Bay Area salsa

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About

NOTE: This page is a daughter page of: Dance


This page contains resources I collect on the topic of salsa / Latin dancing the bay area (all around San Francisco bay) - particularly around SF (where I live) and silicon valley (where I work).


Websites

  • Salsa by the Bay - appears to be the best resource out there for listing salsa [events] and [venues].


SF Dance Timetable

Here are some good places to try in SF for each day of the week:

  • Mondays: .......... Neck of the Woods (trendy Inner Richmond place with room to dance and lessons)
  • Tuesday: ........... Bar Fluxus (crowded place in Financial District, down a dodgy looking alley, but great live band)
  • Wednesday: ..... Bissap Baobab (popular African restaurant in the Mission District, with crowded salsa and amazing international music nights)
  • Thursday: ........ Bissap Baobab (as above, but check calendar first as it may skip some weeks)
  • Friday: .............. Cigar Bar (trendy crowded bar in Financial District)
  • Saturday: .......... The Ramp (afternoon 5-8) ... Cigar Bar (as above but with salsa lesson 8:30pm)
  • Sunday: ............ HUE Lounge & Nightclub (hot bachata nights in Financial District, but a smaller room for salsa at the front)


Salsa Venues in the Bay

Name Location Evaluation / Times

SAN FRANCISCO

My new home

Space 550 or Club Fuego

****-

550 Barneveld Ave
San Francisco (near Bernal Heights)

Evaluation: Big venue with a huge salsa floor and fairly big bachata area too. Surprisingly crowded for such a large space. Good live latin bands sometimes... who play very long songs.
Open: Live salsa band every Saturday night, and apparently Friday night too.



Cigar Bar

***--

850 Montgomery St
San Francisco, Financial District

Evaluation: Very trendy place, with a bar area one side, then cross a little courtyard and you'll find a very crowded dance floor. I find it's a bit too crowded honestly, but it's a popular place for people to dance and the music is decent - often with a live band. They also have salsa classes are every Saturday night beginning at 8:30pm for ~$12 (less if you make a beer purchase).
Open: Friday and Saturdays for salsa



The Ramp

***--

855 Terry A Francois Blvd
San Francisco, Mission Bay

Evaluation: Fairly chill and crowded restaurant / bar where they have a live band and you can dance beside the water. Some professional dancers might no like the fact the floor is outdoors concrete and sloped in places, but hey - some people will just appreciate the fact it's fun to dance anyplace where you can see the water. The band is pretty good. The venue itself isn't the cheapest, but you pay for a great view. It's $10 after 4pm to get in (and you have to be over 21).
Open: Saturdays 5-8



HUE Lounge & Nightclub

***--

447 Broadway
San Francisco, Financial District

Evaluation: Fairly large fancy nightclub that gets packed on Sundays, and mostly is a big bachata room at the back. The salsa room is at the front and actually doesn't have that many people - most people go for "bachata".
Open: Every Sunday for Hot Batchata Nights, but a small salsa room too. 8:00pm - 2:00am - $10 for social, $20 for lesson & social.


Bar Fluxus

***--

18 Harlan Pl
San Francisco, Financial District

Evaluation: Small place with amazing live band on Tuesdays.
Open: Every Tuesday for "Latin Vibe Tuesday, starts 9pm - $10... but starts empty - the the band starts more like 9:30 and it's crowded by 10.



Bissap Baobab

****-

3372 19th Street
San Francisco, Mission District

Evaluation: Crowded, but lots of fun! Incredible music... went once when it wasn't salsa, but amazing African beats.
Open: Every Wednesday for salsa - 10:30pm - 1:45am and only $5. Their calendar is disorganized but it looks like they do Thursdays (most weeks) too.


Neck of the Woods

*****

406 Clement St
San Francisco, Inner Richmond

Evaluation: Salsa Mondays with great atmosphere, and actually has a little bit of space to dance.
Open: Every Monday for salsa. 7pm-8:30pm - Beginner Lessons, 8:30pm-9:30pm - Intermediate Lessons, 9:30pm-2am - Open Dancing. $20 for Lessons, $10 Afterwards.



SILICON VALLEY (SAN JOSE, MOUNTAIN VIEW)

The only place(s) I like in the San Jose (Also called Man Jose) and Mountain View area

Alberto's (salsa studio & ultra lounge)

*****

736 W Dana St
Mountain View

Evaluation: I have years of amazing memories at this place. Pantea (the instructor) is the bomb!
Open: tues & thurs: beginner:7 int:8, social:9:30 ...
friday "hot salsa": beg:8, int: 9, social: 10




Old Venues (mostly closed)

Name Location Evaluation / Times

Gordon Biersch **CLOSED**

****-

33 E San Fernando St
San Jose

Evaluation: Lovely little crowd.... during winter they put over a cover, but otherwise it's an outside area. Girls may find it hard to dance on account of it's on a brick surface, so you may not want to wear heels.
Open: Every Wednesday for salsa I think. Their calendar is not clear.


Cheryl Burke Dance / Mountain View **CLOSED**

**---

260 S. California Ave
Palo Alto

Evaluation: Is actually not really for Salsa! They mostly do swing, but some night are latin ballroom I believe. Nice venue though - three dance floors, so often different stuff playing each dance floor. Very well lit and really designed for learning.
Open: Mon-Thu 11a–10:30p, Fri: 11a–1:30a, Sat: 10:30a–1a, Sun: 3–11p


Roccapulco

HEARD BAD THINGS

3140 Mission St
San Francisco

Evaluation: Haven't been, but I do know it's a "superclub", so probably gets crowded some nights.
Open: unknown


Cafe Cocomos **CLOSED**

***--

650 Indiana Street
San Francisco

Evaluation: Big venue with small bar and area upstairs to watch. Dance floor at bottom is pretty big and the live bands are pretty darn good too. Covers a little expensive I think ($20) but it's become the main place to go in the city I've heard.
Open: Every night... salsa: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.... Monday = tango, Wednesday = bachata.


Avery Lounge

***--

399 S 1st St
San Jose

Evaluation: Not really that much salsa, just a generic dance place, crowded. Was once called Agenda.
Open: unknown


Favorite Places

Albertos

Alberto's nightclub is my favorite place to Salsa! I've been going for four years now - almost always on Thursdays salsa night - and most of my best friends I met there. It's a really lovely group of people. They have a schedule as follows:

  • Mondays: Tango / Salsa on 2 (never been)
  • Tuesday: Salsa (less crowded generally)
  • Wednesday: Batchata (sexier dance)
  • Thursday: Salsa (bit crowded, finally thins out towards midnight, so I stay late!)
  • Friday: Salsa (less crowded, but varies)
  • Saturday: Espanol rock (very hispanic crowd with more banda dancing)
  • Sunday: Tango (too pretentious a dance for me!)


  • Cost: $10 most nights I believe (definitely for Thursday)

Since Thursday is the day I know best, I have this advice for new dancers! Show up early to the introduction (7pm), the teacher, Pantea, is a heap of fun and she'll teach the basics. Then it goes into a beginner lesson, then an intermediate lesson where you'll learn a little routine. These are usually really great routines! All these sessions you have the option to "rotate" which I recommend. Basically the girls stand in a big circle, and the guys rotate clockwise every few minutes... this is good practice to help lead or follow with people of different skill, styles and heights!

Around 10pm, free dancing starts. This is intimidating for new people, because all the good dancers suddenly show up, but if you stick around and actually chat to people (it's loud but possible) and are friendly you'll find someone to help teach you. There are almost always more men than women, so for women it's possible to find a few good leads. Most of the guys there are a bit selfish in terms of only wanted to dance with the girls who are most attractive or best at dancing, and will stay with the same girl many songs. I'm not a huge fan of that, I like to dance with everyone, but if you do get *rejected* when asking for a dance don't take it personally - some people really do only want to dance with better dancers so they can get better. Just hunt around for nice people who enjoy teaching... like me !  :)


Maps

A map of salsa venues by "salsabythebay.com" (not to scale and outdated - some of these places have closed)

Links

For information about Salsa dancing check out my dancing pages: