Amateur Night: Top Spots To Take The Stage In Philadelphia

May 16, 2013 7:00 AM

Getting in front of an audience isn’t always easy, but finding that audience can be even more difficult. With open mic nights at almost every bar in Philadelphia, there are quite a few places where aspiring comedians, poets, writers and musicians can take the stage. Not everyone can bring down the house at World Cafe Live, but don’t waste your time at the neighborhood dive bar either. Steal the show where it matters most at these Philadelphia venues.
Helium Comedy Club
2031 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 496-9001

At the Helium Comedy Club, both aspiring comedians and national headliners grace the stage in the same week. No one knows who could be in the audience on any given Tuesday, when Helium hosts an open mic night for those who dare to step up to the front of the intimate theater. On other nights, top-notch comedians perform their standup comedy best in front of the audience. Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, this is easily one of the best comedy clubs in Philadelphia. It even offers comedy classes and workshops for those who want to step up to the microphone one day but maybe aren’t quite ready yet.

First Person Arts
1 S. Broad St., Suite 2212
Philadelphia, PA 19110
(267) 402-2057

Twice monthly, the storytellers of Philadelphia gather to share tales in front of a live audience. Each event has its own theme, such as “Geek Out” or “Crush,” and the audience hears from 10 audience members that have a related tale to tell. Five minutes later, the audience decides which of the participants deserves the “Golden Ticket,” an invitation to the annual Grand Slam event where the best storyteller in Philadelphia is crowned. Whether you’re attending or performing, this candid, creative night will capture the imagination. It takes place at World Cafe Live at 3025 Walnut Street every second Monday of the month and at L’Etage on 6th and Bainbridge Streets every fourth Tuesday.

The Grape Room
105 Grape St.
Philadelphia, PA 19127
(215) 930-0321

Located in the heart of Manayunk, The Grape Room caters to musicians and music lovers with constant opportunities for amateurs and independent acts to show their stuff. The weekly Monday open mic night allows for artists of all genres to perform to a captive audience. The Grape Room will frequently open the doors for local bands to play a show of their own. In addition to the musical ambiance, patrons will find a relaxed environment, reasonable drink prices and slight hipster undertones. Plus, on Tuesdays, amateur comedians can take the mic over for improv or open mic night.

Related: Top Standup Comics And Comedians In Philadelphia

Connie’s Ric Rac
1132 S. 9th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 279-7587

This is one venue for amateurs to frequent, no matter what their pursuit. Connie’s Ric Rac is a stage first and foremost, and secondly, a bar. The open mic nights here pass the torch regularly between art forms, offering opportunities for locals to perform anything from music and poetry to comedy and improv. Additionally, local and traveling artists regularly perform on the theater stage, which has seen the likes of famous singer Amos Lee. As far as aspiring performers, these up-and-comers can also request to book a show here. A unique and interesting venue, both attendees and participants alike will have a memorable experience at Connie’s Ric Rac.

Speakeasy at The Kelly Writers House
University of Pennsylvania
3805 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 573-9748

Once a month, the Arts Cafe in the Kelly Writers House is transformed into the Speakeasy, where “poetry, prose, anything goes” is the theme du jour. Performances of all kind are encouraged, so don’t be surprised when amateur writers, musicians, comedians, poets, essayists or dancers take over the mic. Founded in 1997, this is a laid-back setting for writers to share their work or that of others. It’s always free to attend, and you may even leave with an outrageous raffle item. Check out the website for upcoming dates and prepare for a stimulating evening.

Related: Top Venues For Open Mics In Philadelphia

Lindsay Lewis is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at