story by Nicci Carnaggio
Astoria’s Music & Arts scene has exploded over the past decade, and gratefully, it continues to grow. Local musicians have many opportunities to showcase their talents at open mic nights. One of the most successful and highly regarded open mics began almost a decade ago at The Quays, hosted by Jimmy Artache and when Barry O’Reilly was owner. The Quays still keeps the spirit alive on Thursday nights with their open mic.
When Barry sold the Quays he opened Old Prague Tavern, now Irish Whiskey Bar keeping the well developed open mic alive under his new roof. There have been many Astoria all-stars involved in making this one of the best open mics around: Jimmy Artache, Dave McKeon, Nimrod Texeria and John Keegan, amongst others. At the right time the torch was passed on to Mr. Keegan. He took over hosting the open mic at Irish Whiskey Bar for the past few months. John says, “The open mic is a good place for seasoned singer/songwriters, those starting out or those who do it for fun to share their talent with the neighborhood. Networking plays a big part in these open mic nights. You never know who you may hit it off with on any particular night. Many great collaborations have come from these evenings. It’s a good way to self promote within the community’s music scene. Letting people know how they can hear your music and gain access to it. Irish Whiskey Bar is a live music venue and open mic is a great place to showcase your talent for potential upcoming gigs.”
I have many talents.. but musically I am no Ludwig Von Beethoven. This open mic is a friendly welcoming bunch. Fear not for your weak spots, this group is forgiving. Performers play on a first come first serve basis. It is great for developing your craft with a great support system. Not only does owner Barry open his doors to support local music in Queens (insert a very enthusiast thumbs up) he offers two free beers to each performer- Cheers! Irish Whiskey Bar hosts a great deal of events within our Queens music scene so keep them on your radar.
For more info. Check out Facebook group Tuesday night Open Mic at Irish Whiskey Bar
Irish Whiskey Bar
28-48 31st Street
Astoria, NY 11102
Photo credit: Nicci Carnaggio & Thomas Pepe