By Ian S. Port
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California Club: Despite its name, the semiprivate California Club is best known as a host venue for events from a variety of international cultural groups from places such as Iceland and Poland, making it a space where almost any type of music, from classical to folk, might be played and enjoyed. 1750 Clay (at Van Ness), 474-3516.
The Canvas: What started out as a combination of a bright performance space/gallery and a tasty cafe has expanded to become a music destination. Nimble downtempo and drum 'n' bass DJs are now as likely as comedy and open mike musings -- all still rare birds in the Sunset. 1200 Ninth Ave. (at Lincoln), 504-0060.
Casanova Lounge: Locals pack the worn velvet couches of this charming, dimly lit Mission District dive for pocket-change happy hour specials, the occasional rock set, and a stocked jukebox. 527 Valencia (at 16th St.), 863-9328.
Cat Club: Two rooms -- one with a stage, the other with a DJ coop -- and two bars double your pleasure in this dainty, well-lit hipster hangout. Music varies nightly. 1190 Folsom (at Eighth St.), 431-3332.
Cherry Bar & Lounge: The sexy, fluffy red interior is a perfect match for this women's dance club, which is open every night with a different flavor for each. And we do mean different, from goth to hip hop to underground house music. 917 Folsom (at Fifth St.), 974-1585.
Cityscape: It's worth saving pennies for this upscale bistro atop the Hilton San Francisco: The spectacular panorama from 460 feet above the ground is well worth the pricey fare. DJs spin light Top 40 nightly, but don't expect a bustling dance floor; most people are here for the views. Hilton Hotel, 333 O'Farrell (at Mason), 923-5002.
Cloud 9 Motel: This snazzy retro bar pretties up the otherwise dismal block at Seventh and Market streets. Sip cocktails and enjoy the house-music DJ in the glitzy upstairs bar or head to the basement for some dark and dirty dancing. 34 Seventh St. (at Market), 355-9991.
Club 1028: This high-end DJ lounge offers popular house, hip hop, and funk parties all week and doubles as a karaoke den. There's almost never a cover for the club's main room, and the fee is reasonable for singers. Recreational crooners who want to try out their best Neil Diamond enjoy cozy private rooms. 1028 Geary (at Polk), 567-7540.
Club Jazz Nouveau: With nonstop jazz pumping from the stage and setting the mood, this club has spearheaded the genre's revival in San Francisco. The house sizzles nightly for a modest cover. 2801 Leavenworth (at Beach), 921-2100.
Club Malibu: Have your Berlitz phrase book handy at this Mission District hot spot, as neither staff nor patrons speak much English. The place is packed almost every night for DJs who spin south-of-the-border club bangers. When Norteña bands play long sets on the weekends, it's like a can of sardines (or should we say "como sardinas en banasta"?). 3369 Mission (between 29th and 30th Sts.), 821-7395.
Club NV: Its upscale digs are home to a wild Friday night scene. People move through two large dance areas to a mix of Latin house, high-energy romps, and club anthems. If you have the extra cash and a penchant for privacy, NV also offers plenty of VIP hideouts. 525 Howard (at First St.), 339-8686.
Club Rendez-Vous: This destination is a favorite of thirtysomething gay men with a taste for house music and a good pickup scene. The regular drag pageants and male reviews are exceedingly popular, rendering the long, narrow space quite cozy. 1312 Polk (at Bush), 673-7934.
Club Six: A fancy-schmancy martini mecca aboveground, Club Six has a cavernous basement with an ample dance floor where some of the world's top DJs come to spin techno and hip hop (among other styles), often into the wee hours of the night. 60 Sixth St. (at Jessie), 863-1221.
Community Music Center: In addition to hosting all kinds of private music instruction, the center's 130-seat auditorium is a regular home to low-price (sometimes free) concerts and recitals. Performances from students, faculty, and visiting artists are a safe bet for quality and run the gamut from Copland to Coltrane. 544 Capp (at 20th St.), 647-6015.
Compass Rose: This historic 1904 bar is the crown jewel of the St. Francis Hotel, though you don't have to be a hotel guest to enjoy a cocktail. The saloon offers a view overlooking Union Square, a warm atmosphere, and live small-group jazz Tuesday through Saturday. Westin St. Francis Hotel, 335 Powell (at Geary), 774-0167.
Cosmopolitan Cafe: Proud of its bid to be known as one of the city's best places to have a power lunch, it's an equally buzzing place for an after-work drink -- particularly its namesake -- or bite, and to enjoy DJs playing downtempo. Ties are loosened, but only so much. 121 Spear (at Mission), 543-4001.
Curve: Your good time at Curve might be contingent on when you visit. In the shadows of SBC Park, it's a bustling lunch spot during midweek, a beer-soaked hub for Giants fans during a game, and a headbangers haven on the weekends. The roster of performers is just as diverse as the personalities, so call ahead. 747 Third St. (at King), 896-2286.
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