The clubs featured at Noise Pop have as much character as the bands they house. Here are some highlights for clubs of note:
1233 17th St.
The Hill in question is Potrero, a somewhat out-of-the-way neighborhood that makes up in charm what it may lack in geographic centrality. This is one of the best known spots to catch up-and-coming rock acts, with a backyard, pool table, smoking patio, and covers that rarely break the $15 mark.
1600 17th St.
You might think of it as Bottom of the Hill’s sister club, if only because it’s a few blocks away. The intimate space also offers a patio, kitchen, and serves as Noise Pop’s official Happy Hour venue from 5 to 8 p.m.
1025 Columbus Ave.
Proving that the North Beach district offers more than Italian food and strip clubs, Bimbo’s comes with as much class as the city it resides in. The venue has a separate bar area and a huge main show floor that can house close to a thousand people. Its art deco architecture may have you staring at the walls as much as the performers.
859 O’Farrell St.
A five-thousand-square-foot concert hall with a spacious upper-balcony section near the Civic Center, the music hall may not have Bimbo’s wide expanse, but it has even more history, the main space being built shortly after the great earthquake of 1906. The hall alternates between acts on the rise and established groups looking for a more intimate feel than capacious concert venues.
155 Fell St.
This club occupies an odd spot geographically, near City Hall but known best as “that part on Fell St. that goes the wrong way.” Fortunately, the club has built a rep for itself, being equally well-versed in providing fun club evenings (the nonstop Bhangra can’t be missed) and a smaller scale rock venue. Having comfortable rickshaws to sit in doesn’t hurt the ambience, either.
2170/2174 Market St.
Traveling along Market St. just toward the Castro will get you to this former speakeasy. The place puts on a solid lineup of mid-tier acts in a cozy setting, offers a fine variety of liquors and, most important, makes a mean cheeseburger. The Cafe takes up the downstairs with a massive curtain to unveil acts, and upstairs you’ll find the Swedish American Hall.
Formerly known primarily as a hip-hop club (under the moniker the Justice League) in San Francisco’s Western Addition district, the Independent re-opened in with a more eclectic selection of artists and a bar that doesn’t take up half the center of the room. The space itself has been home to music for more than thirty years, and its most recent incarnation keeps the tradition going.
Noise Pop 2006 (Part 4): It’s not all music