For a swift dose of the diverse, friendly, creative and vibrant community that is the essence of the San Francisco Bay, step and sway inside its blues music scene. Here are a couple of noteworthy venues worthy of your dance floor moves.
On Sunday nights, Swig is the perfect pre-week package, with a live blues jam and no cover charge. The ambiance, lighting, and volume are a good fit for a date night. Seating allows for relaxed music appreciation among friends – either the ones you brought, or those who you will surely meet. And if you can’t sit still very long, there will be plenty of dancing. No need to come with a partner or proficiency; patrons will be more than delighted to show you the way. (Should you be interested in a formal lesson, check out the beginner friendly lessons Monday nights at the Polish Club in the Mission).
Can’t make it out on Sunday night? The Saloon, dating back all the way to 1861, showcases great music every night of the week, with zero pretense and a little bit of grit. A small and welcoming dive in North Beach, this bit of San Francisco’s history has not become too touristy or pretentious. Some of the best characteristics of San Francisco — its warmth, diversity, culture, and soul — still reverberate at the Saloon's nightly blues lineup and feel-good atmosphere.
Listening to the jams here can mean chatting with a sweet lady at the bar who is missing quite a few teeth and has been a loyal patron for decades, and then brushing past a cute young guy in a collared shirt on your way to get close to the tiny stage—a stage supporting both local and national talent.
Best of all, drinks are reasonable. I put a five dollar bill down on the Saloon's bar for a screwdriver...and received change. Cheers to that!
Swig , 561 Geary
– going out solo/on a date/or with friends
– dancing (watching or participating)
– listening to fantastic live music
– no cover
– convenient location
– ambiance (fireplace/decor/lighting and all around vibe)
– friendly people with a sense of community
– volume at a level conducive to having a conversation
– 21 and up
The Saloon, 1232 Grant
– talented musicians seven nights a week
– cheap drinks/no cover
– low key atmosphere
– casual dancing
– interesting people
– an authentic experience with no pretense where you can let your hair down
– 21 and up
Shades of Blues takes place at the Polish Club in the Mission on Monday evenings (3040 22nd Street). There is a lesson at 8pm. Social dancing starts at 9pm. Friendly people, casual dress, comfortable learning environment. Blues and mainstream music/dj. Sliding scale cover charge.