Archive for category Reviews of Open Mics

Review: Malelani Cafe Open Mic in Ventnor, NJ (with updates)

Malelani in Ventnor NJ

Malelani in Ventnor NJ

Malelani is a cafe in Ventnor, NJ. Open since last Memorial Day, Malelani has a very unique feel. Their open mic is held on Saturdays, and are supposed to start somewhere past 7pm. They wait until more people show up.

Starting with the good parts: Everyone that works at Malelani is awesome. I specifically talked to Steven Winklestein and he’s an awesome person. He’s a self-proclaimed writer of mystical prose and poetry, and has recently published a children’s book entitled “Elephant, Elephant, Come Alive!” about Lucy the Elephant. Honestly, Steve is a cool enough guy and I hope he sells so many copies that he needs to make more. Everyone else I encountered was very nice, and on a separate occasion I was even invited to smell the teas before I made my selection! Yummy. The tea was very good, and the atmosphere is warm and cute.

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Review: Sherlock’s Books & Cafe Thursday night open mic

Sherlocks Books and Cafe

Sherlock's Books and Cafe

This is Alternative Soul’s infant cousin, the only living relative of the open mic family from Pratt’s Hill of Beans.

Sherlock’s Book and Cafe is the home to a lot of arts and music in the Smithville/Galloway area. It’s also the home of Unrestricted“, Ray Tyler’s adult open mic. Some of you may be wondering, “What happened to ‘Alternative soul’ at Pratt’s Hill of Beans?“. It’s here at Sherlock’s Books and Cafe in Smithville/Galloway.

Ray Tyler hosts this event, which starts at 8 and goes until 10pm. It’s a solid mix between singers and poets, and has some of the feel that “Alternative Soul” had at Pratt’s. There were gift card giveaways to newcomers and the talent was really good. Ray always starts off the night with some discussions and jokes, and some original poetry of his own.

The crowd varies in age but from what I saw, it was anywhere from late teens to late 30s, and everyone had about 10 minutes to perform. It was a good night, and a great job on Ray’s part by keeping Alternative Soul alive.


  • Sherlock’s Books & Cafe with host Ray Tyler
  • Thursday Nights starting at 8pm and continuing until 10pm
  • 45 South New York Road (Route 9) Galloway, NJ, 08205

You can also download a print-friendly list of our open mics by going to our “List of Open Mics” page!

Feel free to check out pictures of the new construction: New Addition at Sherlock’s Books and Cafe

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Review of the Bus Stop Music Cafe Open Mic in Pitman

The front of the Bus Stop Music Cafe in Pitman, NJ

The front of the Bus Stop Music Cafe in Pitman, NJ

I went to Pitman to find out what the Bus Stop Music Cafe was all about. I was told it was great and boy was I told right.

The deatils:

  • Every Tuesday starting at 7pm.
  • Located at 148 S. Broadway in Pitman, NJ
  • Hosted by Vick Martinson
Host Vick Martinson at the Bus Stop Music Cafe in Pitman

Host Vick Martinson at the Bus Stop Music Cafe in Pitman

The bares bones truth is that this open mic rocks. I say that fully knowing how cliche that sounds on an open mic blog, but that’s just the way it is. I highly recommend the Bus Stop Music Cafe. I place it in the same league as the Barrington Coffee House, which I reviewed earlier this year. There must be something about the area!

So where do you start when you’ve already built something up so much? Probably with a picture of the inside:

The inside of the Bus Stop Music Cafe is lined with records

The inside of the Bus Stop Music Cafe is lined with records

And while this photo serves more as a testament to the event’s popularity, it also gives us a glimpse at the inside. The Bus Stop Music Cafe has the same kind of cool feel that Coffee.Comedy in Sea Isle City has, which is a very good thing.

I’d like to also note that there were people of all ages, and everyone was very talented!

Outside of having a great crowd and a cool inside, the Bus Stop Music Cafe’s open mic night has a dedicated soundman. His name is “Wolfman Fran”, which is just as awesome as the idea of a dedicated sound-guy at an open mic. There’s not much more to explain other than the fact that he did a great job. Oh, and he turns out echo when Vick announces someone. “Hereeeeeeeee’s Joe!”

Wolfman Fran keeping everything under control

Wolfman Fran keeping everything under control

(The Bus Stop is also holding it’s own with a very nice Bose speaker setup. Definitely a treat.)

Let’s review:

  • Packed event – don’t worry about showing up to three people, because it’s a well known night.
  • Cool environment – if the walls don’t make you play more soulfully, it’s your own fault.
  • Dedicated sound guy – Because you’re tired of listening to “Can you hear my voice? Is my guitar too loud?

I should be getting paid for this kind of thing! But seriously everybody, check out the Bus Stop Music Cafe on Tuesdays, it’s a great time.

(And don’t forget: You can download a print-friendly list of open mics! It includes this one and is ALWAYS up-to-date. Get it here:

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Ocean City Fine Arts League Poetry Open Mic

The Ocean City Fine Arts League, soon to be known as Art on Asbury, is a quaint little art gallery nestled right in the heart of Ocean City (located at 608 Asbury Avenue). Paintings, sketches and photographs hang neatly on the walls, and the din from the street outside can be heard as a muffled whisper through the front door.

Every fourth Friday at 7:30 pm, the League hosts a poetry-only open mic, run by a man named Bud Cole. He is a genial, lighthearted sort of fellow, with a friendly disposition that puts the mind at ease.

Bud Cole, the host of the Ocean City Fine Arts League open mic

Bud Cole, the host of the Ocean City Fine Arts League open mic

According to Cole, the Rules of the open mic are simple: everyone gets a turn, then everyone gets another turn. No destructive criticism, and everyone must have fun. Oh, and nothing, absolutely nothing, is taboo. No one will ever find a closed door at the League, though young children probably shouldn’t be included on the guest list.

This no-holds-barred attitude allows for the expression of many topics ranging from racism to political satire, spousal abuse to true love. Expect emotions to be shown. Expect laughter and tears, but most of all, expect people. Expect people telling stories through poetry. Whether through haiku, free-form or sonnets, the people who frequent this event feel comfortable enough to open up and tell those around them what they’re thinking.

We’re here to give the poets a chance” remarked Cole when asked what the motivation behind the open mic was, “it’s about the poetry.”
There’s even a professional poet in attendance; Ray Garman, author of the book Crossing Waters, makes regular appearances at the open mic, sharing both his own poetry and that of his favorite poets.

That’s another thing: the poetry recited doesn’t have to be original. It’s perfectly acceptable to read works penned by other authors. In fact, when I went, one woman recited several haiku written by her daughter living in Arizona.

The gallery is a small one, but the crowd that gathers there is welcoming, providing a great environment for any poet, especially those who are more up-and-coming than others. There’s seating for fifteen people, give or take, and a handicap-accessible bathroom in the back. All in all, this place is a pretty neat venue, definitely worth the trip if you’re in the area.

(Great job, Josh, on your first article at JerseyMic!)

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EHT Jamz on June 20th, 2009 at Pratt’s Hill of Beans (pics + video!)

EHT Jamz Poster

EHT Jamz Poster

EHT Jamz on Saturday, June 20th, 2009 at Pratt’s Hill of Beans

In case you haven’t read the overview of the “EHT Jamz” open mic at Pratt’s Hill of Beans, you can check it by clicking below:

EHT Jamz at Pratt’s Hill Of Beans in EHT, New Jersey

The weather was pretty crummy, but there was still a good turnout for EHT Jamz. The open mic is run by Adam Shaber, and his dad, Matt. There’s two videos and a ton of photos from the night!

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The Barrington Coffee House “Wide Open Mic” in Barrington, NJ on Thursdays

The Barrington Coffee House Open Mic Night

The Barrington Coffee House Open Mic Night

On Thursdays in Barrington, NJ, you can visit the Barrington Coffee House for their “Wide Open Mic”. The night begins at 8pm, but signups start at 7:30. The place is packed, so make sure to get there and sign up EARLY. The Barrington Coffee House is on 131 Clements Bridge Rd, Barrington, NJ 08007.

You might be asking yourself, “So why should I go out to Barrington for this event?”. Let me answer by saying that it was voted the best open mic in New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly. But don’t let me explain it, take it from NJ Monthly itself:

“If you want to perform at the Barrington Coffee House open mic, make sure you sign in right at 7:30 on Thursday night. The event, which runs from 8 to 10 pm, is always full. The cafe is small, so you’ll want to grab a seat early. But don’t let the size fool you; the Barrington Coffee House attracts quality local performers—and national acts on Friday and Saturday nights.”

Best of

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