The Bistro in Hayward. Photo cred: Yelp

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in Palo Alto for 19 years, it’s that there’s no shortage of talent. Engineers are also jazz singers, programmers play the electric bass, law students moonlight as standup comedians. Here are four open mics south of San Francisco that cater to the casual performer.


The Bistro in Hayward

8pm start time *21 and over*; 1001 B Street, Hayward, CA

The Bistro, just across the San Mateo Bridge and easily accessible by BART, hosts its open mic on Mondays. It boasts a large collection of craft beers and a small selection of appetizers. They are known for a very chill vibe, with instruments hanging on the walls and laid back but engaging waitstaff. Keep a note that they’re cash only!

Red Rock Cafe in Mountain View

6:30pm sign up, 7pm start time; 201 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA

Red Rock is a very popular open mic around the Bay; local artists have gotten their start in the little coffee shop in the heart of downtown Mountain View. The café is very intimate, so it’s a good place to try out your set for the first time or the fiftieth.


Angelica’s in Redwood City

7:30pm start time; 863 Main Street, Redwood City, CA

What sets Angelica’s apart from the rest of the places on this list is that it’s a full-service restaurant. Not only is the food delicious, but the owner Peter is known for spotting talent at these open mics — so you might get your own show booked. Music is generally acoustic with the exception of electric bass, so plan accordingly.


Bobby D’s in Redwood City

7:30pm sign up, 8pm start time *21 and over*; 700 Winslow Street, Redwood City, CA

Bobby D’s is definitely a bar. Just around the corner from the Fox Theater in downtown Redwood City, Bobby D’s is a hotspot for locals. If you’re nervous to perform, at least most of your audience members will be a little happier than usual. From hip hop to heavy metal, Bobby D’s pulls a crowd.

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