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
Martuni's: This very gay piano bar features pianists ranging from the classically trained to the classically cornball. Its solid reputation as a place to get tipsy and belt out a little Sondheim keeps its walls packed. But don't think that just anyone can step up to the mike -- the tone-deaf are weeded out posthaste. 4 Valencia (at Market), 241-0205.
Mecca: DJs spinning soul songs almost make up for the pricey entrees and steep cocktails. But if you've got it, Mecca's worth it. 2029 Market (at Dolores), 621-7000.
Metronome Ballroom: Come learn to dance like the pros -- swing, salsa, tango, and other partnered steps -- or just come to show off. Either way, the DJs and live bands send people twirling and twisting. 1830 17th St. (at De Haro), 252-9000.
Mezzanine: Is that 50 Cent and his posse? J. Lo? This place is red-velvet slick, although the dance floor's loud enough and packed enough that you may forget. Or you can just go upstairs to the more chilled-out lounge. 444 Jessie (at Fifth St.), 820-9669.
Mighty: Live funk bands and beat-friendly DJs make it easy to show off on the dance floor; the $10 cover, however, does not. 119 Utah (at 15th St.), 626-7001.
Milk: As one of the Haight's best-sounding rooms, Milk features DJ sets of dance-ready hip hop, soul, and funk. If you show up before 9 p.m., admission is free. "Sushi Sunday" is a matinee of up-and-coming rock and punk bands that starts in the afternoon and carries no cover. 1840 Haight (at Stanyan), 387-MILK.
Mint Karaoke Lounge: Top-notch singers -- amateur and, it's suspected, otherwise -- flex their intimidating karaoke skills here, but the lounge's dim lighting and cozy feel when packed in (which is often) are sufficiently comforting to the rest of us, too. 1942 Market (at Duboce), 626-4726.
Monkey Club: Bright primary colors and creamy curtains create a Middle East-meets-Hollywood setting for beats and grooves that are equally world-wise in scope. The clientele seems friendlier than most (but maybe that's because the delicious drinks are so strong). 2730 21st St. (at Bryant), 647-6546.
Moose's: Talked about more for its food than for its jazz pianists (and rightly so), Moose's boasts a devoted slew of regulars and a full and friendly bar for one-timers. 1652 Stockton (at Filbert), 989-7800.
Movida Lounge: Nightly DJs dropping hip hop (from the Roots to the rest) along with punchy sake cocktails rank this tiny hangout as one of the city's hippest. 200 Fillmore (at Waller), 934-8637.
New Langton Arts: The 55-person theater houses the fringe -- from experimental performance art to John Cage-like music. Though puzzling at times, these weekly shows always sizzle. 1246 Folsom (at Ninth St.), 626-5416.
Nickie's: When the Lower Haight was dirty and funky, Nickie's was the place to dance and get sweaty till early in the a.m. Now the neighborhood's changed, but Nickie's still serves up some of the best weekly parties in town as patrons get down to the sound of reggae, hip hop, soul, world beats -- and a weekly Grateful Dead jam. 460 Haight (at Fillmore), 621-6508.
Noe Valley Ministry: At NVM -- home to the "Noe Valley Music" series -- come hear high-class bluegrass, folk, and old-time music in a stunning 200-person sanctuary (don't worry; they set up chairs). Tickets can be pricey, but the tunes are quality. 1021 Sanchez (at 23rd St.), 282-2317.
N'Touch Dance Club: From karaoke to thumping house beats, from male go-go dancers to divas, this gay club offers nightly spice, teeming with vibrancy and attitude. 1548 Polk (at Sacramento), 441-8413.
Old Rogue: This Irish pub has live music nearly every night of the week, including an open-mike night on Thursdays that’s become very popular with area songsmiths. On the weekends things get a bit louder when local rock and punk acts take the stage. But the schedule changes almost daily, so call ahead. 2319 Taraval (at 33rd Ave.), 566-9122.
Odeon: The Odeon ranks up there with the quirkiest of local establishments. Although yuppies and gawkers aren't always welcomed, some of the most fun and untamed of music and cabaret acts are. 3223 Mission (at Valencia), 550-6994.
Oxygen Bar, Sushi & Sake Lounge: A live DJ bar where you can also inhale oxygen, drink odd libations, and dig on the chill vibes, man. 795 Valencia (near 19th St.), 255-2102.
Papa Toby’s Revolution Cafe & Art Bar: The walls of this breezy Mission District cafe display a continuously changing exhibition of local visual art, and Papa Toby’s diverse music calendar follows suit. Two or three times a week, the small room offers free live jazz, creative folk, and (occasionally) laptop-driven ambient music. The lineup is always in flux, so be sure to call first. 3248 22nd St. (at Valencia), 642-0474.
Paradise Lounge: The former altrock club has reinvented itself to become a scenester heaven, featuring live pop bands and house-music DJs. See and be seen at this SOMA hot spot. 1501 Folsom (at 11th St.), 621-1911.
The Park: Located next to SBC Park, this place might seem like just another sports bar. But with an impressive roster of local talent -- bands ranging from jazz to rock to Top 40 -- and a bar that has more than just Coors Light on tap, this tasteful but accessible venue is one more reason to venture near the Giants stadium. 747 Third St (at Townsend), 974-1925.