Best Building Built in 1907 San Francisco 2012 - The Swedish-American Hall
The field of competition for this category is broad and deep, but the Swedish-American Hall wins because there's nothing else like it in the city. From the outside, it appears to be a smallish, chalet-quaint multi-purpose structure. Downstairs is the basement level Cafe Du Nord, somewhat better known as an indie concert venue. The Swedish is upstairs. Unlike the cozy, darker Cafe Du Nord, the Swedish is an expansive, wood-paneled room that looks like a small-town city hall of yore. The decorative paneling is embedded with the crests of the Swedes who built the place — and who still own and operate it, incidentally. The wood makes for warm, intimate acoustics that are routinely praised by musicians who have played there. At some shows, drinks are sold at a makeshift cloth-covered table, which adds to the small-town mixer vibe. Take a few minutes to explore the space before the show or in between sets: Even the staircase leading up from the street is charming.