The Capitol Heights

Open Mic Challenge

Posted 07-27-2014

That’s a giant gold mic. We’ve decided to take the open mic challenge and it’s gonna be our trophy upon our inevitable victory. Nobody’s ever defeated the open mic challenge before. Why? Because it’s a completely made up, yet audacious and daring, challenge. Without further adieu:

We swear to play every open mic

in the DC metro area

We had this idea after playing our first show at Ireland’s Four Courts. As we were basking in the triumph of that night, we began to plan our next adventure. But we didn’t know where we should play next, which is a symptom of a larger problem. We don’t know the local music scene. DC – how should we go about getting to know you, and getting to know all about you? Well, we could read blogs about local goings-on and such like Bandwidth DC and District Sound Scene. We could also listen to podcasts like The Circus Life and HomeTown Sounds DC … and maybe work with local music organizations such as Indie Adams Morgan. Or we could just play at every damn place that will have us. And that’s what we’re going to do. And we’re going to document our travels so all those interested in DC open mics in the area can benefit.

To get this done we’ll need to create an exhaustive and up-to-date list of every single open mic in the DC metro area. To the best of our knowledge, this is like a narhwal – it doesn’t exist. We’ve checked twice. So we’ll do the research and make one. There have been reports on the best open mics in DC: DC Music Download, CBS DC, and Washington City Paper. When googling, you’re bound to come across Open Mic DC, which you might consider the holy grail for our endeavor, but alas it doesn’t do a great job. About 50% of the time they serve a nasty ad on top of their site trying to get a visitor’s personal info. Also the veracity of their information is questionable at best. We’ve been bitten twice already by this as anyone looking at our shows page may have seen last minute updates with new times and/or locations. (To be fair we could use a workshop on planning.)

So we’re going to do the research and complete the challenge, all the while reporting back on this blog. Check back for updated info on every venue we hit and your biweekly dose of hilarity. Our completely unreliable guess is that this will encompass ~30 open mics in total, but who knows? Just to be fancy we’re using Google Maps to show you the location of all the open mics as well. We’re really looking forward to it and we hope to see you out there!

EDIT: Ok so we lied – we’ve had to set some ground rules. While we initially thought open mics within the beltway were a good idea, we’ve expanded a little because there are a lot of good open mics just outside that precious slow-moving circle. Here are our rules:

  1. The open mic must be open and operational while the challenge is active. If we ever see that we’ve played all the open mics in the DC area – then the challenge is complete.
  2. The open mic has gotta be fairly near the beltway. 45 minute drive or less from the White House.
  3. The open mic must be “open” to anyone playing any style of music.
  4. The open mic must be music focused – that doesn’t mean that poets, storytellers, and comics can’t be there, it just means that music must be a principle component. It’s awkward to be the only person playing music when everyone else is doing poetry or performing comedy. Trust us.

Our Schedule & Trophy Wall

Here’s an up to date list of the open mics and DC alongside those we’ve played. Click the completion date for our review! If there’s an asterisk next to the date, the open mic occurs at irregular intervals (like every third Sunday.)

Bohemian CavernsWed8:00 PM2001 11th St. NW,
Washington, DC 20002
Aug 26, 14
The Vinyl LoungeTue7:00 PM3401 K St,
Washington, DC 20007
Jul 7, 14
Branded 72Mon8:30 PM387 East Gude Dr.
Rockville, MD 20850
Jun 9, 15
Board and BrewTue7:30 PM8150 Baltimore Ave.,
College Park, MD 20740
Apr 14, 15
Rosies & RockersSat7:00 PM2001 13th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
Mar 28, 15
Republic TakomaSun9:00 PM6939 Laurel Ave,
Takoma Park, MD 20912
Mar 22, 15
Sauf HausTue8:00 PM1216 18th St NW,
Washington, DC 20036
Mar 17, 15
The Outta The Way CafeThu7:00 PM17503 Redland Road,
Rockville, MD 20855
Feb 19, 15
Brittany’sMon8:00 PM12449 Dillingham Square,
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Dec 15, 14
Soho Tea and CoffeeSat*8:00 PM2150 P Street NW,
Washington, D.C. 20037
Dec 6, 14
Kentlands Mansion / Arts BarnFri*8:00 PM320 Kent Square Road,
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Nov 7, 14
St. Elmo’s Coffee PubWed*7:30 PM2300 Mount Vernon Ave,
Alexandria, VA 22301
Sep 24, 14
Busboys & PoetsWed9:00 PM1025 5th Street NW,
Washington, DC 20001
Sep 10, 14
Northside SocialN/AN/A3211 Wilson Blvd,
Arlington, VA 22201
Aug 31, 14
Iota ClubWed8:00 PM2832 Wilson Blvd,
Arlington, VA 22201
Aug 27, 14
Tami’s TableThu/Fri7:00 PM12944 Travilah Road
Potomac, MD. 20854
Aug 1, 14
Modern TimesFri8:00 PM5015 NW Connecticut Ave,
Washington, DC 20008
Jul 23, 14
Madam’s OrganWed8:00 PM2461 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
Jul 16, 14
Hell’s BottomTue7:00 PM6420 Orchard Ave,
Takoma Park, MD 20912
JVs RestaurantWed8:00 PM6666 Arlington Blvd,
Falls Church, Va. 22042
Epicure CafeThur8:00 PM11104 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22030
Electric MaidThur*8:00 PM268 Carroll St NW,
Washington, DC 20012
Bloombars??3222 11th St NW,
Washington, DC 20010
O’Shaughnessy’sMon8 PM1324 King St,
Alexandria, VA 22314
Irelands Four CourtsTue8:00 PM2051 Wilson Boulevard,
Arlington, VA 22201

Open Mic Closings: Northside Social, Phase 1, Fast Eddie’s, Trade Roots, Tammi’s Table, and the Pinch have either suspended or stopped their open mics.

Rule Violations:

  • Busyboys & Poets was removed from the challenge because it is not musically focused, instead focusing on poetry.
  • Zoo Bar was removed from the challenge because it only allows blues. They are serious about it.

Open Mic Map

Here’s where we’ve been playing at!

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