Open mic night at Cafe Du Soleil: A great find in the heart of Commercial Drive

Performing at Cafe Deux Soleil's regular open mic night.

Performing at Cafe Deux Soleil’s regular open mic night.

The lights are dimmed and a small tea candle sits on every worn wooden table. The hum of voices grows as people swarm into the Café Deux Soleils on Commercial Drive, awaiting their weekly open mic night. The vibe greatly differs from what it was less than an hour-and-a-half ago, when no more than five customers sipped their drinks under bright lights in the quiet hum of music playing over the speakers. Now, a young scruff-faced guy in a blue hoodie wanders around the room with a pitcher full of cash, making sure that everyone pays the $5 cover fee.

The night starts off with an upbeat announcer calling out the names of the 15 performers for the night, pulling out small scraps of paper from an empty pitcher up on stage. Once the names are announced, the performances begin, the waiting performers milling in and out of the café as they patiently wait for their turn on stage.

Among the 15 are Carolyn Deady and Sam Romero, two members of the band No Century, preparing for their solo performances.

“We came here to play music, but also to talk about our music. To use the café as a café,” says Romero. He sits across from Deady in a comfy booth, his guitar leaning against the wall besides him, tuned and ready to go.

“I’m always a little bit nervous to play in front of people, but I know that when it’s an open mic and there are lots of lovely people, there’s not usually anything to worry about,” says Deady with a smile.

This proves to be true as the crowd cheers happily after every performer, shouting teasing jeers of excitement when the time seems fit for it. All levels of musicians are accepted on stage, from those who merely sing for fun to those that see each performance as a stepping stone towards a greater future. No matter what kind of performance is given, there is never once of negativity within the room, not even when a performer stops mid-song to fiddle with his or her equipment.

The atmosphere is relaxed and the crowd is an eccentric mix of people, from coffee-drinking couples to the more out-there individuals. No one even gives a second glance as a group of young men start a dance circle in the middle of the room as a group of men on stage create scintillating beats on bongos. This welcoming atmosphere is typical within the café, the crowds of people mingling without the slightest hesitation. Strangers speak to each other about the performances with such a kindness that you wouldn’t expect anywhere else and the staff treats everyone like a childhood friend.

“It’s just a good vibe here. It’s a [Commercial] drive classic,” says Deady.

The Café Deux Soleil is open every day of the week and is a great spot to relax with a hot cup of coffee or tea, or one of their healthy dishes. It hosts its weekly open mic night every Thursday, but also a weekly Vancouver Poetry slam night every Saturday, as well as numerous other events throughout the week.


  • Avatar
    Reply December 8, 2013

    Cindy St-Laurent

    It was cool to read about a new place I can visit. I honestly do not know about a lot of the places downtown and its great to see someone’s first hand experience from it. I might have to go watch an open mic night there one of these days now 🙂

  • Joao Vitor Correa
    Reply December 10, 2013

    Joao Vitor Correa

    Really good to know more about this place. The drive is such an exciting street, such a vibrant area in the city. For sure Cafe Deux Soleils will be on my list of new places to go 🙂

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