Best Place to Go Unplugged - 2006
Swedish American Hall
San Francisco, CA 94114
When Café Du Nord owner and all-around local music impresario Guy Carson started putting on shows at the street-level Swedish American Hall, certain concert-goers' first response was a firm "So what?" For starters, the place doesn't have a liquor license, plus it's seated, plus you get the feeling that it doubles as a bingo hall. But a performance in 2004 by Portland's M. Ward changed all that. The vaulted ceilings and stained-wood décor served as the perfect setting, both in terms of acoustics and overall vibe, for the rustic singer's oaky warble and fingerpicked guitar. Subsequent shows by everyone from Joanna Newsom to Jenny Lewis to Rhett Miller have proved that this is the perfect place to catch your favorite balladeer unplugged. The hall has grown so popular that many artists have taken to stopping by to deliver solo-acoustic sets before rolling through town later with a full band.