Nestled between Alamedas bustling Park Street and Alameda High School, this 92-year-old hall draws about 250 people on Friday nights for dancing to live zydeco, and occasional Saturdays for swing. These weekly gigs are not too unlike a church function -- except for the full bar hidden in the back corner — with punch bowls filled with Oreos, pretzels, and chocolate chip cookies, and regulars who affectionately call each other by name. Tables line the wooden dance floor in this four-hundred-capacity hall, and its easy to see why people of all ages and walks of life from rockabillies to pimply-faced teens in Nirvana T-shirts to your aunt who frequents Ashkenaz come for the guaranteed crowd and, oh yeah, the handy dance lesson beforehand.
This Scottish pub in San Franciscos Tenderloin offers cheap imported beers — including Stella on tap — pool tables, and a jukebox with a slim but tasty selection of hipster indie-rock and dance music. The pub has three levels; theres a small stage and dance floor on the top floor where you can often catch rock and folk acts, plus readings by local authors. Weekly events include Monday movie nights, and the brainiac Castle Quiz every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. Most shows are free or $5 at the most.
Located at El Cerrito High School, this venue has hosted Berkeley Opera, with a cast partly composed of high school students.
This popular Mission District bar and club features music seven nights a week. On Fridays and Saturdays, a diverse mix of twentysomething and thirtysomething weekend warriors line up to get in; some just to squeeze into the packed-tight bar downstairs, others to dance to whatever combination of Latin funk is on the bill upstairs. During the week, the Elbo Room hosts an assortment of rock, DJ, and world music. Expect to pay about $5 for weekday shows, and between $8 and $12 on the weekends. Whether you're new to San Francisco or not, the Elbo Room is usually a guaranteed good time for dancing and meeting people.
A Fillmore gig is a sure sign you've officially made it. You'll pass the ghosts of Hendrix, Joplin, Garcia, and venue mastermind Bill Graham as you climb the stairs; in the foyer, grab a free apple and soak in an enormous wall of pop-star Fillmore alumni, while a full bar/restaurant lurks upstairs. The huge hardwood main room is the same place Hendrix and Miles Davis recorded live albums back in the day. The Fillmore's demographic has shifted younger in recent years (as modern and alternative rock have overtaken the classic and acid varieties), but it's still one of the best places in the world to see a show.
Home of The Crucible's annual Fire Arts Festival.
Recently remodeled, the 17,000 square foot Firehouse Arts Center includes a full-size art studio theater, as well as a gallery space and two classrooms.
Intimate theater with seating for 80+ hosts dance performances, art shows, film screenings, music and more.
Founded in 1968, the Freight & Salvage may be one of the most reliable venues for music in the East Bay. The venue is all ages, nonprofit, non-smoking, and alcohol-free. Here’s what you can count on from this Berkeley institution: a variety of traditional acoustic music played by accomplished musicians, an excellent sound system, and a crowd that deeply appreciates the music. Somewhere between a glorified barn and a church, the Freight’s atmosphere ensures that the attention is focused on the stage, where a range of folk, bluegrass, swing, country, Cajun, and world music can be heard. While shows here aren’t cheap, this venue is also a nonprofit, so you can feel better about where your money is going.