Best Venues to Watch Local Bands in San Francisco


For music lovers who prefer a more intimate experience in the city, there are plenty of smaller venues that won't make you feel lost in the crowd. Whether you like jazz or rock, here are four places that are bound to please.

Make Out Room

Located in the Mission, this longtime dive bar is a great place to go for a casual night out to listen to live music and enjoy cheap strong drinks. Catch an up-and-coming band during a frequent happy hour show. Try to get there early if you want to snag one of the few booths around the perimeter of the dance floor.

Rickshaw Stop

This small concert venue with excellent acoustics and a tiny stage guarantees a very intimate experience. The stage has hosted big names like Ellie Goulding, Lily Allen, Bastille and Sam Smith to name a few, right before their big break. Make sure to check out the balcony for seating and an aerial view of the stage.

Plough & Stars

An Inner Richmond Irish dive bar that boasts top-notch pints of Guinness and the best traditional live music. The venue feels like you just stepped into someone's living room, complete with a pool table up front. If you get the munchies, there are plenty of late night bites to be had on Clement Street.

The Saloon

Known as the city's oldest saloon, this bar is the place to go to for cheap beer, friendly folk and nightly live music. The building is the same as it was more than a century ago and lends a feeling of what it must have been like during the Gold Rush era. Located in the heart of North Beach, this dive bar is the place to go for excellent jazz concerts and an inviting dance floor.

Julia is a freelance writer and native San Franciscan, born and raised. She is the founder of Small World This Is, and has written for Matador, Roads and Kingdoms, and USA Today.