As too many placid coffee shops seem to forget, creating an inviting and vibrant atmosphere is the key to any successful open-mic night. And judging on ambience alone, nothing in town comes close to beating Benton Park institution Venice Café. A baffling amount of trinkets, sculptures and paintings are stuffed within the psychedelic walls of this esteemed south-side haunt, striking the ideal mood that nervous amateurs need in order to perform for rowdy strangers at the bar's weekly Monday evening open-mic hosted by Miles Long and Zach Sloan. Along with plenty of music, audience members can expect to see everything from raunchy poetry to feats of strength to frequent and defiant pantslessness. Credit Long and Sloan with granting the performers plenty of leeway to do their thing, making for a raucous and unpredictable start to any week.