Open Mics in Chicago

383063_10100377701230987_615191073_nI get asked at least once or twice a week about where to find an open mic or poetry event in Chicago on any given night. I figured it’s about time I put together a comprehensive list of some of my favorite shows in Chicago that happen on a regular basis. I hope this is a useful resource. Seek out literature. There’s plenty of it in our great city.

If you host a recurring show in the Chicagoland area and you’d like to add it to this page, feel free to shoot me an email (sully at whoisdansully dot com) and I’ll update it.

Please note that these events, though welcoming to all kinds of performance art, are primarily poetry open mics. As you may or may not know, the art of storytelling is alive and well in Chicago.  Our friends at Here’s the Story keep up a great calender of storytelling events and open mics in Chicago that can be found here.


Tha Gala (Every 2nd Monday)
110 E 23rd St.
8 pm. $5. 18+.

Mental Graffiti (Every 3rd Monday)
Cole’s Bar – 2338 N Milwaukee Ave
Poetry Slam: 16+, 21+ w/ID to drink. $5

Weeds Poetry Open Mic
1555 N Dayton Ave.
10 pm. Free. 21+.


WordPlay at Young Chicago Authors
1180 North Milwaukee Avenue
6 pm to 8:30. Free. All Ages.

L.Y.R.I.C. Open Mic
Ya Mberry’s Kitchen, 2051 E. 79th St.
7 pm. Free (donations requested). Teens and older.


In One Ear

Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood Ave.
9 pm. Free (donations suggested). All ages.

Soul Speak
Bistro by the Pier – 580 E Illinois St.
9 pm. $5 (Free before 9:30). 21+


Voice of the City Presents: Urban Sandbox (Every 2nd Thursday)
Voice of the City Studio – 3429 W. Diversey Ave.
Doors: 7:30 pm, Show 8 pm. $5. All ages.

Soul Restoration
Soul Vegetarian East – 205 East 75th St.
Doors: 7 pm. Show 8 pm. $7 general admission. $5 for open-mikers.

The Surviving the Mic Open Mic (Every 3rd Thursday)
Vintage Underground Boutique, 1507 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The Surviving the Mic Open Mic is open to anyone
who identifies as a survivor of some kind of trauma,
with mic priority given to survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Open to folks 18 and up. 7-9pm.  To be considered as a featured performer,
please email at


Real Talk Live (New info coming soon!)


The Uptown Poetry Slam
Green Mill – 4802 N Broadway St.
7 pm. $7. 21+.

The Spoken Word Lounge: Speak!
1200 w. 35th St.
7 pm. 18+.

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