Feel the Beat at San Francisco's 10 Best Music Venues

The power of live music to make folks feel good is on full display at a host of San Francisco night clubs. If listening to bands and vocalists show off their skills is how you like to spend an evening, you'll find that San Francisco does things right. Multiple options let you tap into the venues that 10Best readers favor, like Biscuits and Blues, or you can get a taste of the city's offerings by visiting places like Bottom of the Hill, which is known for its Rock music. While many venues on the local music scene are clustered in the Union Square area, know that terrific places to hear live music can be found throughout San Francisco.

And the sounds of San Francisco are as eclectic as the restaurants and the neighborhoods. The city is legendary for the Chinese fare of Chinatown, the Italian cuisine of North Beach, and the Latino food of the Mission. But the musical offerings are just as delicious. Whether you're in the mood for rock, pop, reggae, classical or country, San Francisco is a city big enough to attract world-renowned acts but small enough to  still have backroom bars where locals can croon to their hearts delight. Whatever type of music gets you in the groove, we promise our San Francisco list will help you find it.



Just as in the days when Rita Hayworth kicked things up as chorus girl Rita Casino, this San Francisco mainstay embraces grand 1930s style while maintaining a contemporary edge. Each night's artists are unique, and the place features everything...  Read More



Hemlock is big enough to have something for everyone. Just need a drink? Join them for their daily Happy Hour from 4-7. Want to dance? They have great live shows as well as popular local DJ's spinning at all hours. Need a snack? Grab a bag of...  Read More



For great rock 'n roll, make a point to catch top-notch live acts at Slim's, including a number of on-their-way-to-the-big-time bands. The first floor features a stage and small dance floor, while the upper level offers a small balcony for...  Read More

Bottom of the Hill


This club's a standout in a town filled with great clubs. Its intimate environment attracts a host of hip folks, and the place reverberates with the sounds of live rock and alternative music. In fact, international, regional, and local artists...  Read More

Biscuits and Blues


This evocatively named club offers a slice of Memphis right in the Bay area. And luckily, the name isn't just a gimmick. The place has a reputation as one of the best blues clubs in the country. Plus, the kitchen serves up hot biscuits, catfish,...  Read More

Pier 23 Cafe


More known for its live music than its food, Pier 23 is THE nightlife spot on the Embarcadero. The Embarcadero has enjoyed a real renovation over the last few years, so visitors could easily plan an entire day around a live show at Pier 23....  Read More



If your taste in nightlife tends towards the classy, dress to impress, and step into the 1930s-era glamour of Harry Denton's. The chic club is known for incredible live music, elegant decor, suited doormen, and a brief, upscale menu. Nightly...  Read More

Boom Boom Room


It's all about blues music at this Fillmore Street club, which also throws in soul, R&B, and gospel for interest and good measure. Regulars often follow-up a spin around the large dance floor with a drink at the bar, indulging in one of the...  Read More



What makes San Francisco unique is its diversity, all packed within forty-nine square miles, and The Plough and Stars is a great example. For a full day of fun, wander up and down Clement Street, popping into dim sum joints or thumbing through...  Read More



A great destination for groups, Great American Music Hall offers guaranteed good times, complete with live entertainment and drinks. Comedy acts grace the stage many nights, and live musical groups are a constant as well. The decor hearkens back...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom