Open mics for the budding songwriter

Do you like to write your own songs? If so, maybe you often break out the guitar and sing for friends. Perhaps you’ve always harbored a secret ambition to perform in front of crowds. In any event, you might want to share your musical creations with new listeners. Attending a friendly, nonjudgmental open mic is a surefire way to nurture your burgeoning talent. Although many of Portland’s open mics require that participants be 21 or over, the following venues welcome performers of all ages.

The Lehrer Pub & Eatery
8775 S.W. Canyon Ln.
(503) 384-2442

If you’re not quite ready to be a soloist, but you still
desire to make music with others, attend one of the acoustic jams at The Lehrer. Portland Casual Jam s hosts minor-friendly jam sessions at the pub on Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. It’s easy to get out to the pub; just take the number 58 bus from SW Jefferson and Broadway. “Come on out and let’s jam,” said organizer Rob Bodhii Wolff.

Recognizing that musical events open to minors tend to be few and far between, Portland Casual Jams has plans to start a new, all-ages open mic and jam session at the Wolf Den Music Space at 5220 N.E. Sandy Blvd. Check out their
website for updates.

Three Friends Coffee House
201 S.E. 12th Ave.
(503) 236-6411

Do you want to be recorded for posterity? The Three Friends Coffee House in inner-Southeast records a podcast of its weekly open mics. Open mics are held every Monday at 8 p.m., and all ages are welcome. The cafe welcomes poetry, comedy and spoken word as well as music. Enjoy the diverse entertainment options as you dine on delicious sandwiches, salads and pastries. There are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options.

If you want to hear what’s going on, visit, where all of the podcasts are archived.

Artichoke Music
3130 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
(503) 232-8845

This cozy venue, which is attached to a music store and school, is a Portland institution. Folk and acoustic music lovers regularly flock here to enjoy performers both young and old. “Kids are always welcome at everything we do,” said Artichoke’s Jim Morris.

The open mic is held every first and third Thursday night. Although there is a piano on site, most performers choose to bring their guitars. Get there early to sign up to play your song for a supportive, enthusiastic audience. Your name will be chosen at random. While you’re waiting to get called up, enjoy a small menu of light snacks and beverages. Admission is $5.

PSU Open Mic
Smith Memorial Student Union Building, 101
N.W. Corner of Main Floor

Did you know that one of the best open mics is right under your nose? The Portland State Professional Sound Department holds the PSU Open Mic every Tuesday night from 7-9 p.m., with the exception of the first week of the term. PSU provides sound and lighting, but you need to bring your own instrument. Last year, the open mic was held at the underground Food For Thought Cafe; the new location should bring more visibility.

For more info, email [email protected] or visit