This cavernous SOMA warehouse is one of the best places in SF to catch hot international DJs and boogie down to everything from Eighties raver candy to psychedelic trance while watching cool laser light shows. There are three tiers and four dance floors, lavish VIP room, perfect for showcasing multiple genres on a single evening. The smallest chamber is choky with a low canvas ceiling, while the largest room takes up two floors and features a booming sound system. The clientele is young and potentially meat-marketish, but that might be one of the clubs perks.
Located in the historic Croll building, the Alameda bar and eatery has offerings for the thirsty and hungry alike. Patrons can stop by on weekends for an American-style breakfast on the bar's patio and start the drinking early with $10 bottomless mimosas and other morning-time libations. As the day wears on, the menu turns to bar fare like pulled-pork sliders and BBQ chicken wings.
The dive-y bar and dance club features occasional live DJs.
Tucked in an alley in San Francisco's SOMA district, 330 Ritch boasts a full-service kitchen and hosts rock bands and hip-hop DJs.
This fun, friendly neighborhood tavern attracts regulars, young and old. The barstaff is attentive and informed, and pours from an extensive list of spirits that seems to grow daily. There's also a daily happy hour, great jukebox selections, and DJs spinning on the weekends, making Acme Bar a solid bet all around.
At Actual Cafe, it's all about sitting down and enjoying the coffeehouse experience. Get a cup of joe (or tea) served in a real china cup, plop down, and just hang for a while. Actual Cafe boasts comfy furniture and communal seating to encourage actual interaction with actual human life-forms. It's "not just another wi-fi shack." Indoor bike parking and a full menu are also available. Weekends are laptop-free.
Located below street level in the Old Oakland district, the AIR Lounge exudes that upscale, VIP vibe for the urban hip. Three rooms offer plenty of space to spread out, and the cozy seating within the blue walls invites snuggling. DJs spin downtempo, soul, and world beat every Wednesday through Saturday nights. Open-mic poetry precedes music on Wednesdays.
Located inside the Mediterranean restaurant Angela’s Bistro and Bar, Alameda Vintner’s Club features an extensive wine list, including various local wines. Located next to the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex, it’s a convenient place for a pre- or post-movie drink and snack.
Albany Taproom, Albany’s first beer bar, offers 32 draft beers in addition to a selection of ciders and wine. The bar menu is crafted to complement every type of brew. On Tuesdays, various local artists and musicians perform.
This North Berkeley pub is popular, particularly among students, for its wide selection of board games like Scrabble and Connect Four, not to mention darts, pool, and the Sunday-night trivia quiz. Order a brew from the thirteen on tap or sample its serious selection of Scotch. Even man’s best friend is welcome. On alternating Wednesdays and Saturdays, this laid-back British-style bar hosts bluegrass, world music, or jazz bands.
A cozy, worker-owned cafe, offering Verve coffee, various pastries and teas, and community events.
This cafe is a diverse gathering place. There’s lots of conversation, and, because the wireless is unreliable, it isn’t a haven for laptop users. Besides consistently good coffee, Alem’s' menu includes healthy breakfast and lunch offerings like Shiyan Phool, a dish made with fava beans, onion, and feta cheese that’s served with a slice of bread. It’s in a colorful little building across the street from the DMV. Cash only.
Rod Dibble plays piano nightly at this Lake Merritt bar, often with vocal accompaniment from local amateur cabaret crooners. Designed like an old saloon with relatively private diner-style booths (where you can order a burger, steak, or fries to go with your drinks), the Alley is characterized by its vintage clotheslines, pink and baby-blue restroom stalls (much cleaner than those at your average East Bay haunt), and the thousands of marquees and business cards stapled to its walls. In contrast to the swankier Kingmans Lucky Lounge across the street, the Alley stays true to its namesake, and the cluttered decor makes it seem homey.