Amateur Night: Best Places To Take The Stage In Seattle

May 16, 2013 5:00 AM

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

Seattle is undoubtedly one of the top cities in the nation for nightlife and entertainment. It is home to hundreds of bars, clubs and cafes where artists can perform their original material. For those looking for a great venue to test out original music, songwriting, poetry or stand-up material, check out any of these amateur night locations in Seattle. Or if you’re part of the Seattle audience and looking for something fresh and exciting to do at night, these venues will work for you too.

Cafe Racer
5828 Roosevelt Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 523-5282

Cafe Racer, located in Seattle’s University District, is not just a great coffee bar and place to grab a bite to eat. It is also a nighttime bar that serves alcohol and offers an open invitation for musicians to play on its stage, two nights a week. On Monday nights, Cafe Racer hosts the folk guitarist invitational from midnight until its 2 a.m. closing time. On Friday nights are The Racer Sessions, from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., where musicians of any genre can join in and sing or play along with fellow performers. Cafe Racer is known for its laid-back, bohemian-type atmosphere and for drawing a crowd on its music-themed nights.

Comedy Underground At Swannies
109 S. Washington St.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 628-0303

Opened in 1981, the Comedy Underground is one of Seattle’s most popular comedy clubs as it features both new and veteran comedic talents every week. In the past, its stage has showcased celebrity comics such as Jerry Seinfeld, Steven Wright, Ellen DeGeneres and many more. Every Monday is Comedy Underground’s “Monday Madness Open Mic” night from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. It is open to both amateur and professional comedians so they may try out new material with the in-house crowd. Every Monday night, Comedy Underground features the talents of at least 30 comics who each get a maximum of three minutes on stage to showcase their best and latest work.

Related: Best Places To Discover New Music In Seattle

Skylark Cafe And Club
3803 Delridge Way S.W.
Seattle, WA 98106
(206) 935-2111

On Wednesday night, head over to west Seattle to the Skylark Cafe and Club. Sign up for its open mic night begins at 8 p.m. sharp, so if you’re interested in getting on the night’s roster to perform, come early and stand in line. Each performer can quickly introduce themselves to the audience and then perform for a full 15 minutes. The majority of the performers are musicians, singers and songwriters, but if you’re looking to share original poetry, this is acceptible too. The Skylark Cafe and Club is fully equipped to accompany your set list, if you should need it, and has multiple amps for guitar and bass, a full-scale drum set and both mic and music stands. Types of music you can expect to hear include jazz, indie rock, hard rock, pop and electronica.

Laughs Comedy Spot
12099 124th Ave. N.E.
Kirkland, WA 98034
(425) 823-6306

Laughs Comedy Spot in Kirkland has an open mic night on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. for both amateur and professional comedians. There is no cover charge and admission is open to anyone, 18 and older. To become a part of the open mic night roster, you must sign up in advance via email, through the comedy club website. Opened in the summer of 2007, Laughs Comedy Spot was voted “Best of the City” by Comcast and features a full-scale menu of entrees, appetizers, cocktails, wine and beer. Upcoming professional performers include Aisha Tyler, Dave Coulier and Ryan Stout.

Trabant Coffee And Chai
1309 N.E. 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 675-0668

Seattle’s University District is also home to Trabant Coffee and Chai, a relaxing, laid-back coffee bar that has an open mic night every Monday at 8 p.m. Being in the University District, it is a popular college hangout and attracts independent music artists, songwriters, poetry writers and art students. Tables fill up fast during open mic night, so it is recommended you arrive early. While it is a smaller cafe, there is an upstairs area that was added on to provide additional seating to its patrons. Trabant Coffee and Chai serves vegan and gluten-free menu items, as well as a variety of specialty drinks and beer.

Related: Nerdy Nights: Best Events For Geeks In Seattle

Sue Gabel has been writing entertainment and travel-related articles in the greater Puget Sound/Seattle area since 1999. She writes about music, the Seattle scene and more. Her work can be found on

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