The Weeknighter: Madrone


Weekends are for amateurs. Weeknights are for pros. That's why each week Stuart Schuffman will be exploring a different San Francisco bar, giving you the lowdown on how and where to do your weeknight right.  From the most creative cocktails to the best happy hours, Stuart's taking you along on his weeknight adventures into the heart of the City's nightlife.  So, who wants a drink?

I may have had sex in the pantry at a party in the apartment above Madrone one Halloween. As you can imagine, it’s hard for me to think about Madrone and not smile. But this isn’t about my amorous Halloween adventures, it’s about the bar Madrone, a place where I’ve spent scores of nights having, if not as much fun as may have occurred in the upstairs food pantry, damn near close.

I began going to Madrone around the time it first opened. This must’ve been in 2005 because The Gaslamp Killer was not a world famous DJ yet (or one who just played Coachella last weekend) and he was still living in The City. Back then GLK, DJ Centipede and Citizen Ten had a weekly party named Change the Beat so I’d spend nearly every Tuesday night sweating it out to hard beats at Madrone. Since that time, Change the Beat has moved to Som, GLK has moved to Los Angeles, and I’ve continued to move my ass on the dance floor, in the soft glow emanating from the chair made of neon lights. See, Madrone is an art bar, so besides permanent pieces like the afore mentioned chair and a Burberry clad Kalachnikoff , there are always rotating art shows adorning the walls. While you’re sipping a drink named after Herbie Hancock or Morris Day, and shaking your tuchus to live music or the Dee Jay, you can peruse and even purchase work from a bad-ass local artist.

The weekly musical selections are also an incredible reason to go to Madrone, especially at the beginning of the week. I’ve spent countless evenings over the past three years at Motown on Mondays, where you can listen to some of the best tunes ever created in America and get a chair massage. How’s that for service? Tuesdays also prove to be  epic when for just a two dollar cover you get access to $2 beers and get to see local legend Oscar Meyers play trumpet, percussion and sing. He may be ancient, but I’m pretty sure he’s still a ladies man. He certainly dresses like it. Another must attend night at Madrone is The Get Low on Wednesdays. I don’t know if it’s just for April, but DJ Jerry Nice and friends are using their weekly party to play the best of mid 90s rap and R&B. This means you can scratch your Illmatic/Reasonable Doubt/Liquid Swords itch in the company of other like minded microphone fiends. Fuck, after rereading this past paragraph I seriously wanna boogie. Don’t you?

The Divisidero corridor has changed a lot in the past few years. More and more new businesses are cropping up and changing the surrounding neighborhood into something more vibrant. Justin Juul even said something about it kinda being like the Mission for people in their 30’s The credit for this doesn’t belong solely to Madrone, but the bar has certainly acted as an anchor for it. So go to Madrone. Go dance. Go drink. Go look at art. Just don’t go have pantry sex in the apartment upstairs, at least not till Halloween.      

500 Divisadero @ Fell, (415) 241-0202


Stuart Schuffman has been called "an Underground legend" by the SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero" by the SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap" by Time Out New York. He is also the host for the IFC travel show Young, Broke & Beautiful. Follow him @BrokeAssStuart.

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