Located inside Alma Mater in downtown Tacoma, Honey café offers open mic nights on the third Thursday of every month with the recent addition of the first Thursdays as well. Katya Smith, the host of the evening on January 2, left the open mic feeling impressed. “[I’m] always impressed by the immense amount of talent these nights bring,” Smith said. While this mic night, in particular, consisted primarily of musical acts, Katya noted that performances often range from musicians to comedians and poets to magicians. “[I was] transported to another time and place far away but always filled with good vibes,” Smith said.
Between 7–9 p.m., veterans and first-timers alike brought their talents to the stage to ensure a night of expression among individuals. With a total of nine acts between the two hours — eight of which were musically centered and one being poetry — the night offered a diverse group of artists.
The first performance of the night was by Nick Jarmon, a jazz musician since 2015 who has played at a Honey open mic once or twice before. After his set was complete, he mentioned to The Ledger that at the start of his musical career, he would seek out open mics across town.
“I would find any open mics I could and tried to go and play about two to three times a week,” Jarmon said. When inquired about the reasoning attributed to why he plays, Nick expressed, “It’s like when you listen to an old record and you get this feeling. This feeling of joy and happiness, a sense of being alive. That’s the feeling I want to convey and pass onto my audience.”
Another café-goer of the evening, Kimberly Charchenko — who works and performs at Honey regularly — gifted patrons with a beautiful singing voice accompanied by an acoustic guitar that presented a genre that could be vaguely identified as a mixture of old country and bluegrass with soulful tendencies. Kimberly explained that having a platform available allows her to share music with others.
“A group of my best friends and I actually all met at another café that has sadly been shut down, since then we’ve all migrated over to Honey,” Charchenko said. “To be able to watch this new community of friends and artists grow and thrive is something I feel very lucky to witness and be a part of.” As the night commenced, this sense of community became apparent to everyone included.
The final person to speak with The Ledger was the stand-alone poet of the evening, Tzil Sandoval. Sandoval has been writing poetry for 10 years and reading aloud for others to hear for about five. “No matter where I am or what I’m reading I’m still nervous every time I step foot on that stage,” Sandoval said. While poetry can mean a lot of things Sandoval says, for her, its, “[Simply put] a part of who I am and what I stand for. It’s a different form of art, you know? It allows me to express my inner thoughts and feelings in an intense and crafted auditorial way.”
All in all, the community that Honey presents is both warm and welcoming. Whether you’re an artist, a performer, an onlooker, supporter, or just a mere patron of the café looking for a bite to eat and something to drink, don’t miss out on the open mic nights and the ability to connect with your neighbors in an open environment.