376 9th St., at Sixth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-965-9177; barbesbrooklyn.com
On the first and third Sunday of every month, a trio of authors commandeers this spot's back roomusually aswirl with cutting-edge jazz and world music. Hostesses Robyn Schneider and Jessica Liese's home-baked cookies take the bitter edge off the anise drinks and any dangling prepositions.
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, between Bleecker St. and Houston St.; 212-614-0505; bowerypoetry.com
Founded by Bob Holman, who started Nuyorican's legendary slams, this cavernous drinking den is home base for upstart versifiers and bohemian bards alike. In addition to a nightly slew of readings, slams, and open mikes, an eight-course poetry seminar allows schmoozing with "resident" writers like Paul Auster.
505 W. 23rd St., at Tenth Ave.; 212-462-4300; thehalfking.com
The Perfect Storm author Sebastian Junger and novelist/reporter Scott Anderson are occasional contributors to the reading series at their lively pub. An appreciative neighborhood crowd tipples to poetry, fiction, and nonfiction almost every Monday night, with one Monday per month dedicated to the under-read genre of magazine journalism.
302 Broome St., at Forsythe St.; 212-334-9676; amandastern.com/happyending.html
This former massage parlor lives up to its name the third Wednesday of the month during its erotic "In the Flesh" reading series. Writers picked by Village Voice sex columnist Rachel Kramer Bussel keep the audience hot and bothered via fetish fantasias, true confessions, and erotic memoirs. On the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, the Happy Ending Music and Reading Series provokes readers and musicians to take one "public risk": McSweeney's jokester Ben Greenman read his credit card number.
85 E. 4th St., between Second Ave. and Third Ave.; 212-505-3360; kgbbar.com
The intimate readings at this former clubhouse for Ukrainian socialists have carried on the bar's role as a haven of counterculture. Sundays bring fiction, Mondays poetry, and Tuesdays non-fiction. From Wednesday to Friday, you’ll hear everything from sci-fi to prize-winning journalism. The monthly "Drunken! Careening! Writers!" limits each participating novelist/poet/hack to fifteen minutes and insists each work must have “at least one thing that makes people laugh." Time limits are off whenever Dan the barkeep dips into his tome-in-progress about the Kennedy assassination.
Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction
34 Avenue A, between 2nd St. and 3rd St.; 212-777-5660; mopitkins.com
As part of this relative newcomer's ambitious schedule of comedy, performance, and music, the Monday night Reading Room series allows published scribes to present their latest works. For A.D.D. sufferers, the humorous Ritalin Reading Series keeps performances to four minutes; zaniness also abounds at the newly installed variety show hosted by Jonathan Ames, Moby, and silent sidekick Mangina.
Pete’s Candy Store
709 Lorimer St., between Frost St. and Richardson St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-302-3770; petescandystore.com
It’s a wonder any drinking gets done at this bar-cum-cultural center. In addition to a full calendar of live music, a narrow back room hosts prose readings on alternate Thursdays and poetry recitals every other Friday, after which wordsmiths can show off their newly expanded vocabulary by busting out one of the bar's Scrabble boards.
129 Lexington Ave., between 28th St. and 29th St.; 212-725-3871; rockysullivans.com
Former Irish Voice writer Patrick Farrelly aimed to rekindle the beatnik bar scene when he started his Wednesday night series a decade ago. Nowadays, the readings have a commerical spin as well with a Barnes & Noble bookseller hawking the featured hardback or paperback on most occasions.
The Russian Samovar
256 West 52nd St., between Eighth Ave. and Broadway; 212-757-0168; www.russiansamovar.com
This sultry, red-tinged Theater District spot has been luring the intelligensia ever since it opened in 1986 with the backing of Joseph Brodsky and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Sporadic readings take place in the upstairs room, where listeners gather around a large table and knock back exotically infused vodkas.