Unless you’ve walked every part of San Francisco’s Mission District, you may not have heard of an absolute gem of a music venue that’s tucked away on Mission Street. Known simply as Brick & Mortar Music Hall, it’s not going too far to describe this space as a hole in the wall – and while it might be easy to miss, the modest yet mighty stage inside has hosted some exceptional musical talent over the years. It’s a real find.
Despite its simple setup, Brick & Mortar Music Hall is no improvised pop-up space; instead, it has all the markings of an exceptional music venue. The quality of the audio is top-notch, and the venue has a dedicated sound expert working to help artists make the most of the room – putting Brick & Mortar Music Hall ahead of some of the grander spaces in the city. It’s impressive, especially since a venue as small and intimate as this one can seal up the audio too much, making reverb wrong and the atmosphere overbearing.
The space around the stage is limited, but that doesn’t mean there’s standing room only. A bench runs all along the back, and a few chairs scattered throughout the space, along with standing areas. In a space this size, almost everyone gets an up-close-and-personal view of the stage; and nobody’s complaining.
The vibe in the hall is fabulous. It’s intimate without being suffocating, and the combination of dark lights and a raised stage make sure that no matter where you’re seated (or standing), you get an unobstructed view of the performers. This kind of setup makes it easy to lose yourself in the experience in a way that grander venues can never achieve.
The bar is well-stocked and carefully thought through – Brick & Mortar Hall’s bartenders are excellent mixologists. The staff is friendly and helpful, and if you’re heading out to a performance to unwind after a tough day, the atmosphere in the Brick & Mortar Music Hall – the combination of warm welcome, great audio, and great artists – is just the antidote you’ll need. On top of that, somehow, the partly hidden location means that if you’re driving, you might actually have a chance of finding a parking spot. And because of the venue’s distinct location, you’re less likely to find last-minute parties who only want a space to hang out. The crowd that visits here is actually there to experience the music.
In terms of lineup, Brick & Mortar Music Hall has some fantastic performances lined up in the coming weeks. The last week of May has Canadian art-pop from Laura Hickly, trap and hiphop from Suigeneris, resurrected DC slowcore band Canyon with backup from Songs for Snakes, and Trip Wire, and flat-out rap power from A$AP TyY lined up.
The calendar is almost always full, serving up the range of music from bluegrass to rap, so, if you’re looking for something a little offbeat to do on a free weekend, or if you’re interested in enjoying some local musical talent, drop by at the venue.