Whether you enjoy your live poetry with a side of drinks and people watching or with food and good conversation, New York’s cultural scene has your spoken word fix. From dive bars to poetry libraries to concert-style venues, you can enjoy live performance poetry in a variety of settings throughout the city. Bring a friend, a date, or your favorite poem, and enjoy live readings at some of the city’s best venues.
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe
Where: 236 East Third St.
When: Monday from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., Tuesday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.
This cozy East Village hotspot is known for its open mic nights, Friday poetry slams, and long lines. The Nuyorican Poets Cafe is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink and live performances in a lively space.
Bowery Poetry Club
Where: 308 Bowery
When: Hours vary depending on event
Established in 2002, the Bowery Poetry Club boasts a large stage, DJ booth, and bar in a café-style NoHo space. The renowned venue hosts a variety of performances, from spoken word poetry to jazz ensembles.
Where: 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn
When: Hours vary depending on event, select Friday and Saturday nights
Located above the Brooklyn Academy of Music, BAMcafé features nightly live performances by up-and-coming artists in a spacious Brooklyn venue. Offering elevated fare and drinks to complement the presentations, this well-established cultural hub is worth the trek.
Where: 317 East Houston St.
When: Daily from 1:30 p.m. to 4 a.m.
This old-school Lower East Side venue has become known for its live performances, spoken word poetry events, and open mic nights in its rear. Offering affordable drinks and a casual environment, Parkside Lounge provides an intimate and relaxing experience.
Where: 85 East Fourth St.
When: 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Located in the East Village, this Soviet-themed bar has been hosting reading series, comedy nights, and spoken word poetry events since its opening in 1993. Red walls adorned with Soviet memorabilia set the mood for fun and crowded performances.
Where: 10 River Ter.
When: Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
When: Daily from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m.