Explore Omaha’s Local Open Microphone Nights

Omaha is renowned for its immersive music community, with various open mic nights and jams for aspiring musicians, poets, comedians, and others to perform and showcase their talent. Visiting several of these events, it is clear that each venue has a distinct character, attracting diverse crowds and offering unique entertainment options for art lovers in the city.

If you plan on attending an open mic night or jam, ensure it is happening before heading out as many events may be closed or postponed due to weather or scheduling conflicts. Some hosts may also push events back a week. Despite these occasional disruptions, Omaha boasts several excellent open mic venues for entertainment enthusiasts.

Shakedown Street Tavern, located in downtown Benson, stands as the original open mic night in Omaha. Currently hosted by musician Brixz Gonzaba, the event takes place every Monday night at 8 pm. Gonzaba says that the open mic format is flexible and dynamic and the performers are not required to sign up in advance. They usually have 5 to 6 performers some nights but may have as many as 15. The performance I witnessed featured six artists, including a comedian, an Americana songwriter, and Lorenzo DeCoco, from the band Radio Of The World.

Dry Spokes, a mocktail and NA bar located on 19th and Leavenworth, is a recent addition to Omaha’s open mic scene and offers a more upscale, cozy atmosphere than other venues. The bar hosts open mic nights alternating Thursdays, and they initially had online signups. However, they now have a whiteboard at the entrance of the bar, making it more convenient for customers who may not be online all the time. The event I attended saw only two performers, including Aaron Kruger, but the venue’s stylish ambiance shows much potential for future gigs.

North Omaha Music and Arts (NOMA), situated on 24th Street, has a long-standing tradition of holding open jams on Mondays and Tuesdays at 7 pm. The Monday night event offers more traditional jazz jams while Tuesday features a contemporary music session. The jam sessions encourage young people to perform alongside the seasoned musicians of the community. During my visit on a Tuesday night, NOMA executive director Dana Murray led the group, which featured several young performers, and the entire experience was truly magical.

The Down Under Lounge, located on 35th and Leavenworth, is one of the most popular open mic venues in Omaha and hosts its event on Wednesday nights at 8 pm. Currently hosted by Mad Darling, this event is well-attended and has some familiar faces such as Justin Lamaoureux and Katie Kasher performing regularly. The changeovers were relatively quick, and Mad Darling’s expert hosting kept the audience engaged throughout the night.

Echoing the essence of the Grateful Dead and Husker Du, Brokedown Palace hosts an open mic night every Tuesday at 8 pm, with most musicians highly recommending this event. Though I attended when the host, Sam Hatfield, was out of town, Craig Mustard did an excellent job filling in. The Palace offers a comfortable, living room vibe with couches, creating a relaxed atmosphere.

Omaha’s open mic community boasts top-ranking venues where art enthusiasts have plenty of free entertainment options. Every venue has its exceptional character, and attending these events gives a memorable experience of Omaha’s vibrant community of artists.

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