Best Places to Go When the Midway Shuts Down

By Derek Opperman

Don't believe anyone who tells you that nothing good happens after 2 a.m. in San Francisco. Stick it out past last call, and a whole freak show of hardcore partying awaits, if you know where to look.

These are the places where people dance 'til 4 a.m. or later despite the lack of alcohol — nobody cares, nobody's on it anyway. Should you seek out this carnival, the first stop on your itinerary ought to be Monarch (101 Sixth St., 284-9774, Situated in the SoMa, its subterranean space is populated by a young and fashionable crowd, and its late-night license means you can enjoy the venue's ultra-lux sound system until the wee hours.

That might sound too chic for some, in which case another option is getting lost in the sweaty vibe of Mighty (119 Utah, 762-0151, Its wooden dancefloor and unusually loud system make it a popular choice for break-dancers and house-heads looking to go all night (it sometimes closes at 5 a.m.) Alternatively, if you're just coming off a bender in the Mission bar scene, try Public Works (161 Erie, 779-6757, Step inside and be bathed in the club's floor-to-ceiling projections while listening to some of the most cutting-edge techno and house the city has to offer; don't look at your watch, it might feel early, but it's actually 3:30 a.m.

However, for the truly hardcore, there is only one real option: The EndUp (401 Sixth St., 646-0999, With a history dating to 1973, it operates on a grandfathered all-hours license that allows it to remain open from Friday to Monday continuously, with some patrons choosing to stay there all weekend. Bring your sunglasses; you'll need them when you stumble out onto the patio for a smoke. That might seem like the last stop on the line, but true hedonists finish their weekends at Monroe (473 Broadway, 772-9002, Every Sunday morning, starting at 6 a.m., the North Beach ultralounge opens its doors to host those night owls looking for a dark and comfortable place to come down from an evening of fun. We advise you to order a screwdriver, find a booth, and enjoy the show.

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