San Francisco nightclubs are vibrant, diverse, and exciting. San Francisco has long been known as a city that night creatures love, meaning that once the sun goes down, things have a way of really heating up and taking off in regards to dance floor action. Nightclub life here varies as greatly as the city's population-there are massive spaces the size of football fields, and tiny ones no bigger than the average kitchen pantry. Here's our guide to some of the best San Francisco nightclubs.
1015 Folsom Street (at 6th Street) (415) 431-1200 Official Website & Events Calendar: 1015 Folsom
Absolutely gigantic, much-loved San Francisco nightclub has three levels of fun to choose from once you get past the intimidating security guards and in the door. It also has what is probably the best soundsystem of any club in the Bay Area. Even when this space gets crowded-and it almost always does-there's plenty of elbowroom, and more importantly, room on the many dance floors for rump shaking. Definitely check out the upstairs chill-out room if you need a break to wipe down some sweat, or crash out on one of the many couches in the various lounge areas throughout the club. 1015 Folsom is the best place in town to witness local, national, and international DJ superstars working their craft-be sure to strap on footwear you can dance all night in.
Club Fuego at Space 550
550 Barnevald Avenue (between Oakdale and Industrial Streets) (415) 550-8286 Official Website & Events Calendar: Club Fuego at Space 550
Located in the industrial wasteland area near Bayshore Boulevard, space550, or Barnevald (which is what most people refer to it as), arose during the late '90s, right at a time when it was becoming painfully clear that San Franciscans needed another massive dance space due to the influx of hip dot.commers and the rise in popularity of electronica music. This is a state-of-the-art establishment that hosts not only DJ nights, but also private dinners. cocktail parties, and corporate events. There's one enormous dance floor, plus two other smaller rooms for grooving on the main floor, plus a cozy crash-out space on the second floor complete with couches, chairs, and even ottomans. You'll need a car to get there, and it's recommended that you don't just show up on a Saturday night expecting something to be going on. Always check the online events calendar at Club Fuego's official site!
San Francisco Nightclubs: Cat Club
1190 Folsom Street (at 8th Street) (415) 431-3322 Official Website & Events Calendar: Cat Club
Hip South of Market club is where all the town's thrift store-clad scenesters flock to for throwback nights like the popular 1984, which focuses on-yep, you guessed it-80s synth pop and rock. There's a nice-sized plywood dance floor, a mini-stage for go-go dancing, and a handsome, brick-walled back bar away from all the noise and chatter of the main floor. The sound here can get intensely loud-it's not uncommon to see people wearing earplugs while dancing. So if you have sensitive ears…While you can see people of all ages at the Cat Club, you're mainly going to find twentysomething college students mixing it up. Hopefully, they won't make you feel too old.
401 6th Street (at Harrison Street) (415) 646-0999 Official Website & Events Calendar: Endup
One of the coolest and most notorious after hours nightclubs of all of San Francisco, the Endup has been packing em in since way back in 1973, and has gained international fame for a variety of reasons, one of them being its place in Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City" book and mini-series. This is high energy house music heaven, and the lovers of this music genre sweat it out just about every night of the week on the cozy dance floor. The back patio-equipped with plentiful seating, a waterfall, and a two-story deck-is a godsend for smokers. There's also a cozy ski lodge-esque lounge area inside right off the dance floor, with a newly restored fireplace to curl up next to for a chat with a friend. On the weekends, it seems like this place doesn't' even close-the long-running Sunday Tea dance begins at 6am!
San Francisco Nightclubs: Mezzanine
444 Jessie Street (between 5th and 6th Streets and Mission and Stevenson Streets) (415) 625-8880 Official Website & Events Calendar: Mezzanine
This brand new nightclub space-located in a particularly seedy section off the skid row section of 6th Street-was voted best new nightclub by the SF Weekly in 2005. It has the look and feel of a warehouse, but an incredibly chic and stylized one-there's a padded dance floor to groove on, upper-level lounges with different DJs spinning entirely different music from what's being pumped out on the main floor, and a highly exclusive upstairs VIP lounge for big spenders. The unique thing about Mezzanine is that it's not strictly all about DJ-spun dance music-live bands with heavy electronica and synth influences are playing here, too.
420 Mason Street (at Geary Street) (415) 693-0777 Official Website & Events Calendar: Ruby Skye
According to owner George Kaparty, Ruby Skye is a club for people who are "grown up, make money, and dress nice." So I guess if you're none of these things, don't even consider putting yourself in the mix. This relatively new dance club is housed in a gigantic space (it was the Stage Door Theater before its current incarnation) and has a very roomy dance floor, one that seems to be perpetually bathed in sexy red and orange lights. There's a billiards and stogy-smoking section upstairs for VIPs, and lots of velvety, oversized couches to flop on. Be prepared to spend a lot of dough if you come-cover charges are steep, and drink prices even steeper.