Dance the night away at the best nightclubs in San Francisco

Bay Area and international DJs provide the beat at these reliably rocking nightclubs in San Francisco

Photograph: Courtesy The Great NorthernHoly Mountain performs at The Great Northern

San Francisco is inundated with cocktail lounges, dive bars, craft breweries, and speakeasies, but sometimes you just want to dance. We’ve got you covered. Whether you’re feeling ‘80s and ‘90s jams, old-school hip-hop, or international electronica, these top nightclubs in San Francisco invite you to drink up and let loose.

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Nightclubs in San Francisco

1

Raven Bar

The DJs specialize in tunes from the 1990s to today, with a heavy emphasis on dancey, feel-good nostalgia. Over two levels—and two dance floors—you’ll hear a mash-up of hip-hop, grunge, R&B, and earworm pop. The upstairs space includes live music videos, courtesy of resident video DJ Mark Andrus.

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SoMa
2

DNA Lounge

This sprawling SoMa lounge spans two stages, seven bars, and four dance floors. The eclectic line-up offers something for every niche, whether it’s burlesque dancers, live bands, or the goth-industrial Death Guild. But DNA is best known for the infamous Bootie SF; the long-running dance party mashes up hits from the past and present: Think Britney vs. Taylor or Gen X vs. Millennials. 

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SoMa
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3

Madrone Art Bar

The comparatively small bar showcases art of all kinds, including painting, mixed-media, video, photography, sculpture, and more. That creative ethos spills over into its monthly calendar, which features events like nude model sketch parties ad open-mic Sundays. Musical acts range from string trios to blues to piano rock. 

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Alamo Square
4

Mezzanine

This cavernous, high-ceilinged space has a capacity of 900, which lends itself to truly massive all-night dance parties. The multilevel club touts two bars and two state-of-the-art sound systems. Though the venue welcomes bands of all genres—including jazz, Nu-disco, world music, and hip-hop—its sweet spot remains EDM and techno, spun by local and international DJs.

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SoMa
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5

Double Dutch

Amid SoMa’s glut of EDM, Double Dutch is known for one thing only: Old-school hip-hop. The club’s design is as stand-out as the DJs, from the wall swathed in the image of a giant, vintage boombox to the New York-inspired murals and neon graffiti art. DJs spin nightly, settling into a familiar groove of ‘80s and ‘90s R&B and hip-hop.

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Mission Dolores
6

Cat Club

There’s a little something for everyone at the Cat Club, whether you’re here for '80s Thursday (pop, new wave, dance, rock, and one-hit wonders), Strangelove Fridays (industrial, goth, new wave, and electro), Darkwave Dance (The Cure!), or Pop Leisure Saturdays (Brit-pop, ‘90s indie, mod, power pop, and 60s soul). The club has two dance floors, both with a wild assortment of light and video projections. 

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SoMa
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7

Audio

This European-style discotech draws techno, house, and electronic DJs from around the world. The spot stands out for its unparalleled sound and its lighting effects. The 3D lighting system encompasses lasers, robotic lights, a dazzling LED tunnel, and a infinity-mirror vortex of light spiraling behind the DJ booth.

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SoMa
8

Halcyon

This is one of the only places in the city where you can truly dance ‘til dawn. The single-room set-up creates a rare sense of intimacy, putting the crystal-clear Pioneer sound system front and center. The space is lined with nine laser projectors and rows of pixel tape, which transforms the room with eye-popping LED patterns and designs. A handful of popular mixed drinks—including margaritas, a moscow mule, and a rum punch—are on tap.

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SoMa
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9

Monarch

Monarch’s three separate spaces are all thoughtfully designed—and surprisingly refined. The basement club, where the dancing goes down, features a concrete bar and DJ stand, two plush lounge areas, an elevated stage, and a Void Acoustics sound system. The upstairs lounge showcases a redwood bar, complementary photo booth, and aerial performers twirling overhead.

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SoMa
10

The Great Northern

The impressive space—which includes two bars and 30-foot-high ceilings—centers around one giant, teeming dance floor. The music skews toward electronica, but also features the occasional jazz or pop artist. It’s amplified by an 80,000-watt Void audio system, which lends an unusually hi-fi sound.

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Mission
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Comments

2 comments
Mike M

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