Whether in a tiny pub no one knows about with enough smoke to smell up your clothes for a week or a hipster spot working its hardest to deviate from the mainstream, budding singer/songwriters have to get their start somewhere.
And who knows? The musically inclined weekly performer at Dada may be a headlining act one day. As part of the music scene here in South Florida, we actively support these aspiring stars in the best way we know how -- by guzzling booze and yelling "right on" at the stage.
If you'd like to join in on the action and catch a few local musicians who write their own songs before they make it big, here are ten of the best bars or restaurants where you can watch singer/songwriters in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
10. Beat Cup Café
Artsy décor and the fact that it's a café? The Beat Cup screams "songwriter heaven." It may look like a regular coffee establishment, but really, it's so much more. It's a haven for creativity that locals can listen in on.
At the Beat Cup Café, you can get your hair done at Salon Resta next door, gorge on empanadas at the same time you're chugging a capp or frappe while checking out bands like Hollywood's Beach Day and Boca's Pretty Girls.
It's a homey spot for local acts to earn their chops or get a little wild; they've even hosted a "spontaneous" jazz release party at Beat Cup.
St. Paddy's is around all year at the Dubliner. Originally, there was only one location in Boca, but this Irish bar's style moseyed on over to Fort Lauderdale's loudest grouping of bars, Himmarshee, last summer.
The atmosphere consists of rather dim lighting and leather décor, kind of like a hip library where you might get Guinness spilled on you. And speaking of, there's an actual library located upstairs with Irish literature, so feel free to drunkenly get your James Joyce on. A word to the wise, though: Ulysses doesn't exactly provide very sexy pick-up lines. Not that you can hear over the local sounds blaring.
If you like the blues, this is where you'll find them. Each Sunday, original blues artists, including Albert Castiglia, Flyers, JP Soars & the Red Hots, and Living Daylights, perform at this hot spot. We say, bring on the harmonica -- we're ready!
Once an actual house and now a home for foodies and performers, Dada provides cozy decorations, delicious (but pricey) meals, yummy cocktails, and a perfectly fine rug upon which local bands can explore their personally penned tunes.
After gulping down a delicious Key lime pie shot, you can enjoy the talents of folks like indie out-of-towner Paleface or local electronic act Astrea Corporation or even catch Cop City Chill Pillars cover Lou Reed. Everyone plays Dada at one point or another. The music, like the food and drinks, is as diverse as the crowd, and no two weekends are the same.
Last year, we interviewed Gigi, who said she just wants "to offer dinner and music to people at a reasonable price in a local place, to have fun and relax like home." If that isn't enough to convince you to belt out tunes off that EP you recorded dedicated to the one who got away, the word "music" is in the title of this joint. Pretty legit.
The menu is divided up musically, from "auditions" as appetizers, "vocal calls" for the main dishes, and "final acts" as desserts. Musicians who have graced Gigi's stage include Jorge the Jazzman, Dusty Road Ranger, Beach Dog, and a variety of Caribbean artists. You can even do your own performances on karaoke nights. Scarf down some of their "wasted berries" to muster up your courage.
Located in Lake Worth, Propaganda promises free drinks for the ladies on Thursdays, so be sure to book your gigs then. Support from your family and friends is mad cool, but a bunch of tipsy, screaming, groupie-like gals is that much better. Who knows? Maybe you'll start to feel like Keith Richards (minus the slur, we hope). The dim lights, pool table only, and local art hanging on the walls add to the edgy performance scene.
Expect lots of guitars and a crowd chock-full of sweaty, tattooed patrons wearing band T's and flannel. Don't think Propaganda lacks diversity, though: Musical guests such as ConflictRhymes bring the hip-hop to Lake Worth.
5. Funky Buddha
Adorned with bohemian decorations as well as some obscure art, Funky Buddha is just begging for local, as well as touring, acts to heat up the stage. There's even open-mic night for all you shy hopefuls out there. Just bring your guitar and sad-sack lyrics.
Afraid you'll look like a fool? Don't. There's plenty of craft beers in this brewery to drink away any inhibitions as well as some hookah pipes for you to embrace your inner Alice in Wonderland caterpillar. Soulful acts such as Carly Jo Jackson and Mandy Moon bring alternative, folky flair to the lounge.
We have another café on the list that is also in Lake Worth. Not only is there local music but Instagram-worthy foam designs for your latte. Get those filters chosen beforehand so you can actually enjoy the music instead of being on your phones. #BeSocial. We're talking to you, millennials.
You don't want to miss out on rock indie groups like Sweet Bronco and Rescue Kid, especially since they reassure that good music does exist down here. Artists Alex De Marchi and Daniel Fortune provided their sounds recently at a pajama party, and art shows happen on the reg. Yes, that does mean more Insta worthy pics, you damn millennials! You just don't quit, do you?
3. Talent Farm
This may just look like a hole in the wall, but it's way more than that. It's a musical hole in the wall venue with a vending machine. If bigger-than-life, boozy spots aren't for you, this cozy recording studio will warm your local yearning heart. Acts such as Askultura and Reggie Williams have performed there. Nom on some Cheez-Its and enjoy the gritty atmosphere, equipped with a stage and everything, y'all.
Sure, it may seem like the crowd that frequents is young and not of drinking age, but there's a sense of nostalgia to it. Remember when you thought you were cool wearing Converses and old band T's and had to sneak back before curfew? Ah, the good ol' days...
This quiet little café is located away from the bigger cities of Fort Lauderdale and West Palm, so all you get is a nice dose of homemade music with your cup of coffee at this quirky Davie spot.
Want a little hair of the dog or just a little buzz? If so, try some of the organic beer and wine available. An open-mic night is held every Saturday if you want to hear new talent or that guy who insists on getting up there every week. Hosts for this event include Lance and Len Perry, professional guitarists and teachers. A past performer at this cool venue includes the brutally honest Grant Peeples. Check out the website for the full effect of this cute venue.
Not to be confused with a place that houses those financially in need, the Poorhouse is great for performances. It's also on our sketchy bar list, so you know it's hella good. Plus, it's located right on Second Street in Fort Lauderdale, AKA Himmarshee party place.
Feel free to visit America's Backyard and Euro and get your raunchy dance on after watching true musical masterminds perform their own music. Acts such as Sweet Chariots, Carrie Nation & the Speakeasy, and just about every other local band you've heard of have performed in this fantastic dive bar.
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