The 6 Best Spots in SF for Poetry Readings and Open Mic Nights

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Whether you're in the mood for poetry readings or acoustic sessions, these six San Francisco open-mic spots are the perfect excuse to take center stage and let that artistic expression fly. 


Neck of the Woods

This two-story music venue offers a variety of events and live shows throughout the week. Whether it’s salsa dancing on Monday or Russian karaoke every Tuesday, Neck of the Woods should be your go-to destination when you’re in need of some last-minute plans. Hosted by bartenders Kanoa and Travis Hayes, the Wednesday open-mic nights take place on the separate, intimate stage downstairs. Sip on one of their signature cocktails while enjoying a variety og performances ranging from spoken word to rap, and even full out band performances. Signups are at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm. // 406 Clement St; neckofthewoodssf.com

The Hotel Utah Saloon

Hotel Utah has served everyone from thieves and gamblers to politicians and presidents in its historic space. And with over a century of slinging strong drinks at the bar, it’s no surprise that this independent music venue is home to the longest-running open-mic night in town. Every Monday night, grab your guitar and warm up those vocal chords. Sign ups start at 7pm and performance order is determined by a random drawing. // 500 4th St; hotelutah.com

Bazaar Cafe

Bazaar Cafe encourages all forms of creative expression, whether that’s poetry, singing, or tambourine playing. Open-mic is every Thursday night, hosted by Josh Beemish, and the intimate cafe space guarantees you’ll have the best seat in the house while munching on their tasty wasabi popcorn. Get your weekend started early by grabbing a group of friends and belting out Wild Horses (again), but make sure to plan ahead since this popular event usually fills up weeks in advance. // 5927 California St; bazaarcafe.com

The Sacred Grounds Cafe

Tucked away in NoPa, Sacred Grounds Cafe hosts a variety of different open-mic nights to cater to every artistic preference. If you’re more into Afterhours Drop In Workshops, head over on Friday nights, when the coffee will be brewing until closing. Singer-songwriters, musicians, and thespians have their time to shine are Thursdays. Every Workshop night allows participants up to ten minutes to recite or perform their pieces. Signups begin at 7pm. Promptly starting at 8pm. // 2095 Hayes St; facebook.com/sacredgroundscafe

Cafe International

Cafe International's large space and outdoor patio is the perfect place for visitors to enjoy an espresso while listening to live performances. After a battle with a music rights organizations concerning copyright infringement, the beloved open-mic spot was facing the possibility of shutting down its most popular event. But vibrant cafe owner Zahra Saleh has assured San Franciscans that this Lower Haight spot plans to continue with their Friday traditions. Now hosting many open art galleries for blossoming artists to show off their work.  // 508 Haight St; facebook.com/cafeinternational

Madrone Art Bar

Best known for their packed Motown Mondays, Madrone Art Bar also holds "Spike's Mic's" every Sunday at 4pm. Finish up brunch and head over to Madrone to enjoy some local talent in all genres. Take in the eclectic decor of this bar/art gallery hybrid while sipping their signature Moscow Mule. The party only has to end when you say so. // 500 Divisadero St; madroneartbar.com

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