Why do we go out to concerts? Most people go to hear a band they like. For some it’s an activity just to get them out of their house. And for others they have no choice because their “friend” drags them out–and that’s cool too. We often write about bands music fans would want to see, and certainly, not everyone is that particular. So in the next few weeks we plan to showcase venues that fans can enjoy for more than just the music. Here’s our guide to venues for the casual music fans.

The Boom Boom Room

1601 Fillmore Street  San Francisco, CA 94115

Opened by the legendary John Lee Hooker, who named the venue after his most successful hit song “Boom Boom,” at the Boom Boom Room you might hear some blues–but you’re more likely to get swept up onto the dance floor. This isn’t a sit down or head bobbing type of place, uh-uh. You come here to shake what your momma gave you, and not in that way that R. Kelly sang “Bump ‘N Grind.”

You don’t have to look too hard to find some dance floor shufflers with RonKat, a former member of George Clinton’s P Funk band, playing later this month. Or check the ridiculous talented jazz and funk ensemble of Robert Walter (Greyboy Allstars), Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green), Sergio Rios (Orgone), Simon Lott (Charlie Hunter), and Joe Cohen (Jazz Mafia).

Try this: 1/28 – Robert Walter’s “Brand New Slang” $15
And get: A whole lot of shuffling, jiving, and dancing that reminds you of


1330 Fillmore Street San Francisco, CA 94115-4113

Sushi and jazz were the pillars of Yoshi’s when it started in the East Bay, and then naturally found a second home as a part of the revitalization of the historical Fillmore Jazz District. When you hear “jazz and sushi,” it sounds a hell of lot like “adult and adult.” But when Yoshi’s moved west to San Francisco they designed the building with two venues (and scenes) in mind, a lounge and a main theater. In the more formal theater you’ll catch R&B and jazz greats like Roy Hargrove and Brian McKnight, but also notable underground hip hop acts like Idle Warship (Talib Kweli) to Pharcyde. But for those that may not be interested in either formal or jazz, the lounge will likely suit your fancy with happy hour and DJs (and not any old DJ – Ladytron will man the 1s and 2s on January 13th).

Try this: 1/13 – Ladytron (DJ set) / DJ Miles (Popscene) / DJ Esau – $15
And get: A drink, a couch, some music, and whole lot of…

Cafe Du Nord

2170 Market Street  San Francisco, CA 94114-1319

If going to a concert is an excuse to get out of the house then Cafe Du Nord is a perfect destination. The venue which often features bands before they “break it big” like La Roux and recently, Other Lives (now touring with Radiohead–you’ve heard of them right?), also has several other comforts. In addition to a pool table that overlooks the stage, the restored speak-easy decor, the venue has a delectable food menu that features pizzas, sandwiches, and tiramisu. Yep, you can get a 7×7 with your tiramisu while watching the next cool band–pretty awesome.

Try This: 1/15 – Afrolicious – $12
And get: In line for the pool table, after finishing a BBQ chicken pizza.