Bottom of the Hill

San Francisco Music Venue Profile – Bottom of the Hill

in Music News by

We’re continuing our series of looks at the best music venues that San Francisco has to offer, and this week, we’re featuring a place that’s got a lot of attention right now. According to Rolling Stone, Bottom of the Hill is the best place to hear live music in San Francisco; and this time, they’re on to something. Located in the Potrero Hill district, Bottom of the Hill has won the Readers’ Poll Best Of The Bay award for Rock venue several times in the 26 years since its opening, once hitting a ten-year streak of wins.

Bottom (no, that’s what it’s called) does a lot of things differently. For starters, they usually host a show seven nights a week. That means there’s never a dull day at the Bottom. Another thing that the venue gets right is their lineup – rather than looking to book mainstream, well-known artists every night, the Bottom is known and loved for offering equal, if not greater, stage time to up and coming artists sourced locally from San Francisco. It’s a savvy move that makes it part of SF’s beautiful music community, not just a transit point for endless national tours.

The Kitchen

It’s got fantastic hardware – amongst the best in the city – and it helps that the Bottom has an intimate setting; the speakers and the artists come together to reach the audience with a very special vibe. The cozy setup also means that you feel closer to the band on stage, and also means that there simply isn’t a bad seat anywhere in the house. No matter where you are, you’re treated to a clear view of the stage and you get to enjoy the effects of quality music. The Bottom has some other interesting features as well, including the back patio, which has a plexiglass window that allows you to see behind the stage during performances. It’s a fascinating and unique feature of the venue.

Music and ambiance aside, the Bottom has a fully-equipped bar, coupled with a kitchen that prepares fresh, hot food late into the night – and there’s that patio, where people can stretch their legs and enjoy a smoke. The entry is quick and fuss-free, and the food is delicious.

It’s a special place, and it channels the spirit of San Francisco. There’s a great lineup coming at the Bottom in July, including the farewell tour from British Columbia’s indie darlings Frog Eyes, who are touring their final album, Violet Psalms; a performance by frequent Frog Eyes collaborator Dan Bejar’s Hello Blue Roses, beautiful weirdness shaped like psych/folk/pop from Skygreen Leopards, big country from The Pine Box Boys, early jazz, blues and rag from Hobo Paradise, and San Francisco’s own Molly Bolten. Bottom of the Hill is a great example of the kind of venue that San Francisco does beautifully – great music, an exciting artistic approach, and a fantastic night out, in an intimate, community setting. Take a look at the listings, and start planning the next great night out.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

With a discography that includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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