold. He used to hold open mics in this place and the other, that were legendary, and frequent. But he’s not doing that anymore. Something of the spirit remains in this bar – and I turned up one night to hear Joe Danger playing his regular gig, and he saw my guitar, I approached him, and he let me play. The cellar cave room is fabulous, with wooden tables along the walls. The sound system, don’t know if it is good or not, since the chatter level was massively high!