‘Open Mic Night’: eat, drink and be merry

Multicolored labels of hundreds of types of beer and wine line the walls, and the sound of friendly banter is audible throughout the venue. Acoustic music begins playing from a small corner of the building. Claps and cheers are given after the performance — the artist cleans up their equipment and then another artist takes their place. This scene is known as the Vintage Estate’s weekly “Open Mic Night.”

Steve Vuich is the man behind “Open Mic Night” and describes himself as a “jazzy-blues-pop-rock guitar player who loves the art of performing.” Vuich said it was hard to find a place to perform that was relaxing and didn’t make artists feel anxious about their performance.

“I started the ‘Open Mic Night’ a while ago,” said Vuich. “It was designed to be a place where artists could share their music among friends. It’s cozy, and there is food and beer and no real schedule. There are the regulars and the newcomers, and that’s all great. We take anyone who wants to give us a good little show.”

John Paul Gerner is a Youngstown State University junior and avid guitar player who said he has been going to the open mic nights ever since he haphazardly stumbled upon the welcoming environment while searching for a better beer.

“At the time, I was just looking for a place to get a good drink with my friends,” Gerner said. “I found out they had this open mic night every Thursday. … I was looking for a new place that could become a creative outlet for me at the time and thought I would try this place out. I loved it instantly. I had played in other venues before, and I just felt limited and unwelcome. Here, it’s different. I can play things I liked and try new things that I normally wouldn’t have. It’s musicians appreciating musicians appreciating music and good alcohol.”

Joe Verzilli is a local musician who isn’t a beginner to the music scene. Verzilli said he plays wherever he can find a venue — mostly just for fun — and the Vintage Estate is one of his favorites to play at.

“I mean, I used to be in a band, and we would play at bigger places with a ton of people. Now, I’m mostly on my own, and I like playing here,” Verzilli said. “I know most of the people, and I can play what I want without feeling like I have to impress anyone.”

Gerner said he and many others find their weekly peace at the Vintage Estate playing for the crowd.

“It’s just a great place that’s local with good food and good beer where a lot of people go to relax and have a good time,” Gerner said. “There are people who only play open mics, people who play solo acts without their bands for fun and others who just come if that’s where the wind takes them. It’s a grab bag, but it’s cool.”

The Vintage Estate holds its “Open Mic Night” every Thursday from 8-11 p.m. Vuich said anyone is welcome to come and show off his or her talents.

“We are always looking for new faces here,” Vuich said. “If it’s just for the alcohol and food — cool. If you want to try to show your skills — even better. All are welcome here.”

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