853 Valencia Street, San Francisco
Amnesia is a cozy little hotbox of red-lit delight, as it hosts Tuesday karaoke, open-mics, bluegrass Mondays, gypsy jazz on Wednesdays, and Friday night booty-shakin'. They also host bands and the occasional cabaret as well as readings by local talent, perfect, as they're in the same hood as 826 Valencia, the publishing hub for "McSweeney's." I've attended the literary journal Opium's Literary Death Match, in which professional writers pit their words against one another, only to be ridiculed by a panel of judges, battle royale style. At one such event (not at Amnesia) one insulted writer dumped his drink (and his ire) on a judge, proving the pen is not always mightier than the sword.
* image: creative commons: www.flickr.com/rick