6 Spots for Poetry Readings and Open Mic Nights in SF
Sacred Grounds Cafe has been hosting Wednesday night poetry readings since 1972. (Courtesy of @grether)

6 Spots for Poetry Readings and Open Mic Nights in SF


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 classes on Mondays or Russian karaoke every Friday, Neck of the Woods should be your go-to destination when you're in need of some last-minute plans. Hosted by bartender Travis Hayes and Guinevere Q, the Wednesday open-mic nights take place on the smaller, more intimate stage downstairs. Sip on one of their signature cocktails while enjoying a variety of performances ranging from spoken word and rap, to comedy and magic tricks. 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 celebrities in its historic space. And with over a century of slinging strong drinks at the bar, it's no surprise that this saloon is home to one of the longest-running open-mic nights in town. After undergoing seismic retrofitting in January, the Hotel Utah plans to reopen in February, including open-mics 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

There's only two rules at Bazaar Cafe: All performances must be acoustic and all content must be your own (no covers!). If you fit the bill, open-mic is every Thursday night at 7pm, and the intimate cafe space guarantees you'll have the best seat in the house while munching on their tasty, homemade chocolate chip cookies. 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 Haight-Ashbury, Sacred Grounds hosts the self-proclaimed "longest running poetry open-mic in the U.S." Since 1972, the unassuming cafe has allowed performers to step up to the stage every Wednesday night from 7 to 9:30pm. While the majority of the night is focused on poetry (locals will recite originals and read from the classics), musicians are also allowed if they're singer-songwriters. // 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. Sign ups begin at 7:30pm for this Friday-night open-mic which requires that all performances be original (after a battle with a music rights organizations concerning copyright infringement almost caused the cafe to end all live performances in 2015). // 508 Haight St; facebook.com/cafeinternational

Madrone Art Bar

Best known for their packed Motown on Mondays, Madrone Art Bar also holds "Spike's Open Mic" every Sunday at 5pm. Finish up brunch and head over to Madrone to enjoy some local, talented singers, duets and bands. 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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