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12 Galaxies: One of the few places left in the Mission District to catch live music. Still in its adolescent stages, it's the perfect two-floor outfit to see rock or punk shows. It also showcases innovative cabaret, burlesque, fashion, art, and DJ nights. 2565 Mission (at 22nd St.), 970-9777.

13 Views: If you couldn’t have guessed by the name, this upper-floor hotel bar offers great views of both the street below and the downtown skyline. Though the clientele tends mostly toward out-of-town travelers, 13 Views is also a popular weekend destination for locals with a taste for piano- and guitar-led jazz combos. 5 Embarcadero Center, Market & Drumm, 788-1234.

26 Mix: For when you want to lounge and for when you want to dance, 26 Mix has the best of both worlds. Its bar/lounge area thrives as a colorful spot to chill, while the dance floor and back room help release any pent-up energy. 3024 Mission (at 26th St.), 826-7378.

111 Minna Gallery: An art gallery/nightclub/bar, this place shows films, hosts DJs, gets people drunk -- all in a sleek (read: Make sure you dress up) atmosphere where pretty people come to play. 111 Minna (at Second St.), 974-1719.

330 Ritch: The former apex of the early '90s acid-jazz scene is now home to the long-running indie-pop weekly "popscene" as well as salsa and hip hop nights. Delicious food, dancing, and pool make this dark alley hideaway a hip hangout for the city's young and fabulous. 330 Ritch (at Townsend), 541-9574.

715 Harrison: This place seems like the last of its line -- an aging dinosaur left over from the early boom of club life, with enormous crowds, cavernous dance areas, and an unceasing thump. Weekend parties represent mainstream clubgoing tastes, with DJs spinning techno, high energy, and house. 715 Harrison (at Third St.), 339-8686.

848 Community Space: True to its name, this cooperative spot features art shows, group meetings, theater performances, and live music and is also a live-work space with two bedrooms and a kitchen. 848 Divisadero (at McAllister), 922-2385.

1751 Social Club: The former Storyville is new and improved, but it's still home to many popular hip hop and '80s-music weeklies. Chilling in the front, boogieing in the back. 1751 Fulton (at Masonic), 441-1751.

Abbey Tavern: This Irish sports bar in the Inner Richmond features live DJs on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. A mixture of pop, rock, '80s, and dance music caters to a mostly collegiate crowd. 4100 Geary (at Fifth Ave.), 221-7767.

Amber: Its inviting character and unaffected air attract local restaurant/bar workers for unofficial '80s, honky-tonk, and punk rock nights. Enjoy a Sidecar or an Amber Cocktail in the lounge-y barroom. 714 14th St. (at Church), 626-7827.

Amnesia: Red, hypnotic light helps this tiny bar live up to its name, and its tall stage features everything from bluegrass to experimental electronica. Though the music quality varies, the price is always right. 853 Valencia (at 20th St.), 970-0012.

Amoeba Music: Come hear a band you should probably know about amidst thousands of CDs you should probably own at Amoeba's regular in-store concerts. A head-scratching variety of genres offers an awesome cross-section of today's music. Sound quality may suffer, but hey, such is indie rock. 1855 Haight (at Stanyan), 831-1200.

Annie's Cocktail Lounge: Neighborhood locals converge on the comfortable, inviting Annie's for the punk rock/rockabilly music and an upstairs pool table. Come for the martinis, stay for the karaoke -- every Tuesday and Saturday. 15 Boardman (at Bryant), 703-0865.

Anú: Low lighting, lounge seating, and the freshest electronica DJs rank Anû as a bona fide hot spot, despite its somewhat seedy location. Arrive early on Fridays for a massage and a tarot card reading. Just be sure to try the bartenders' favorite cocktail, the Pink Bird. 43 Sixth St. (at Mission), 543-3505.

Arrow: The best place in the occupied nightlife territory of Sixth and Mission streets, period. It's part bar and part cave dance floor (complete with stalactites), packaged with various guest DJs. A young, modish crowd usually dominates; the party doesn't get going until at least 1 a.m. 10 Sixth St. (at Market), 255-7920.

AsiaSF: Although DJs at AsiaSF draw from a booming mix of R&B, house, salsa, and pop while the chefs serve up tasty treats, it's the "gender illusionists" -- the cross-dressing waitstaff -- who rank this inclusive, friendly restaurant as a swanky gay and lesbian hangout. 201 Ninth St. (at Howard), 255-2742.

Atlas Cafe: On Thursday nights live music takes over this neighborhood coffee and herbivore-friendly sandwich shop, filling the place (and the inviting patio area) with a rotating array of the sounds of Americana, from blues to ragtime. 3049 20th St. (at Florida), 648-1047.

The Attic: The grittiness of your favorite dive bar and the sounds of your favorite DJ combine to create a great Mission District spot that transcends all trends. 3336 24th St. (at Mission), 643-3376.

Aunt Charlie's Lounge: Boys, girls -- what's the difference, really? Boys become girls as part of Aunt Charlie's "Hot Boxx Girls" show every Friday and Saturday night, a lip-syncing experience a few miles to the left. 133 Turk (at Taylor), 441-2922.

Avalon Ballroom: Hardly the cultural landmark it was in the '60s, the renovated ballroom now attracts a wider range of bands, from reggae to metal. But the 500-person, carefree venue still draws the hippies as it slowly becomes a mainstay on the jam band circuit. 1268 Sutter (at Van Ness), 847-4043.

Azul: Whether the music is Latin jazz or beat-bottom DJs, weekends transform Azul from weekday laid-back lounge to swank hot spot. 1 Tillman (at Sutter), 362-9750.

Badlands: The Castro's finest and best-dressed boys pour into Badlands as much for the dancing (straight-up pop in the evening) as for the scenery. Not-too-low lighting allows for intimacy without ignorance. 4121 18th St. (at Castro), 626-9320.


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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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