Party Earth Review Situated on a popular stretch of Polk Street well-trod by barhoppers, Hemlock Tavern hosts bands, DJs, and Happy Hours every night. A large walk-around bar serves lots of PBR to the hipster regulars – “Skinny jeans: Activate... ... read full review
1131 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Civic Center / Tenderloin, San Francisco –
Situated on a popular stretch of Polk Street well-trod by barhoppers, Hemlock Tavern hosts bands, DJs, and Happy Hours every night.
A large walk-around bar serves lots of PBR to the hipster regulars – “Skinny jeans: Activate!” – while wooden benches spread throughout the room provide spots for the punks, folk lovers, and antisocial art students waiting for the night’s act to kick off.
Smokers head to the enclosed heated lounge for a few drags, while on Fridays and Saturdays, preppier Marina and suburban types tend to hang out at the long tables at the end of the bar, a mellow place to chill for a bit as they drink their way down Polk Street.
A random décor of fake deer heads mounted on landscapes, fluffy kitty paintings, and plastic swordfish is a fitting background for the eclectic clientele, although most eyes go straight to the red arrow that marks the music room. Usually less than $10 to enter, the room quickly packs to capacity once the bands start playing off its knee-high stage, and in case a particular performer’s skills are lacking, the room is also (kind of) soundproof from the rest of the venue.
With a variety of live talent and an always interesting mix of clientele, Hemlock Tavern is a great go-to bar for an entertaining night out or a perfect place to end up after a long night of pub crawls.
Music junkies, affluent art school hipsters, grungy skaters, some preppy types, and the occasional lone, chain-smoking middle-aged man, mid-20s to 30s+.
Live music in the back room five or six nights a week, including acoustic, electronic, punk, and funk performances. DJs spin a variety of styles nightly from 4–7pm. Comedy nights and other special entertainment events held throughout the month. Free old-school jukebox. Ping-pong table brought in on Mondays. Check website for schedule.
Hot peanuts. Happy Hour daily 4–7pm. Cash only. ATM on site.
Music room cover charge $5–$10. Peanuts $1. Beer $3–$6, wine $6–$8, cocktails $6–$8.
Indie rock casual: flannel button-downs, skinny jeans, boots, cut-up band t-shirts, vintage dresses.
Almost any night to catch a live show, or Fridays and Saturdays for a diverse crowd fueled by Polk Street barhoppers from all over the city.
Vertigo Bar (1160 Polk Street) is a small dive nearby with a cramped dance floor and an equally diverse crowd.