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Poetry at the 33

Poems, beer and baseball: now there's a combination that's hard to beat. The 3300 Club, familiarly known as the 33, offers up this potent mix -- plus, you get to meet down-to-earth people from all over the Bay Area.

The community at the 33 draws in those who love poetry. Here you'll find not only aficionados, but also xblue-collar bar regulars enjoying a pint, hanging out, talking shop and exchanging banter with Steve the bartender.

The building has been a landmark in the heart of the Mission for over a century, starting life as a distillery. After the 1906 earthquake, it was refurbished and continued with the brewing business; it became a bank during prohibition era, and then switched back to investing in beer in 1933.

Under Jack Keane, the 33's history developed through the 60s, 70s and 80s as a strong union bar catering to the Irish, Italian, German and Latin working class. Now, his widow, Nancy Mifflin Keane, watches over it. She maintains some traditions, but encourages the additional presence of writers and artists, who add another dimension to the place, especially during open-mic night.

Poetry at the 33 takes place every last Tuesday of the month. A featured reader (or sometimes two) is followed by open mic. Because Mrs. Keane and host Jonathan Hayes always concentrate their efforts in attracting quality poets, you never know when a big-name poet might drop in during a break from a whirlwind book tour.

Choose one of the booths by the windows or, for some real flavor, pull up a bar stool to the well-worn counter and take in the hops-scented, musty-tinged air. Turn yourself sideways to the podium at far side of the room and focus on the variety of declarations and phrases the poets channel down the aisle at you. Will the sagacious questioner age before your eyes as he meditates on the human condition? Can the shy bookworm overcome his low self-esteem and find a true love?

If you enjoy Poetry at the 33, pick up a copy of The 33 Review, a quarterly anthology of readers from the Poetry at 33 series. Take home a tome as a reminder of all the words poured forth from a young traveler's throat, with rhyme and clarion call that beckon you to follow; and not to forget the childlike, singsong voices speaking of the ordinary things that people have in common.

Poetry at the 33
The 3300 Club
3300 Mission St. (@ 29th St.), SF, 415.826.6886
Last Tuesday of the month; Signup at 6:45, show at 7 pm
over 21; free
mailing list: [email protected]