Tired of hearing the same old songs on the radio? Many DC restaurants, bars and shops feature open mic nights where the area’s best bands, solo singers, poets, comedians and other acts get on stage and show their stuff. Grab your friends, a cup of coffee or cocktail and check these venues out.

Photo Credit: Speakeasy DC via Facebook

Speakeasy DC
1525 Newton St. NW
Washington, DC 20010
(240) 888-9751

Open Mic: See calendar of events

When was the last time you heard a good story? At Speakeasy DC, guests are treated to candid stories about a wide variety of topics, including dating disasters, traveling, living with disabilities and other interesting matters. Each show features a theme, such as band camp or paranormal experiences, and a handful of locals who share their true, personal stories related to the theme in seven minutes or less. Performances are held at various locations throughout DC. Want to learn how to tell an engaging story yourself? Speakeasy DC also offers a variety of classes, online courses, webinars and private coaching to help you tell the best stories.

Photo Credit: Riot Act Comedy Theater via Facebook

Riot Act Comedy Theater
801 E St.
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 697-4900

Open Mic: Tuesdays

While many of comedy’s greats have graced the Riot Act Comedy Theater stage—including Eddie Griffin, Josh Blue and Paul Mooney—Tuesday nights feature local and national newbie comics (and the occasional famous special guest). No reservations are required and entry is free, although there is a two item minimum per person. The venue features a dinner theatre vibe with a full-service bar and traditional American fare such as sliders, paninis and pizza, two large viewing screens and a lot of space to move around. To get the best seat in the house, get to the theater early since seating works on a first come/first served basis.

Related: Best Live Latin Music in the D.C. Area

Photo Credit: Red Palace via Facebook

The Red Palace
1212 H St.
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 399-3201

Open Mic: Wednesdays

Step inside a bar unlike any you’ve ever been in before. The Red Palace, formerly known as the Palace of Wonders, is a unique spot that features real, vintage sideshow artifacts like miniature mummies and the supposed severed finger of Pancho Villa. You’ll also find three full-service bars and a stage that features a wide variety of acts, including burlesque, sword swallowers, fire breathers and more. On Wednesdays, the Red Palace features an open mic night that showcases many of the same type of performers. You’ll never know what to expect –interpretive clown dancing, anyone? The Red Palace also provides traditional bar fare including wings, burgers and even fried green tomatoes.

Related: The Best Karaoke Bars in the D.C. Area

Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com

Potter’s House
1658 Columbia Rd.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 232-5483

Open Mic: Thursdays

Looking for a spiritual performance? This Christian coffeehouse, bookstore and cafe features open mic night every Thursday night. Participants share their hopes and dreams of a better future through song, dance, poetry, rap and freestyle. On Friday nights, Potter’s House features Sounds of Hope, another open mic event that raises money to benefit different local charities each week. Enjoy a delicious meal in the cafe, explore the art gallery or wander around the bookstore and gift shop. Potter’s House also features a Recovery Cafe where people in recovery from substance and/or alcohol abuse meet for live music, food and fun. The Recovery Cafe occurs on the third Saturday of each month.

Photo Credit: moderntimescoffeehouse.com

Modern Times Coffeehouse 
5015 Connecticut Ave.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 362-2408

Open Mic: Fridays

A true hidden gem, the Modern Times Coffeehouse is a gathering place for those who wish to bare their souls in front of a rapt crowd. Located inside the Politics and Prose bookstore, this popular feature showcases local singers, poets, musicians and other performing artists on Friday nights. Grab a coffee or delicious cookie or pastry and find a seat in the cozy lounge area. The coffeehouse also features rotating paintings, sculptures and other exhibits by local artists. After the show ends around 10:30 p.m., browse the bookstore or participate in bookstore events like author readings and book club discussions. Unlike traditional bookstores that feature the latest trending book, Politics and Prose features books about our nation and the world.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.