Best Rock Club - 2011
Bottom of the Hill
Ask upstart bands from around the world what venue they're most excited to play — in any city — and chances are you'll hear a lot about Bottom of the Hill. It may seem like just a 246-capacity room on the ground floor of a Victorian building far away in an oft-neglected corner of Potrero Hill, but for live music fans, the venue is a temple. A quick glance at the old posters on the wall will tell you why: Since opening in 1991, the club has played host to nearly every important rock band of its era — think Nirvana, Elliott Smith, Pavement — and continues to bring in the best local, national, and international talent. Much of the credit for that goes to booker and co-owner Rebecca Downey, who helped transform what was a neighborhood bar into a fantastic intimate space to see live music. You can get decent sightlines from almost anywhere in the main room, and there's cheap food on hand, a smoking patio, reasonably priced drinks, and thick, loud live sound. All this in a club that charges only $10 to $12 cover most nights — and has weird, crooked decor to go with its Old West saloon-style bar. It's one of the most distinctively San Francisco live music venues we can think of, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that the club has an international reputation.