Fillmore Street, linking the Western Addition on the south to Pacific Heights on the north, is the dynamic axis of what locals call “The Fillmore.’’ The neighborhood has gained fame as one of the primary incubators for San Francisco’s revitalized music scene, an area where musical greats such as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and Count Basie headlined jazz clubs back in the day. The venue at 1330 Fillmore St.(formerly Yoshi’s jazz club) has recently expanded live music bookings to include R&B and other genres. A few doors down, 1300 on Fillmore reinvents the supper club and serves comfort food such as grits and fried chicken with a sophisticated flair. The $6 music surcharge for the Sunday Gospel brunch is well worth it and “spirits for your soul” include bottomless pomosas (think mimosa made with red pomegranate juice).
Also, on the south side of Geary, the legendary 1960s music emporium the Fillmore still rocks the ‘hood. There’s still a bin of apples at the entrance for concertgoers, a tradition started by famed music impresario, Bill Graham, and concert posters dating back to 60s adorn all the walls.
For an immersive experience in the neighborhood’s jazz roots, visit the Jazz Heritage Center (JHC), the only permanent cultural and educational complex dedicated to the long history of jazz in the city and, in particular, the Fillmore District. The JHC is part jazz museum, part jazz cultural center and part jazz art gallery.
Every Saturday throughout the year the Fillmore Farmers Market features local produce, and several nearby restaurants also have booths at the market. The area is home to some of San Francisco’s most historic churches including Bethel A.M.E. Church, First A.M.E. Zion Church, St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church and Third Baptist Church (all of which are stops on the African American Freedom Trail).
Upper Fillmore offers unique clothing, housewares and accessories shops, caffeinated cafes, and watering holes such as Harry’s Bar with its dark mahogany and brass. The New Orleans-flavored Elite Cafe shucks fresh oysters and pours serious drinks. For big fun, the Fillmore Jazz Festival packs 100,000 revelers into 12 blocks of Fillmore every Fourth of July.