By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
By Emma Silvers
By Alee Karim
Big Heart City
836 Mission, 777-0666/626-9444
A live music venue since its remodeling, this large SOMA space now holds over 800 people for shows every Friday and Saturday night. Music styles range from reggae and ska to rock, alternative, big band, swing, rockabilly, and Americana.
Bimbo's 365 Club
1025 Columbus, 474-0365
First opened in 1931 as a swanky Prohibition-era gin joint, Bimbo's blends the best of the old days -- a plush, completely decadent interior -- with the best of the new by spotlighting young bands and emerging talent. The enormous nightclub has two bars, a beautiful foyer, an intimate lounge, an expansive dance floor, and the most beautiful bathrooms in town, complete with attendants and cologne.
561 Geary, 885-1464
The Blue Lamp is a cozy lounge located in the theater district of downtown San Francisco. For over 50 years, it has served as a local watering hole and a comfortable place for new musicians to ply their trade. The live music, which is offered 365 days a year, ranges from blues to original modern rock and draws a diverse clientele from around the globe. Recently, the Blue Lamp was given the dubious distinction of being called San Francisco's No. 1 dive bar by the San Francisco Chronicle.
1840 Haight, 387-2996
Located one block from Golden Gate Park, this club has been crucial in keeping live music a feature of the Upper Haight over the last year. Equipped with a large stage and modern sound-and-light equipment, the club is committed to booking a diverse assortment of grooves including rock, blues, jazz, ambient, hip hop, and country.
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St., 621-4455
Nestled at the foot of Potrero Hill, this intimate nightclub features a pool room and a spacious outdoor patio. Recently it was outfitted with an upgraded sound system and remodeled for a more comfortable atmosphere. Since it opened its doors, the Bottom of the Hill has been dedicated to spotlighting up-and-coming bands and has welcomed acts like Weezer, Alanis Morissette, and the Presidents of the United States of America in their formative days.
2389 Mission, 550-7455
One of Mission Street's oldest restaurants, Bruno's originally opened in the 1940s and was considered one of the area's most popular restaurants up through the '60s. Recently remodeled, it is proving again to be one of the finer supper clubs in town with a wide variety of sensational lounge-style acts and some of the city's finest bartenders.
Cafe Du Nord
2170 Market, 861-5016
Cafe Du Nord is the oldest existing bar on Market Street. Located in the basement of the Swedish American Building on Upper Market, one can sense the history here. The bordello-red walls and carved mahogany bar give the place a warmth and character not often found in modern-day buildings. It books everything from ambient to swing to experimental jazz.
Cat's Grill & Alley Club
1190 Folsom, 431-3332
Cat's has been around for three years, playing host to an amalgamation of grooves including trip hop, jungle, and acid jazz on Mondays; dancehall and hip hop on Tuesdays; live rock on Wednesdays; Britpop, indie, and mod music on Thursdays; everything from Dolly Parton to AC/DC on Fridays; industrial, alternative, and gothic on Saturdays; and ambient on Sundays.
853 Valencia, 821-1891
Located in the Mission District and featuring an eclectic mix of live music, poetry, and experimental performance art, this well-loved hole in the wall is cozy and atmospheric and boasts one of the best velvet-painting collections around.
181 Eddy, 673-8181
A notorious nightclub with a lively history, Club 181 opened as an after-hours speak-easy in the '30s and went through a number of phases -- including a stint as a transvestite dive bar in the '70s. The club now concentrates on jazz and funk groups, with late-night DJs spinning rare grooves, house, funk, and soul.
1024 Kearny, 986-6678
Once known as Morty's, this nightspot with its crocodile motif is located in the heart of San Francisco's famed North Beach district. The current ownership is dedicated to booking an eclectic array of local talent.
139 Eighth St., 626-2337
Formerly Spike's, this SOMA basement bar is another '30s-style speak-easy offering up a variety of live entertainment in an intimate setting. Entrance to the bar is off Eighth Street in quaintly seedy Minna Alley.
917 Folsom, 974-1585
A frequent happy hour hangout for local bike messengers, this former country-western bar hosts a variety of music including funk, soul, new wave, punk, surf, and hip hop. The staff and surroundings combine a welcoming, affordable atmosphere with "down and dirty" friendliness.
375 11th St., 626-1409
Located in the heart of SOMA, this spacious dance club offers an excellent combination of live music from the funkiest in hip hop to the most smashing in alternative. Some of the Bay Area's top DJs spin into the wee hours for all your late-night dancing needs.
950 Geary, 885-4074
An authentic Scottish pub that has been in the same location for 63 years -- if you're looking for fish 'n' chips, the finest single malt scotch selection, a game of darts, or some great music this is the place to be. The intimate band room has an amazing vibe and great sound with do-it-yourself groups and music from baroque to noise. No attitudes allowed.