Covent Garden, London
22 Betterton street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9BX
- Covent Garden Tube Station (0.2 km)
- Holborn Station (0.4 km)
- Contact us:
020 7420 9888
27 Malling, London SE13 6QL
Phenomenon and Harley have joined forces to create 'Forty Jaw'ed.
10 reviews of Poetry Cafe in English
If you’re interested in poetry, this is definitely a place for you. I was at two events there recently and both were quite interesting. They were kind of different and also run by different people, but both were inspiring with good poets and texts. I haven’t tried any food though, but the white wine is okay, and quite cheap as well. However, if you want a delicious dinner or an actually good wine, I’d recommend The 10 Cases (http://www.qype.co.uk/place/2081436-The-10-Cases-London) just around the corner!
Very chilled out place, good for a lunch break to take a step back and just sit for a bit. Poetry Cafe is never really busy and when you order your food be prepared to move at their speed.
However the food is reasonably priced and the portions are massive :), quite a good bet if you want to sit down after a busy day of the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden.
I not as well informed about the poetry reading side of the cafe but I believe there is space dedicated downstairs to those inclined. Both opportunity to listen and to read just speak to the staff for more information.
I was walking around Covent Garden, looking for a quiet cozy place to rest during my afternoon break at work and there - I found it! When I came in, first thing I saw was two women sipping coffee over poem sheets and discussing about them. The shelves on the walls are filled with magazines and poetry books and they have a living room downstairs with big sofas where they also hold poetry readings and events of the like. The friendly barman served me a delicious mocca (for only £1,20) and I confess I took a nap downstairs. (:
What a wonderfully warm, charming and inviting cafe. I was in Covent Garden after arranging visas for my forthcoming holiday and was in need of a good cuppa, a sit down and few minutes knitting (yes, KNITTING - you heard me correctly!) before I continued on with that day's to-do list. On the notice board outside the cafe it highlights it's necessary to register as a member before ordering drinks or food. The idea behind this is to increase the number of people the "Poetry Society" (housed above the cafe) can contact and let know about wonderful poetry reading evenings (and much more!) in the basement area of the cafe. I was more than happy to sign-up after seeing the delicious homemade fare and lovely selection of teas, coffees and fruit juices on offer. I didn't eat this time, however the girls next to me had the soup of the day and it looked delicious. A perfect autumn lunchtime warmer!
As I settled down with my pot of tea and knitting, Judith from the Poetry Society's office asked if I'd be interested helping out in constructing the "World's Largest Knitted Poem" which had been constructed for World Poetry Day on 8th October from lots of knitters around the country each knitting a letter each. I went upstairs (with my lovely cuppa!) and sewed together 3 squares while I finished my drink. Judith added my name to the list of people who helped with the challenge and apologised for interrupting my knitting and tea, but as I said to her, I was more than happy to help out and it made for a thoroughly enjoyable hour or so in town. It's opportunities like these that make living in London so much fun! Go to the Cafe and see what's going on. You never know, you may be offered a piece of cake in return for penning/knitting a limerick or two ! :-)
I thought a night out at the Poetry Cafe would involve listening to droopy long-haired poets spouting odes while people listened in polite silence and gently clapped after each recital. But I was wrong. You take your beer into an intimate basement room, sit on uncomfortable wooden chairs, and the audience grows rowdier and rowdier, eventually hissing and booing at any too-pretensious or long-winded poet stuttering away on stage. It is a hilarious night out. This was the open mike session - I imagine it’s different when professional poets are invited to recite, but haven’t been yet to hear one. I certainly admire the courage of those who get up to read their poetry to this audience.
The Society runs regular poetry events in its lovely boho cafe. Come here to see established poets do readings, watch up and coming writers perform for the first time, or even take part in an open mic yourself. The food is quite pricey but usually worth it (all the produce is from Neal’s Yard, round the corner).
Something a bit different…The Poetry Cafe’s weekly open-mic evening (Tuesdays, “Poetry Unplugged”) is pretty exciting. I had fun and didn’t find it pretentious at all, so in that sense it’s a great way to make contact with the usually intimidating and exclusive world of poetry. You might struggle to find Betterton St. the first time but it’s worth it! New poets and old hands have the opportunity to make the rest of us gasp and giggle at their observations and performances. The poets who attend regularly are welcoming and inclusive and the place itself is small and lively. Great if you want to chatter or have a think. Or a drink!
This will appeal to any rustic enthusiast (think wooden furniture and almost collectable literature). Their menu is essentially vegetarian, but good enough to convert any carnivore, and meals cost an average 6 pounds.
They also have an eclectic selection of events happening each evening and if an aspiring poet, you can promote yourself there at open mikes.
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