AOL’s City’s Best rates the San Francisco live music venues like this:
- Boom Boom Room
- Great American
- Bottom of the Hill
- Cafe du Nord
- 12 Galaxies
- the Independent
- Rickshaw Stop
Okay, so I haven’t made it to the Boom Boom Room, but I’ve been to a lot of other venues, including all of the other ones on this list, so I feel like I have a pretty good idea of how wrong they are. I also have to say that for its size, the Fillmore is a great venue.
The most grievous error is that the Warfield should not even rank on this list. It sits very comfortably in the spot as the second worst music venue in the city (above the utterly atrocious Design Concourse–shame on Another Planet and Livenation for continuing to book bands there). It is giant, the acoustics aren’t great, the floor is uncomfortable and the tightly enforced and restrictive areas in which people can stand all make it a pretty unpleasant place to take in a show. I don’t care if Al Jolson played there, it’s going to take someone I simply can’t live without seeing to get me out to a show at the Warfield.
I’ve heard a couple complaints about Great American–that it’s hard to see the stage if you’re a shorter person or that the mix isn’t always great, but almost all of my experience there have been great (no pun intended). I think it should be near the top of the list.
Slim’s at number 2? I mean, it’s okay but it’s not great. “Excellent sight lines no matter where you stand”? Except if you’re near one of many oddly placed poles (or if one of the people on stage is standing behind one). I wouldn’t bring up the booking, but since they cite it as good, I have to say that while they get some good bands in, it’s not consistently great.