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
Sacred Grounds Cafe: This Haight local claims to be S.F.'s oldest coffeehouse, which provides a clue to its musical tastes. It has an assortment of weekly comedy and poetry nights, but the pass-the-hat musical performances are mostly acoustic troubadours, open mike jam sessions, and, well, coffeehouse music. 2085 Hayes (at Cole), 387-3859.
Saloon: Revered for its daily live blues performances, the Saloon also has the rugged distinction of having survived the 1906 earthquake andstanding as the oldest bar in San Francisco (opened in 1861). 1232 Grant (at Columbus), 989-7666.
San Francisco Brewing Co.: The ambience of Cheers if you replaced Norm and Cliff with tourists, plus live jazz and blues on varying weekday nights. What it lacks in elegance it makes up for with damn tasty beer. 155 Columbus (at Jackson), 434-3344.
Savanna Jazz Club: Formerly the Voodoo Lounge, Savanna stands out in its Outer Mission neighborhood. It's as if a North Beach jazz club dropped a spore on Valencia. Intimate and comfortable, with accents of fake plastic plants, Savanna presents live jazz nightly, along with dinner and drinks at a reasonable price. 2937 Mission (at 25th St.), 285-3369.
Shanghai 1930: Opulent and unique, Shanghai 1930 includes a Chinese restaurant, a jazz venue with nightly live performances from several local bands, and a members-only cigar lounge. 133 Steuart (at Mission), 896-5600.
Simple Pleasures Cafe: This low-key Outer Richmond mainstay has been a favorite of poets and folkie songwriters since it opened in the '70s. While people can take in a book and a pint in the quiet back room, the stage out front hosts low-volume sets of acoustic rock, folk, and the occasional plugged-in pop band. 3434 Balboa (at 35th Ave.), 387-4022.
Skip's Tavern: Skip's could have been plucked from the roadside of a flyover state by a huge tornado and dropped -- scruffy patrons and all -- into Bernal Heights. It's more heartland than highbrow. Despite a long legal battle with ASCAP, guitar heroes of the neighborhood parade across the corner stage every night for no cover, offering electric blues licks by the bushel. 453 Cortland (at Andover), 282-3456.
Skylark Lounge: A dandy DJ bar with grand, high ceilings (which must have looked even grander when smokers reigned supreme in our nightlife). During one visit, a group of elimiDATE-rs walked in and, with much dissatisfaction, walked out. Our point? We love and thank Skylark. 3089 16th St. (at Valencia), 621-9294.
Slim's: A midsize rock club hosting up-and-coming bands as well as established underground favorites. High ceilings and plenty of space mean less claustrophobia but also less intimacy. 333 11th St. (at Folsom), 255-0333.
Sno-drift: Bay Area snow bunnies delight in the décor of this kitschy, Alpine-themed destination. Whether throwing back highballs to the thump of house music in the front or grooving to hip hop in the back, upper-crust clubbers pack the place on the weekends. Though Sno-drift doesn't house the city's busiest dance floors, DJs in both rooms spin quality sets into the wee hours. 1830 Third St. (at 16th St.), 431-4766.
Soluna CafĂ© & Lounge: Nestled right in the bleeding heart of the Civic Center, it's the best place, next to City Hall, to have a good laugh and a good time. Funk and world beats dominate the popular club nights at this spacious restaurant and lounge. 272 McAllister (at Larkin), 621-2200.
Space 550: Uses for this 15,000-square-foot venue, with its multiple levels of dance floors and lounges, vary widely, from gay-centric house music sweat-downs to underground hip hop DJ contests and breakbeat/drum 'n' bass nights. 550 Barneveld (between Industrial and Oakdale), 550-8286.
The Stud: Although small and cramped when packed, the Stud rules over other gay clubs with some of the best local and national DJs, innovative club nights ("Trannyshack" and "Guilty," to name just two), and overall atmosphere. The "smoking lounge" outside the entrance is a club scene in and of itself. 399 Ninth St. (at Harrison), 252-7883.
Studio Z: The mezzanine of Studio Z offers a view of one of the most eclectic performance spaces in the Bay Area. A regular home to performance poetry events, the spacious club also hosts live reggae, world beat, rock, and fusion. Even if the genres are all over the map, the quality is always top drawer. 314 11th St. (at Folsom), 252-7666.
Sublounge: A great DJ bar in the not-yet-great Dogpatch neighborhood (first-rate DJs make it worth the trip). A clean, cool, and sometimes Burning Man-ish joint for dancing and/or playing a few rounds on the two PlayStations. 628 20th St. (at Third St.), 552-3603.
Suede: House, drum 'n' bass, and everything in between thump and grind at Suede, where partyers succumb to the rhythms of the dance floor. Expensive drinks and a surprisingly friendly staff make overcoming the butterflies somewhat easier. 383 Bay (at Mason), 399-9555.
Suite one8one: DJ Mei-Lwun's seedy mash-ups of hip hop, booty, and classic rock might not be the perfect fit for the super-swank environs, but his Friday residency brings in the club's hippest clientele. Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday the DJs spin hip hop, house, funk, and soul with a conventional flavor. 181 Eddy (at Taylor), 345-9900.
Tempest: Maneuver through the mess of bikes to the spacious back patio, and it won't take long to figure out that this unassuming SOMA dive is a favorite of punks, anarchists, and messengers. Accordingly, the stage is home to crust punk, noise, and rock. Though the performances are infrequent, they're nice and loud. 431 Natoma (between Fifth and Sixth Sts.), 495-1863.