Best Place to Debut Your Masterpiece of Songcraft - 2011
When you're ready to impress someone other than just your beloved with your songwriting genius, it's time to pick a Monday night and head to the Hotel Utah. This creaky old saloon has long been recognized as hosting San Francisco's best open mic night, and it's not hard to see why. First off, the smallish stage and two-story performance area help make the crowd seem less intimidating. The bar itself has a guitar you can use. The open mic night is hosted by successful regulars from the Utah's rotating cast of performers, so they know what fresh-to-the-stage folkies are going through. Chances are, half the crowd is waiting to perform themselves, and the other half is on hand to watch friends — so expect friendly, welcoming vibes. And if you need to settle those preperformance nerves, the Utah's capable staff will be more than happy to serve you a beer, a burger, or a shot of something more potent. Perhaps most importantly, the open mic hosts musicians at the top of their game and at the very (very) bottom. While waiting to perform, you'll likely be wowed and bored — but that's exactly how an open mic should be. Everyone gets some encouragement, and if you walk off the stage to hearty applause, you can feel a little flush penning your next tune.