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August 30, 2022
Live music is a must for visitors to San Francisco

Where to See A Concert in San Francisco Curated by Music City San Francisco

Music City San Francisco, home of the Music City Hotel and San Francisco Music Hall of Fame, has compiled and curated the “guide of all guides” of local music venues in San Francisco.

This quick, easy-to-read list describes the best small-to-medium-sized local music venues that San Francisco has to offer. From the leather-jacket dank, dark, and punk to the swanky and sultry jazz clubs, from the bassy and vibrant electronic music scene to the iconic, culture-defining rock n’ roll concert halls and venues, Music City San Francisco’s list covers the quintessential music spots in San Francisco.

The historic landmark venues and their familiar faces, like The Grateful Dead and The Fillmore, are all well n’ good (and obviously worth checking out, no question about it), but if you haven’t experienced the venues that incubated and gave rise to bands like Green Day, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and The Donnas – can you even say you’ve truly lived?

Check out the San Francisco local music venue list below and embark on a journey of musical discovery.

Indie

Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell St. in Civic Center/Hayes Valley)

This funky semi-grunge space focuses on Indie bands and late-night DJs. Rickshaw Stop is the longtime home of Popscene, a local institution known as SF’s premier indie music party and one of the longest-running weekly parties in the country. Popscene and the Rickshaw Stop are synonymous with introducing San Francisco to the “next big thing.” They also offer food and have lounge areas. Website | Instagram

Cafe Du Nord (2174 Market St. in the Castro District)

A former speakeasy space built in 1907, this historic music venue and Swedish-American meeting place was designed by Stockholm architect August Nordin. It provides a unique local music experience and New American eats and drinks. Website | Instagram

PianoFight (144 Taylor St. in Central Market)

This community-driven multipurpose venue has two theaters for sketch comedy and a cabaret music stage. It provides office and classroom space to local nonprofits and community organizations during the day. At night it offers a more chill, kick-back music experience with cocktails and seated tables around the stage. PianoFight serves American bites and cocktails. Website | Instagram

Rock

The Independent (628 Divisadero St. in NOPA)

One of the larger local venues listed, The Independent provides an intimate, no-frills music space with a full bar that features Rock/Indie and local emerging artists. Only the best of the best local bands play here! Website | Instagram

Neck of the Woods (406 Clement St. in the Richmond District)

A two-story late-night club/venue in the heart of the Inner Richmond neighborhood, this venue offers cocktails, local live music, and a spacious dance floor in a part of the city where music is sometimes hard to find. Website | Instagram

Bottom of the Hill (1233 17th St. in Potrero Hill)

This historic building from 1911 had multiple identities, including a speakeasy and a family restaurant, before it became a music venue in 1991. Bottom of the Hill has been a venue for emerging bands since the ’90s, including bands like Green Day, Foo Fighters, Reel Big Fish, Incubus, The Donnas, and many more. Website | Instagram

Amado's (988 Valencia St. in the Mission District)

A newer venue in San Francisco, Amado’shas been known by different names. Located on Valencia St., a busy strip filled with restaurants and shops, this is a neighborhood bar vibe with a basement music venue with local music most nights of the week. Website | Instagram

Milk Bar (1840 Haight St. in Haight-Ashbury)

Located in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood where Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, and many other amazing ‘60s bands got their start. Milk Bar offers a loud, local venue experience with a full bar and friendly local neighborhood characters to people-watch while enjoying your new, favorite local band perform. Website | Instagram

EDM

1015 Folsom (1015 Folsom St. in SoMa)

Famous DJs spin into the wee hours of the morning to packed crowds at this Friday and Saturday night dance club. The place can become a labyrinth of activity across five different rooms: multiple full bars, a huge 400-square-foot water-wall of visuals on display, and the kind of calm only an advanced and powerful lighting + sound system can produce–which is to say, not calm at all but a riot full of youthful, excitatory expression and dancing. Website | Instagram

The Midway (900 Marin St. in the Bayview)

Located in SF’s Bayview neighborhood, The Midway is a dynamic and interactive 40,000-square-foot urban canvas of innovation and music -literally the premiere underground EDM, house and bass music venue in San Francisco. Wandering through the various indoor and outdoor stages, noshing on food and drink becomes an experience with the amount of sonic talent and lights bouncing around. Come prepared to melt your face off - most of the time. Website | Instagram

Monarch (101 6th St. in SoMa)

Monarch features an art novo bar lounge with delicious craft cocktails, aerial circus, and lavish victorian seating upstairs. Downstairs the club has a state-of-the-art sparkly gold Void Acoustics sound system with custom LED lighting and hosts some of the world's top DJs and live acts. Website | Instagram

Punk

The Knockout (3223 Mission St. in the Mission District)

This classic graffiti-filled local punk venue provides one of the best local SF music scene experiences – if you can handle it! There’s nothing better than a small,sticky-floor moshpit with beer-splattered walls and authentic music blowing out the speakers! A must-visit if you ask us! Website | Instagram

Thee Parkside (1600 17th St. in Potrero Hill)

A local watering hole with a backyard patio and amazing food, including vegan and veg options. The small stage venue hosts bands from indie, punk, metal and country. Website | Instagram

El Rio (3158 Mission St. in the Mission District)

A Mission standard dive bar since 1978, this local LGBTQ+ bar offers stiff drinks, an expansive patio, shuffleboard, a pool table, and local music almost every night of the week. To quote a Yelp reviewer: “Definitely gives off backyard barbecue party vibes with a couch area or two where you can have more privacy and intimate conversations.” Website | Instagram

The Eagle (398 12th St. in SoMa)

The SF Eagle is a historic LGBTQ+ & Leather Community landmark that hosts periodic drag shows, theme nights, and local music. It also plays a major role in Pride celebrations and the emergence of the Folsom Street Fair and the Dole Alley Fair. Drinks are strong, and the “daddies” there are into kink, leather, and excitatory music. If that aligns with your interests, then you will have an exciting time at SF Eagle. Website | Instagram

Jazz

The Black Cat (400 Eddy St. in Central Market)

Originally opened in 1906, this is a swanky jazz lounge, cocktail bar, and new American bistro that offers two levels of seating and live jazz music. Top established and up-and-coming acts from Jazz hot spots worldwide play nightly from Wednesday through Sunday. Website | Instagram

Mr. Tipple's Recording Studio (39 Fell St. in Civic Center/Hayes Valley)

Mr. Tipple's offers one of the best SF local music experiences in memory.Its retro-influenced digs with a blues-club vibe feature live jazz, craft cocktails, dim sum, and live music from local players. Open Wednesday through Saturday. Website | Instagram

Blues

The Saloon (1232 Grant Ave. in North Beach)

One of the city’s oldest and top-rated blues bars, The Saloon is in North Beach, one of San Francisco’s most loveable neighborhoods. The Saloon provides a true San Franciscan experience like no other. It’s staffed by native SF bartenders who will undoubtedly give you lip while you order a drink. You can enjoy blues music that begins at 4 PM and extends until 1:30 AM nightly. Website | Facebook

Boom Boom Room (1601 Fillmore St. in the Fillmore District)

This venue is across the street from the famous Fillmore West and was named after the John Lee Hooker song “Boom Boom.” This checkered floor veteran club hosts live funk, jazz & blues sets by top musicians. Website | Instagram

Unique Venues

Bar Fluxus (18 Harlan Pl. in Union Square)

Located across the street from the entrance of Chinatown, next to The Irish Bank, this lively bar is tucked away down a quaint alley off Bush Street. Entertainment is served alongside beer, wine and cocktails in comfortable, eclectic quarters. The vibe is immaculate. Website | Instagram

The Lab (2948 16th St. in the Mission District)

Experience everything from experimental synthesizer artists, free jazz/world music mashups, noise music + projector visual envelope-pushing to calming ambient music and art indie pop. The Lab is a home and hub for artistic experimentation and devotes funding and space to traditionally underrepresented artists. Website | Instagram

The Riptide (3639 Taraval St. in the Sunset)

Just steps from the ocean, this easygoing bar and lounge offers a full bar, karaoke, and live bands. It looks and feels like a small-town lodge. In addition to rustic brick flooring and high ceilings, and the original knotty pine walls, it hosts a raging fireplace that warms you up as soon as you step inside the building. Website | Instagram

Make Out Room (3225 22nd St. in the Mission District)

The Make Out Room is a cross between a live music venue and a DJ dance party. This dimly lit, retro setting (complete with an actual disco ball) provides an amazing dance floor for audiences to dance to local bands and DJs who round off the night’s entertainment. If you want to groove, this is the place for you. Website | Instagram

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