Blues and Jazz
The neighborhood surrounding Union Square is one of the most fertile areas in San Francisco for live music. Whether you’re into blues or rock, or even country, you’ll find a spot to have a drink and listen to some wonderful live tunes.
Biscuits and Blues (401 Mason St., 415/292-2583, www.biscuitsandblues.com, Tues.–Thurs., Sun. 6 p.m.–midnight, Fri.–Sat 3:30 p.m.–12:30 a.m.) is a local musicians’ favorite. Just around the corner from the big live drama theaters, this house dedicates itself to jazz and blues. Headliners at Biscuits and Blues can range from Joe Louis Walker to Jimmy Thackery to Jim Kimo.
One of the best things about this club is that you can in fact get biscuits as well as blues. Dinner is served nightly, and features a surprisingly varied and upscale menu combining California cuisine with the mystical flavors of New Orleans. Yum! So when you plan for your night of blues, consider showing up early to enjoy a jam session and a meal, then stay on for the main acts and headliners (and of course cocktails).
At the Boom Boom Room (1601 Fillmore St., 415/673-8000, www.boomboomblues.com, Tues.–Sat. 4 p.m.–2 a.m., Sun. 2 p.m.–1 a.m.), you’ll find the latest in a legacy of live blues, boogie, groove, soul, and funk music.
The Saloon (1232 Grant Ave., 415/989-7666) fills the role of the live-music dive in North Beach. Don’t expect much in the way of decor or chic amenities, and do expect the clientele to more closely resemble the denizens of Mos Eisley Space Port than the hip clubs of the Mission or the wine bars of SoMa. So what kind of music goes up at a low-rent live-music bar in North Beach? The blues, of course. So grab a pint of beer and sit back to enjoy the show (half of which is put on by the patrons).
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition