Articles, Restaurants


Monday is quickly becoming the most happening night of the week, thanks to the Art Bar & Café at the Tannery Arts Center.

The café and burgeoning events space hosts the only poetry open mic in Santa Cruz each week and the event, which starts with a poetry workshop and ends with a rollicking performance by novices and established spoken word artists alike, attracts a lively, wall-to-wall crowd.

Co-owner Kevin Devaney, a poet who locals may remember from his days crafting impromptu poems on a vintage typewriter for interested passersby on Pacific Avenue, says the poetry series, which started in March is just one of the café’s regular events that packs the house.

“The Art of Space,” which runs the third Sunday of each month, offers spoken word artists and musicians a stage on which to collaborate. Led by spoken word artist and music producer, Greg Eaton, who goes by the name Spc-Cdt, the collaborations are an aural cacophony of rich, poignant lyrics and smart beats.

A hotbed of creativity, the café is a hang out for the artists (and their families) who live and work at The Tannery and the students of all ages who go to the center to take a class or visit an artist’s studio.

“The vibrancy of the Tannery itself is interwoven here,” says Devaney.

Even the food has an artistic bent. Named after the artist who created them, each recipe has been carefully researched and reproduced in the café kitchen by diligent staff.

A sample of the menu reads like a delicious Great Work, with Barbara Kingsolver’s Jacketed Sweet Potato, John Steinbeck’s Pork Pozole and BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders with Alexander Dumas Potato Salad all making an appearance with regular café fare, including croissants, bagels, soups and salads. There is also a full espresso bar for specialty café drinks and a beer and wine selection that changes with the season.

Reasonably priced to accommodate the working artists who make the Tannery their home, one hundred percent of the menu is under $10.

“We want to support our artists,” says Devaney.

The café also gives back by running a monthly benefit concert. So far, the café has hosted events in support of Guitars Not Guns and the Santa Cruz Young Writer’s Program. In December, Community Music School will be the recipient group.

For a fun night out and a chance to experience something new, the Art Bar & Cafe is the place to satisfy all your cravings.