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The Baby Goat loves an Open Mic

November 1, 2022

Moin GOATs,

Winter is coming and with it starts our favourite time of year - Pub Season! The weather is fresh, the evenings are dark, and there's no better time to settle down in the pub with a bunch of mates to enjoy a few fresh craft beers and a bit of fun; be that a quiz, live sport, or indeed some live music!

At The Baby Goat we’re extremely proud to have met some incredible people around the music scene in Hamburg and our Pub Legend, Barry Skillin, is doing an incredible job of putting together a full line up of live music in both of our pubs, because that’s the goal…you will always find live music in The Baby Goat Pubs. That all started with our fortnightly ‘Open Mic’ night, and because it’s been such a great journey watching that grow, here’s a potted history of the open mic concept and the start of our journey to bring you great music from the best local artists.

A typical open mic session. Great tunes and an active crowd.

When and where did open mic's start?

We imagine most of you have heard of an open mic before, and we hope that many have also had the chance to go to one! But fewer may have asked themselves how and where the concept evolved? and more importantly what the point of an open mic night really is?

We’ll keep the history lesson short, but the open mic format is an American invention. The earliest (and rarely) advertised occasions date back to the mid 20th century in New York, before wider recognition began in the 70s. Belonging to a family of performing arts events which can be defined as ‘community-based, participatory music-making’, open mics appear to have gained popularity as an expansion of the ‘Hootenanny’ (spontaneous folk, Jazz and R&B jam sessions) and Beat (Poetry reading) movements, providing a platform for artists to perform in front of audiences without the need for a fixed ‘gig’, setlist or timeframe. Open mics are now, of course, known worldwide and feature as a fixture of many pubs, bars and clubs. The sentiment, however, remains the same: allowing artists, amateur or professional, to perform in front of a group of peers and punters, either to express their talent or hone their skills on their way to bigger and better things. Today that is by no means limited to music or spoken word, they are equally common in comedy clubs since their boom in the late 20th century - in fact we’re even considering a comedy-specific version at some stage.

What's an open mic all about?

So, the primary objective is clear, then: provide a stage for performers. Since the first open mic at The Baby Goat in January 2022, we’ve had well over 80 performers, from musicians to poets to magicians, solo artists to bands, folk to rap to Jazz, Professionals to hobby musicians. All have brought their own individual talent and flair to the stage, and all received a warm round of applause. A huge thanks and congrats to all of those performers.

But more importantly...

There is, however, another important objective of the open mic concept, which is community. Over the course of 10 months it has been great to see a core community grow, and a familiarity between those there week-in-week-out. The Baby Goat open mic is by no means the only open mic in Hamburg, so being part of an open mic circuit hopefully means that there continue to be opportunities in the burgeoning music scene of Hamburg for every level of artist to find a space to perform. We at The Baby Goat also love being able to offer a bigger stage and solo gigs for performances at our Pubs - we’re by no means one of the most recognised music venues in the city, but all things start somewhere and we remain committed to offering great music every week, so it helps to meet great artists on a regular basis --> check out our full schedule here!!!

Of course, as a pub, we also love being able to host these events because it’s great entertainment (and fun), draws a crowd of music-lovers (like us) on a cold Wednesday night, and creates a great buzz. It’s been great fun so far, and a huge credit goes to Barry for getting the concept up and running. We look forward to seeing The Baby Goat open mic continue to grow in years to come.

Of course, at this stage it’s also very important to send a huge thanks to all artists, particularly those who join us on a regular basis. And a big thanks to a few individuals who have helped hugely along the way: Steve 'and the sea' McCarthy (stvmccrthy), Joe Junker (joe_junker_music), and Vincent Barrault - thanks for your time, patience and skill as moderators, and at times, for lending your treasured guitars. :-). Thanks, you GOATs.

Vincent Barrault during one of our summer sessions.

Get involved...

So, we’ll see you at the next open mic at The Baby Goat Barn (2nd November) in St Pauli, from 19:00, or thereafter in The Baby Goat House in Grindelhof for the rest of the winter.

If you’d like to perform, there’s still a chance to get on the lineup. Just email Barry at:

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