Best Venues to Watch Local Bands in San Francisco

The San Francisco music scene, along with the city itself, has a seen a ton of changes in the recent decades, but the music scene has done well to cater to a diversely growing audience while staying true to San Francisco's vibrant spirit and fresh originality. Take a look at five venues that have kept San Francisco's musical scene rich, alive and thriving.


PianoFight is your neighborhood bar with a great space for live music and two showrooms in the back for theater and comedy. The venue is great at booking bands with new stuff across a range of different genres. In combination with a uniquely diverse crowd and an amazing atmosphere, every experience at Piano Fight is one you'll never forget.

The Lost Church

You'll find The Lost Church in a tin building on the corner of Capp and Adair and walk into a charming venue with perfect acoustics, warm lighting, and dark wood floors; not to mention a small upstairs bar with an outdoor standing gallery if you need to get a breath of air. The Lost Church is known to open its doors to a variety of exceptional artists from pretty much everywhere and is well intent on celebrating the performing artists, with chairs assembled in bleacher style so you can get a clear view of your performers from wherever you sit.

The Independent

The Independent is a San Francisco favorite with a relaxed vibe, great music, a diverse crowd, and oft sold-out after parties. The venue's sound quality is amazing, a bit on the loud side, but never blaring. There's a bar in the back where the lines can get busy; luckily cocktail waitresses also wind through the crowds during the show taking drink orders, so you don't have to give up your seat to get some booze.

Hemlock Tavern

An old school SF original, Hemlock Tavern has known decades of great bands and serves solid drinks from a circular bar. Known by regulars as The Hemmie, this venue books hard-to-see bands from a manifold of musical backgrounds, so don't be surprised if the place is packed when there's a must-see band playing.

The Fillmore

Another San Francisco classic, The Fillmore has a rich history with its opening dating back to 1912 as an Italianate-style dance hall and moving through time to become today's amazing music venue. The venue gives a truly vintage feel, complete with original San Francisco architecture, hanging chandeliers, and walls full of classic Fillmore posters. Large crowds fit well on the main floor, while balconies on the second give great panoramic views of performing artists. Along with amazing shows and stellar sound quality, you'll receive a complimentary tour poster at the end of sold-out shows.

Christina Wong is a Bay Area native who loves to travel the world, but always finds her way back to California.