Partying on Friday and Saturday is easy — anyone can do that. Going out during the week is much harder. The big venues close down, and the bookings become more sporadic. But this difficulty shouldn't dissuade you, as an entire world of more experimental parties thrives in the space between weekends. As is always the case, the trick to enjoying it all is following the promoters and performers, not the venues. So, if you've ever had a mind to party through the week without a care for the deleterious effect on your working life, this guide is for you.
It's Sunday, and you've just emerged from the painful haze of a hungover morning. Restore yourself on the patio at El Rio for Daytime Realness (3158 Mission St., third Sundays, 3 p.m., $6-$8; elriosf.com), a queer day party featuring an ever-shifting soundtrack of house and disco. Make sure you stick around for the drag performances, which are hosted and curated by Trannyshack's Heklina. If you're looking for something more laid-back, head to the Knockout for an evening of breakdancing to rare and soulful '80s R&B at Sweaterfunk (3223 Mission St., every Sunday, 10 p.m., free; theknockoutsf.com) — you never know who might guest. Even Dâm-Funk has been known to make appearances.
Monday might be the beginning of the nine-to-five workweek, but that doesn't mean there's a lack of options. Start your night at Motown on Mondays (500 Divisadero St., every Monday, 6 p.m., $3; madroneartbar.com), a hybrid soul and disco night at Madrone Art Bar which is so popular that people wait more than an hour to get in at peak time. Beat the rush by going early — the party starts at 6 p.m. with a warm-up of Motor City soul classics. Alternatively, if you're looking for something boozy, there's always Q Bar (456 Castro St., every Monday, 4 p.m., free; qbarsf.com). Mondays feature a mixed crowd of hipsters and club kids dancing to indie rock and snippets of Top 40. Here, though, it's not the music that's the draw, but the drink specials: two-for-one drinks from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and $2 well cocktails afterward.
On Tuesday, we recommend you take it slow. Cool off by checking in to Slow Jams at the Make-Out Room (3225 22nd St., every Tuesday, 10 p.m., free; makeoutroom.com). There, DJ Primo and a rotating assortment of guests show off a considerable collection of slow-tempo soul ballads from the '60s and '70s. It's all played on 7-inch 45 RPM records, which adds a kitschy crackle that fits the club's divey retro-prom decor. If you've ever aspired to experience something akin to the club life depicted in the gender-bending '80s cult film Liquid Sky, brave the Tenderloin at Aunt Charlie's Lounge for High Fantasy (133 Turk St., every Tuesday, 10 p.m., $2; auntcharlieslounge.com). It's a long-running weekly drag-centric party hosted by Myles Cooper that regularly features some of the best house DJs and drag performers in San Francisco. If that's not surreal enough, then don a tutu for Harlot's Tutu Tuesday (46 Minna St., second Tuesdays, 10 p.m., $10; harlotsf.com), a tech-house-fueled party which, yes, is mostly comprised of people dancing in tutus.
The first murmurings of weekend-style nightlife occur on Wednesday. Housepitality at F8 (1192 Folsom St., every Wednesday, 9 p.m., $5-$10; feightsf.com) is one of the best house nights in town. Its success lies in the way it provides an intimate and familial backdrop for big underground names — like Derrick Carter, Trus'Me, and Andrés — who'd normally headline the city's larger clubs. Gruffer sounds can be found by venturing to Bodyshock at Elbo Room (647 Valencia St., fourth Wednesdays, 9 p.m., $5-$10; elbo.com), a monthly party built around the slowed-down and ravey "new beat" genre that emerged from Belgium in the late '80s and early '90s (think Technotronic's "Pump Up the Jam," but without the rapping). If electronic music freaks you out, try 1964 at Edinburgh Castle (950 Geary St., second and fourth Wednesdays, 10 p.m., free; castlenews.com), which is one of the oldest '60s nights in the city. DJ Matt B plays sweet soul, girl groups, and other styles suitable for dancing in vintage apparel.
And then it's Thursday, which has been "the new Friday" since time immemorial. Gain an understanding of that sentiment by assembling your flashiest wardrobe and attending BASE at Vessel (85 Campton Place, every Thursday, 10 p.m., $8; vesselsf.com). The music is all pumping, big-room tech-house courtesy of the biggest names on the Ibiza circuit: Cassy, Lee Foss, and Sasha have all worked the club's high-end soundsystem. More exotic fare can be heard at Afrolicious, held at Elbo Room (647 Valencia St., every Thursday, 9 p.m., $5-$8; elbo.com). It's a weekly party that celebrates the funk and polyrhythms of Afrobeat, a West African sound popularized by Fela Kuti in the 1970s. Or, if you want something mellower, wind down with some futuristic trap and glitched-out bass at Beat Church, a forward-thinking, hip-hop informed event at F8 (1192 Folsom St., first and third Thursdays, 9 p.m., $5-$10; feightsf.com).
Then get a drink and some sleep — you'll need all the strength you can muster to make it through the weekend.