Memphis = open mic Nights

explore local talent

By Butterflyy Allen – Guest Blogger

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It is said that there is nothing to do in Memphis. However, locals have plenty of activities available. Every night of the week  Memphians can gather at open mic nights to hear sultry sounds, poetic verses, liberal thoughts, or even comedy, music, and dance. We have a wide variety of talented souls in the fair city of Memphis. The rich history and culture that is here is not just music and Beale Street. It’s also in the mayhem of poetry. One of my greatest loves and passion is the art of words. On any given night here in the city you can indulge in Neo-Soul, spoken word, or fantasy, that comes to life in the dimly lit, intimate setting of local venue.

The Word

Monday nights are always awesome at The Word. The Word is an open mic spearheaded by one of Memphis’ own internationally recognized poets, Darius “PhatMak” Clayton. Every Monday at 8pm, you are invited to the warm and artsy setting of Slice of Soul Pizza on Madison Avenue. There is a cover charge of $5.00 with food and drink for purchase.

The walls of this establishment are lined with the local artists’ renditions of self expression. It holds plenty of seating options with a family atmosphere. Some might rumble a bit because their voice cannot always be heard over the laughter or cries of children, but overall it’s a great experience. The pool of poets, comics, singers, and dancers all come together in one united front for the arts.

When I first ventured into the building for open mic, the food was on point. I loved the veggie pizza, which used to be loaded with everything. Now it’s okay at best. On any given Monday night, you can expect your trip to The Word to cost you about $20, with food and drink purchases.


Mot & Ed’s Southern Eatery

Tuesday nights, you can catch the bi-monthly open mic at Mot & Ed’s Southern Eatery, home of the double stuffed turkey burger. If you are a Memphian and you have not visited Mot & Ed’s, then you have not seen your city. Starting September, open mic will be held every other Tuesday. Sign-up begins at eight, first come, first serve. Again, poets, singers. dancers, comics, and the like are invited to sign up. The cost is $3 if you are performing, $5 for supporters or spectators. This is a small cozy, intimate venue. The open mic is hosted by different artists throughout the city, so no one person has the spotlight, and of course you can also order food.

Mot & Ed’s is operated by Edna Hawkins, the cook. Table seating is available but limited. The menu has an array of choices, however, if it’s a packed house there will be a lengthy wait, because everything is cooked to order. I keep it simple, as my order usually consists of fried okra. Your Tuesday tab can run you a crisp $20 bill.


Clicks hump day comedy show

Wednesday nights does not belong to poetry, but there are many things you can get into on a Wednesday night. 8:30 p.m. at Clicks, it is Hump Day Comedy hosted by Oscar Pruitt. Clicks is a sports bar off of Winchester in Riverdale. You can join the open mic, enjoy food and drinks from the bar, and play a little pool. My handful of visits was to support my comic associates, and it is just not my type of setting. There are drinks and bar food like wings. You can most likely bring a $20 and be comfortable with one drink and one menu item.

brinson’s Open mic

Thursday nights is Brinson’s Chicken and Waffles, they have an open mic that’s little known. The crowd is small but it’s family, and you can grab something to eat and drink. It’s not as intimidating as a room full of strangers, so grab the mic, your talent has a platform.

Brinson’s is welcoming and it has a lot of character, with open floor plan and table seating. They have a pool table, mixed drinks, and a cook that knows how to fry some good Southern fish. I also love their fried okra, when they have it. So on any given Thursday, you can join the open mic crew at Brinson’s. You can look to spend about $25 on drinks and a menu item.



Art Unplugged

Every 2nd and 4th Sunday, Art Unplugged has featured artists from Memphis and surrounding areas, showcasing their love of words. Blow Hookah Lounge & Cigar Bar in Cordova welcomes all to embrace the mic.
I like the welcoming feel, it’s spacious has a pool table to the back which could be a little bit of a distraction during the performance. The bar is wide open, the food is good and the price is moderate. However, the talent is off the chain. You should arrive early for better seating, and line your pockets with about $30-$35 because there is a $10 cover charge. 

Visit one of Memphis’ many open mic nights and enjoy the local talent and good food, or showcase some talent of your own!

butteryflyy allen

Guest Blogger

Ellen “Butterflyy” Allen currently resides in Memphis, TN, where she is a GirlBoss. With ventures in the arts community as an author and poet, she credits being a native New Orleanian as the foundation for her welcoming nature. Ellen also finds great passion in the many hats she adorns as a writing coach, speaker, entertainment host, blogger, and talk radio co-host. She writes “To Her for Her”, the theme behind BSLinspire/Breaking the Silence through LIterature (the non-profit she founded in 2011). Ellen is also a mother of three and grandmother to three GrandKings.

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