Lately, I’ve been trying to find ways to bring more live music into my life that are affordable and also don’t require driving to PNC Pavilion. I was introduced to open mics around Charlotte recently — and it’s been exactly what I was looking for.

Here are five open mic opportunities in Charlotte worth trying out if you’re looking to either perform, or just enhance your school nights with a good brew and some great local talent.

Legion Brewing

Mondays at 7 p.m. (Signups begin at 6:30 p.m.) No cover.

This is a great option if you’re just looking to grab a beer (or four) and also absorb some local music. It has a low-key vibe and generally a pretty good turn out. There’s a growing crowd, and it continues to bring in new people every week.

1906 Commonwealth Ave.

The Evening Muse

Mondays at 8 p.m. (Doors open at 7 p.m.) $3 cover charge.

If you’re really looking for a more intimate space, and to give the music all your attention – The Evening Muse is for you. It’s the best listening room in town – not a bad seat in the house, and everyone is there for the music. There’s also always a featured artist, so you get both local acts and one touring performer as well.

3227 N. Davidson St.

Smokey Joe’s Cafe

Tuesdays. 9 p.m. $3 cover.

This one is a bit different in that they have a house band, the Smokin’ J’s, playing along with the open mic. Performers can jump in and join the band even if they don’t sing. It’s the best live music you can see on a Tuesday (for $3) because you’ll get a full band’s worth of music. It’s often referred to as the spot musicians go after work – and it shows.

510 Briar Creek Road

Heist Brewery 

Wednesdays. 7 p.m. No cover.

This open mic takes place in the back bar – there is a great sound system and the stage is huge. There’s also trivia at 8 p.m. in the restaurant – so if you feel like getting in two forms of entertainment you have the option. This is a relatively newer open mic, so it is slowly growing in attendance. While the crowds may be smaller, the people behind it are wonderful. Let’s just say I came to write this article totally solo, and I left with several beers and shots in my belly, and a couple new friends.

2909 N. Davidson St., Suite 200

Jack Beagle’s

Wednesdays. 8 p.m. No cover. 

If you’ve never been to the stage at Jack Beagle’s you’re missing out. Their outdoor space is one of my favorites in Charlotte – it feels hidden away, almost like you’ve stumbled upon a friend’s really cool backyard. The stage outside is fairly large and is elevated, so you feel more like a performer, making it a really fun stage to play on if you’re coming to perform, and a great space to hang in if you are coming to listen.

3213 N Davidson St.

Photos: Marty Price/Charlotte Observer,

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  1. Three happening major open mikes, Moochies on Idlewildrd, Dreamchasers and Buddy’s point. All three major venues with awesome talent, full backlines and backing bands when needed. Really missing out if these aren’t included. A who’s who of local musicians are sure to be at any of these