Sometimes just going to a show isn’t enough and you want to turn a musical night into something more all-encompassing. Enter SF’s numerous dining options, but where can you hit up before or after a show? Even though SF’s late night dine scene is still pretty quiet, we’ve recommended where you can get a simple or elaborate meal before a show and a quick bite afterwards.
Regency Ballroom and Social Hall SF (1270 and 1290 Sutter Street)
Before the show: On the north end of Van Ness, Dim Sum Club (2550 Van Ness) offers affordable family style Chinese plates and some of the best potstickers in the city. South of the venues, check out the brand new massive American restaurant Corridor (100 Van Ness), an upscale casual restaurant from the Hi Neighbor Group (Trestle, Stones Throw, Fat Angel) with the choice of counter service or reservations-only table service on the mezzanine above.
After the show: Now’s the time to hit up Tommy’s Joynt (1101 Geary) across the street, which is open until 1:30 a.m. for those late night comfort food cravings (ie: meat). Chances are you might be buzzed or energized enough to be willing to try buffalo stew for the first time or the old reliable Roast Beef, Brisket or Pastrami sandwiches for $6.49.
SFJAZZ Center (201 Franklin)
Before the show: The Jazz Center’s in-house restaurant South (part of the popular Slanted Door restaurant group) normally serves dinner on show nights but is only offering a light bar snack menu to go with summer tropical cocktails, beer and wine in August. If you want something heartier, consider the young hotspot Cala (149 Fell Street), a seafood-heavy restaurant from Mexico City celeb chef Gabriela Camara.
After the show: An exceptional high end cheeseburger and soft serve ice cream program beckons at nearby Alta CA (1420 Market) until 1 a.m., or you can carry on the improvisational spirit of your jazz evening by freestyling some snacks over at the superior gin bar Whitechapel (600 Polk). The sister bar to Smuggler’s Cove offers a late night menu of Dutch and British snacks until midnight (including SF’s most unusual surprise take on fish and chips.)
The Fillmore (1805 Geary)
Before the show: Check out the no-frills Japanese shabu shabu dipping deliciousness at Cafe Mum’s (1800 Sutter Street) in the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel, which offers an all you can eat option, or check out the ornate and inventive pan-Asian tasting menu at Mosu (1552 Fillmore) if you’ve got mega-splurging to do or an epic occasion to celebrate. Of course, if you have enough skills to get tickets to concerts that sell out quickly, you can probably also figure out how to pin down a reservation at the acclaimed State Bird Provisions (1529 Fillmore), which serves creative California cooking via trays and carts like dim sum restaurants do. If you’re willing to wait in line before they open, you have a decent shot at scoring a table without a reservation. Or if you’re out with a large party, it’s much easier to reserve a table which also includes a special menu.
After the show: Grabbing one of the free apples on the way out of The Fillmore may not be enough food for you, but you may want to grab it for breakfast the next morning. If you’re out in the 11 o’clock hour, the sleeper hit known as Sheba Piano Lounge (1419 Fillmore) is open until midnight and it’s just a few blocks down Fillmore from Geary. There’s often a live musician to keep the party going for your ringing ears over a cozy fireplace and beautiful platters of Ethiopian food. You can choose to go herbivore with vegetarian options or sway mega carnivorous with kitfo, a traditional raw beef dish.
The Independent (628 Divisadero)
Before the show: You can indulge in fried chicken, meatloaf with smoked onion jam gravy and BBQ brisket at Brenda’s Meat & Three (919 Divisadero), but it’s also a good place for a vegetarian — try the po’boy with cornmeal fried okra, cauliflower and yam in a vegan chipotle remoulade.
(Editor’s Note: Bar Crudo FTMFW!)
After the show: Duck out a little early and make a beeline down the street to Nopa (560 Divisadero), open until 1 a.m. to feed you tasty bites and dangerous drinks. If you can snag a spot at the bar to eat, it’s one of the most comfortable in the city. The menu ranges from tame (wood-grilled hamburger) to adventurous (rabbit meatballs).