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For a typical student, stress relief can sometimes take the form of bar-hopping across Mill Avenue, and blowing off steam in the bustle of Tempe's vibrant nightlife. Yet sometimes it's best to unwind with a good cup of coffee and a low key crowd of local creatives.

Spaces to share and discover original poetry and music are only a few minutes away from ASU's Tempe and Downtown Phoenix campuses. More and more, artists across the Valley are flocking to local coffee shops to showcase their work, and find others who share the same expressive and intimate mindset. Whether you've mustered up the courage to share your personal words or are just looking for a place to unwind and pick up the vibes of other local creatives, here a few spots worth keeping your eye on: 

King Coffee

1020 S. Mill Ave.

#poetry #coffeeshop #spokenword

A photo posted by @kingcoffeeaz on

King Coffee, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary, is a cozy shop tucked away between Campus Christian Center and Hillel at ASU. The warm, friendly atmosphere breeds openness and creativity, and the bubbly staff make it even easier to share personal work during their weekly open mic nights. 

Open mics happen every Sunday evening at 5 p.m., and mostly feature poetry and spoken word performances, although musicians are welcome as well. King Coffee has also hosted open workshops such as "Shameless Voices," which collaborated with the ASU Womyn's Coalition and the Sun Devil Secret Poets Society to explore themes of identity and gender in a safe space.

King is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

1865 Coffee

40 E. University Dr.

Barista Ruben Cordero told State Press photographer Amanda Rief that 1865's open mic is currently on hold, but is scheduled to reboot in April. Previous open mics have featured artists of all genres sharing music, spoken word and poetry. 

1865 is relatively new to the Tempe coffee scene as well, and the spacious shop is tucked away behind Shady Park on Mill Avenue. 


918 N. 5th St.

Roosevelt Row gem Jobot Coffee has always attracted every type of Phoenician, from business people on quick lunch breaks to hip creatives posting up for hours. Whoever you are, the vibe is notoriously artistic, meaning their live music is always unique and worth the listen. Spoken word and live music nights are often sporadic at Jobot, but most late Sunday mornings you can join them for "Brunch and Beats."

Sip Coffee and Beer Garage

3617 N. Goldwater Blvd. and 3670 E. Indian School Rd.

Sip has two locations across the Valley, including its most recent drive-thru in central Phoenix. Both locations have live music several times a week in addition to other artsy events. 

Sip Coffee and Beer Garage is located on the corner of Indian School Road and 36th Street, and has live music from Thursday to Saturday in addition to a full menu, full bar and Cartel coffee drinks. 

Sip has also hosted "Drink and Draw" nights and a "Fuel Up" yoga series. Check out their Facebook and Instagram to keep up with their upcoming events. 

FiftyOne West

51 W. Southern Ave.

Most people who are even remotely familiar with Phoenix's local music scene have heard of FiftyOne West, arguably known more for their weekend shows than for their fresh vegan eats (which are also worth a try). Local indie faves Playboy Manbaby, Sun Hex and Los Crudos have played this venue, which offers space for all music fans — from those into moshing to those who prefer sipping tea on the sidelines. 

Related links:

Cortez Coffee Company makes a unique debut to Tempe's coffee shop scene

Voz De Sparky is ASU's first ever Spanish-English open mic night

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