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With coffee: Live music and inspiration

Brian White, of Medford, performs every Tuesday at

Brian White, of Medford, performs every Tuesday at Open Mic Night at Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Company in Patchogue. (Feb. 22, 2010) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

Strumming a ukulele near the window inside Patchogue's Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company, Jimmy McGrattan, 24, of Medford, sang softly: "Someone took you out of my arms, still I feel the thrill of your charms . . . I'll see you in my dreams."

The crowd of 25 patrons barely made a sound.

"At a bar, people are talking and not really paying attention," says Jordan Laurenti, 22, of Medford, a barista supervisor who co-founded open mic nights at Roast six months ago. "Here, people are giving you respect for your song; not drinking and trying to hit on girls."

It's one of a few local coffeehouses not only known for java and pastries, but for recently launching live music nights where local singer-songwriters perform.

Check out these coffee shops that are serving up live music.

Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company

Exposed brick walls. Copper ceiling. Large coffee roaster. All the accoutrements of a hip cafe can be found at Roast. But the open mic nights, which allow musicians to showcase three songs each, and live music nights with a featured artist, are added draws.

"Just when you think you've met everyone on Long Island who plays an instrument, no -- there's more," says singer Hank Stone, 59, of Patchogue, of the relationships he has built while performing.

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"I made some of my strongest friends doing these types of things," agrees Robert Bruey, 46, a singer and guitarist of Southold who got his professional start at a coffee shop.

WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Tuesdays (open mic) and Fridays (live music) at 41 E. Main St., Patchogue

INFO 631-627-3966,


Star Fish Book Cafe

This Christian-centered cafe, which opened in March, exudes shabby chic with its white coffered ceiling and gold, pink and green leafy wallpaper trimmed with white wainscoting. The setting serves as a comfortable backdrop for weekly live acoustic music nights. Audience members can expect to hear contemporary and traditional Christian songs, original music and covers of standards by Bob Dylan while noshing on panini and scones. But what matters most to operations manager Marybeth Campbell is the family-friendly environment -- the walls are lined with inspirational and children's books, and games like Scrabble. "From the beginning, we envisioned it being a place where families could come and enjoy music and wonderful food," she says.

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Fridays at 186 Park Ave., Amityville

INFO 631-608-1715,


1014 Coffee House

1014 could double as your grandfather's den with its large stone fireplace topped by a deer head and wood-paneled walls affixed with vintage license plates. But patrons won't only hear grandpa's music at this coffeehouse's live music nights, which began in early March. Expect acoustic covers of oldies and today's hits, as well as original music reminiscent of Johnny Cash by resident performer Richard Mangogna of The Mercs, says owner Tom Albanese. "It's a small venue. It's like going to a concert, but not having to go to a large arena," he says. Oh, yeah -- there's gelato, too.

WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Fridays at 1014 Fort Salonga Rd., Northport

INFO 631-651-8114,


Beanberry Caffe

This cafe began offering live music about eight months ago, including original songs and covers across a variety of genres, says manager Carolanne Huggins. Local musicians also lead sing-alongs, embodying owner Jennifer Tarulli's desire to offer "something different for the neighborhood." Though the atmosphere exudes the comfort associated with cafes, Beanberry also serves wine, beer and hot tapas, so audiences can enjoy the best of both worlds.

"You have live music. You have the nice beer and wine, and you don't have to deal with the bar scene," Huggins says.

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 465 Rte. 25A, Miller Place

INFO 631-828-8995,


Babylon Bean Coffee House

In the long room with golden walls where work by local artists hangs, "some nights you would think you were listening to the Eagles or the Rolling Stones," says owner Sal Gervasi of Babylon Bean's open mic nights. Typically six amateur musicians and the occasional poet perform. "They get to practice and nobody holds anything against them."

Jordan Noonan, 36, a carpenter of Babylon who started the open mics about five months ago, agreed. "As a musician, you want to hear other musicians and feed off of their creativity," he says. "This is much more of an organic setting to hearing musicians . . . this is not Madison Square Garden. You can make mistakes."

Saturday night performances are lead by professional musicians, some of whom have been hired for paid gigs after performing Tuesdays, Gervasi says. Blues, classic rock, top 40, acoustic and electric guitars are most common musical stylings.

WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays (open mic) 8 p.m. Saturdays (live music) at 17 Fire Island Ave., Babylon

INFO 631-587-7729,



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