The Poetry Cafe






Covent Garden's most congenial literary joint, the Poetry Café (The Poetry Place) welcomes everyone, not only poets and poetry enthusiasts.

At lunchtime our superb cooks serve delicious vegetarian cuisine, and coffee and pastries are available throughout the afternoon. In the evening the atmosphere is busy and vibrant; we have poetry readings almost every night.

Some of the events take place every week, some monthly or bi-monthly and some are occasional or one-off. For newcomers, or those wishing to read, Poetry Unplugged is London's premier open mic session where people who have never read a poem in public can do so for the first time, or experienced poets can try out something new.

Whatever your tastes, and whether you join us regularly or only occasionally, we hope you enjoy your time at the Poetry Café. Please direct all enquiries and feedback to the Poetry Cafe.



Become a Café Member

If you would like regular information about café events and prior knowledge of special events, or you would just like to use the café on a regular basis, then become a member of the café.

This service is free - you need to either sign our book in the café with your email address or join our email list below. We require two days to register you as a member of the café. 

If you would like to receive information about the wider work of the Poetry Society, you'll need to join, or sign up to the Poetry Society mailing list here

Subscribe to the Poetry Café mailing list

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Poetry Café (The Poetry Place)
22 Betterton Street
London WC2H 9BX

Email: Poetry Café
Telephone: 020 7420 9888

Opening times 

12 noon - 11pm Monday to Friday
7pm - 11pm Saturday

Closed on Sunday, and on occasion for private hire - please check the calendar before you visit.

Current Café exhibition

Sketches from the Poem Road,
2 Mar - 25 Apr 2015


Nora Summers's photographs of Dylan and Caitlin Thomas offer an extraordinary gimpse of their early married lives.

Jacqueline Saphra gives an entrancing reading at the launch of her book If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women (Emma Press, 2014), which accompanies the Poetry Café exhibition of Mark Andrew Webber's relief prints.

Digressions, Ian Duhig and Philippa Troutman's collaborative exhibition inspired by Sterne's Tristram Shandy, opens at the Poetry Society Café and tours subsequently to Shandy Hall, Yorkshire.

Poet Chris McCabe and artist Maria Vlotides celebrated their exhibition, 'Pharmapoetica', at the Poetry Café, 14 Apr-15 Jun, with a joint reading on 4 June.


Poet Chris McCabe and artist Maria Vlotides celebrated their exhibition, 'Pharmapoetica', at the Poetry Café, 14 Apr-15 Jun, with a joint reading on 4 June.


Poetry Café exhibitions on tour:
'Where We Begin to Look: Landscape & Poetry', formerly at the Poetry Café, London, will appear at the Dorothy Wordsworth Festival, Grasmere, 11-13 April. Look out for an event with the artist Zoe Benbow and featured poet Sarah Corbett at the festival, too. Jimmy Symonds's 'Words of the Century' isat the Wenlock Poetry Festival, 25-27 April.

The Argument by Katrina Naomi and Tim Ridley is on display at the StAnza Festival, 4-8 March.

February 2014
On sale in the cafeAvailable to buy in the Poetry Café: Adam Bridgland 'Fables' mugs (also available online) and badges, £6.95 and 50p respectively; Edward Lear-inspired tea-lights by Anna Perring, £10; Poetry Review, £7.95. Discounts available for Poetry Society members on selected items.

Judith Aronson's 'Likenesses' is at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, 8 Feb-20 Mar.

October 2013
Linda Black's 'The Son Of A Shoemaker', formerly at the Poetry Café, London, will be on show at the Landings Art Gallery, Swindon, 5-31 Oct, as part of the Swindon Festival of Poetry.

August 2013
'Gerald Mangan: Caricatures' – “ought to better known than they are… witty portraits” (TLS) – at the Poetry Café until 17 Aug.

10 June 2013
'Peace Camp: The Exhibition' shares the love at the Poetry Café until13 Jul.

29 April 2013
'The Argument' – Katrina Naomi and Tim Ridley's fruitful dispute in art and poetry.

18 March 2013
Linda Black's 'Son of a Shoemaker & other fantasies' opens.

14 January 2013
'Where We Begin to Look. Landscape & Poetry' – a collaboration between Zoe Benbow & Deryn Rees-Jones, presented by the Poetry Society & Small World Theatre, Ceredigion.

19 November 2012
'Likenesses', Judith Aronson's enchanting photographic portraits of poets, artists, academics, actors and designers, continues until 11 Jan.

31 July 2012
Our latest exhibition, of images taken by Poetry Society photographer Hayley Madden, is now up.

June 2012
We're pleased to announce that the café now offers free Wi-Fi. Why not give it a try? Simply ask at the bar for the password next time you stop by.