The 10 Best Clubs, Bars and Venues for Dancing in San Francisco

If the normal club scene isn't your style, we've got recommendations for you, too

April 16, 2024 7:21 am
1015 Folsom, one of the best dance clubs in San Francisco
1015 Folsom
Claire S Burke

It’s Friday night in San Francisco. You’ve got the urge to dance. Where are you going? If you’re drawing a blank, that’s completely understandable. The city has a diverse slate of dance clubs, concert halls and other venues where you can let loose, but picking one can feel daunting, especially if you’re going for the first time — so we’re here to help. The next time the feeling strikes, hit up one of these 10 dance clubs (well, nine dance clubs and one roller rink).

strobe lights, hands in the air, crowd
1015 Folsom
Eric Ananmalay

1015 Folsom

Forget San Francisco (stay with me now), 1015 Folsom is one of the most iconic dance music clubs in the world. A renowned institution, the club recently underwent a remodel and sound-system upgrade that yielded big results: The main floor is now far more open to better accommodate some of the biggest names in dance music. You name it, they’ve played here Fatboy Slim, Basement Jaxx and Carl Cox? The birthplace of the weekly party Spundae? Check and check. Both Peggy Gou and Charlotte de Witte have played the room in the past year. But it’s much more than just a single dance floor, with five rooms in total that give it underground warehouse feel that’s a privilege to have in San Francisco. And with the longstanding Pura Saturdays bringing Latinx and international flair every week too, it truly is a global affair. 

1015 Folsom St

Rickshaw Stop

Rickshaw Stop is best known as the music venue to see breakout acts (from Billie Eilish to Sam Smith) before they get big, but it’s also hallowed ground for dance music. The home to the iconic Popscene club, founder DJ Aaron Axelsen has a knack for bringing in electro and dance pop acts from the U.K. and U.S. (Jorja Smith! Flight Facilities!) to the 350-ish person club — and Axelsen’s own opening and closing DJ sets are kick-ass in and of themselves. Rickshaw Stop also plays host to a number of themed dance nights from emo, Taylor Swift and LCD Soundsystem to K-Pop, Italo Disco and even the infamous Shrek Rave

155 Fell St

people dancing, strong lights, plants, DJ
The patio at El Rio
Shot In The City

El Rio

The queer-owned and operated space in the Mission has one of the best backyard patios in San Francisco and it’s BIG. El Rio is a dynamite community space that does an incredible job of incorporating alternative and underserved subcultures by providing a space for promoters from all walks of life to spread their wings and throw glorious dance parties in their house. That means soul and disco daytime vibes from Hard French (with a big anniversary bash on the horizon), the wonderfully boisterous and delicious vibes of R&B and Ribs, and A Family Affair’s queer ’90s and ’00s throwback party every first Friday at 9 p.m. for only $5. 

3158 Mission St

Church of 8 Wheels

For when just a simple dance party won’t suffice, Church of 8 Wheels is a full-blown roller disco set in — you guessed it — a converted church in the Lower Haight. While it’s open other days of the week, it’s the Saturday Sessions that really turn up with a DJ and neon lights galore. You can bring in your own skates, or rent a pair for $5. 

554 Fillmore St

blue stage lights, crowd
The Midway
Missael Gonzalez

The Midway

On the outskirts of SF’s Pier 80, the Midway is a warehouse and gallery space with a lot to offer. The main room, dubbed Ride, is a sweeping space to dance in. There’s the smaller Gods & Monsters Room and also a chilled-out back patio that can make for any combination of multi-room parties with DJs from Mark Farina to Bonobo and even electro-minded bands like Little Dragon. But the best time to come to the Midway to dance is during one of their excellent afternoon block parties, where a big chunk of the blocks behind the venue on Michigan and Marin Streets transform into a mega dance party. Summer is just around the corner and parties with Steve Aoki, Carl Cox and Above & Beyond (on Pride weekend!) are already on the docket. 

900 Marin St

two people dancing, woman in shimmery blue skirt and jean jacket, man in yellow shirt and white shorts
Salsa dancing at Cavaña
Anna Wick


Found at the Luma Hotel, Cavaña is already one of the best hotel bars in San Francisco. The spectacular Latin-focused cocktails and food offerings on a glorious rooftop patio in Mission Bay are complemented by DJs spinning globally-minded tunes from 8 p.m. to midnight on the intimate dance floor on Fridays and Saturdays. Then on Sunday nights at 5 p.m., Edgardo Cambon and LaTiDo drop live salsa music to dance to on the outside terrace with gorgeous views of S.F. and a mojito bar to boot.

100 Channel St, 17th Floor

The Great Northern

On the edge of S.F.’s Design District, the Great Northern is one of the most uniquely laid out rooms in town, complemented by 30-foot-high ceilings that make for an imposing yet still intimate space for acts like dancehall producer Mad Professor and electro cumbia DJ Nicola Cruz. The Great Northern also hosts occasional block parties outside on Utah Street that often make it feel like the most exciting corner of the city. 

119 Utah St


Known for having one of the best drag shows and cabaret performances in San Francisco, Oasis also hosts fabulous dance parties on the regular. Owned by drag queen D’arcy Drollinger, Oasis is built within an 8,000-square-foot former gay bathhouse in SOMA. While Oasis is a staple in the queer community and a hot ticket on any night, make sure to get there on Saturday night when, starting at 10 p.m., Princess is a resident drag and dance extravaganza exploring sounds from disco to K-Pop. 

298 11th St

Cat Club

This long-running SOMA club is the place to be if you want to dance to ’80s music, but it also offers ’90s, new wave, goth, industrial and more. Every Thursday, Class of 1984 plays ’80s tunes with no cover. Club Gossip and New Wave City take the torch on second and third Saturdays, then on every fourth Friday, Leisure is the premier Britpop/Manchester/’90s party in town. Then if you really want to get in the spirit of the nearby Folsom Street Fair year-round, Play-X-Land is a BDSM/kink/fetish night with go-go dancers and a dungeon that goes down every Wednesday with a $10 cover if you’re in fetishwear and $20 if not. You know what to do. 

1190 Folsom St

Public Works

A favorite of the Burning Man contingent, Public Works brings consistently stellar DJs to the Mission. The two-level, community-minded space features a Funktion-One sound system and dizzying visuals on any given night. Upcoming DJ performances include the Polish Ambassador and Rusko, as well as the Blessed Madonna playing a fundraiser for the Stud, the soon-to-be-reopened historic LGBTQ bar.

161 Erie St

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