Famous Princeton pub, The Alchemist & Barrister, holds an open mic night every Wednesday from 10:00pm to 1:00am, showcasing local musicians who play everything from folk rock to electro-pop, Spanish music to covers of Tenacious D songs.
The three hour event takes place at a makeshift stage in the back corner of the intimately lit tavern.
Head manager Tom Yermack says he started the open mic night in 2001. “I am a musician as well as the head manager at The A&B,” says Yermack, continuing, “I wanted to bring more musical nightlife to downtown Princeton and The A&B.”
Yermack always starts the night with a fifteen minute set of tap guitar followed by 10 to 15 other musicians.
Eric Puliti of Lawrence Township plays at A&B every Wednesday. “It’s playing the music that I love most. Even if it’s just playing with the other guys or doing [work] behind the scenes,” says Puliti.
A locally well-known and regularly featured musician at the A&B open mic is Chris Lopez.
“Chris is so good, I really look forward to his act each week,” says Puliti.
Performing a majority of his own original material, as well as an occasional Madonna cover, Lopez performs along to his own pre-recorded tracks. A&B regulars sing along to his catchy songs, clapping along to the beat during “Cloudy with a Chance of Sunshine,” one of his most popular songs.
“I want to be a singer-songwriter and make records that people relate to. Open mic is a way to get my music out there,” said Lopez.
Lopez’s music is energetic and matches the whimsy and boisterousness of his eclectic cross dressing attire.
The start of the Open Mic Night marks the start of Happy Hour at the bar, offering drinks as low as $3.50, and their late night menu becomes available.
Particularly good are their soft pretzels that are four for five dollars, and the basket of sweet potato fries that are eight dollars.
Sarah Scarantino of Mercerville said on a recent open mic night, “I love coming here every week and being able to sing along to songs that I’ve come to know. It’s my getaway.”