San Francisco is full of great places to see live music. From small venues to concert halls, you can find just about anything you want. With over 20 to chose from, I picked to review my top three: Slim’s, the Fillmore, and the DNA Lounge.
Slim’s is located on 11th Street and isn’t in a terrible part of the neighborhood. It’s easily accessible by the 11th Street Folsom bus and is little under a mile from the Civic Center BART. This makes it easy to get to by public transportation if you don’t like searching for a parking spots for two hours. The street parking is limited and I would advise against it.
Slim’s has a pretty nice interior. The stage is a bit small and the floor itself can get crowded. It also has no public seating, but you can reserve tables in the back. The price range for Slim’s varies from about $15 to $30 depending on the popularity of the band. Overall, Slim’s is a nice venue for its price and location.
The second venue I decided to review was the Fillmore. The Fillmore is located on Geary, which unfortunately is not in the nicest part of town. The other bad part is that it is about two miles from Civic Center BART, and it is not a pleasant walk. However, the inside of the Fillmore is more than a small local venue, with a large interior and a balcony. It has the best setup out of all the venues, and sound check does a good job.
The floor is significantly larger than Slim’s and the DNA Lounge, and there are usually larger crowds. The size of the Fillmore brings two downsides though. One, the security is a little more uptight and won’t allow you to do things like go outside or on the balcony without special permission. The other downside is that the price goes up, with tickets normally hitting around $30. The Fillmore has its pros in its larger size and bigger band selection, but falls short with location and price.
The final review is on the DNA Lounge. The DNA lounge is located on 11th street and once again is easily accessible by Civic Center BART, which is a mile away. It is fairly close to Slim’s and isn’t a bad walk. The DNA Lounge offers food, which sets it apart from the Fillmore and Slim’s. The venue is divided between the restaurant and the actual floor.
The floor of the DNA Lounge is cool in the sense that it’s a little run down but still functional. It’s close to the size of Slim’s, but packs a bit more of a punch. It plays a good array of music, from rock stars to local bands. It also offers shows and DJs. The price is reasonable, with ticket prices close to that of Slim’s.
If you’re looking to see live music in the city, I recommend all three. But the DNA Lounge is my first pick, with Slims not far behind. The Fillmore will offer bigger bands and larger crowds if you can pay for it.