Elbo Room

Bar / Club / Live Music Venue
Elbo Room Home since the 1930s to a Spanish restaurant, a cowboy bar, and even a women's nightclub, nowadays the Elbo Room is all about eclectic music and nightly Happy Hour specials. San Francisco United States 37.762509 -122.421601
3.01 15
Elbo Room - Bar | Club | Live Music Venue in San Francisco.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Home since the 1930s to a Spanish restaurant, a cowboy bar, and even a women’s nightclub, nowadays the Elbo Room is all about eclectic music and nightly Happy Hour specials. Reminiscent of a bordello, the space draws... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    BART: 16th Street Mission
    MUNI F Line: Church Street & 17th Street

  • Phone:

    415-552-7788

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Daily 5pm–2am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Elbo Room Review

The Scene

Home since the 1930s to a Spanish restaurant, a cowboy bar, and even a women's nightclub, nowadays the Elbo Room is all about eclectic music and nightly Happy Hour specials.

Home since the 1930s to a Spanish restaurant, a cowboy bar, and even a women’s nightclub, nowadays the Elbo Room is all about eclectic music and nightly Happy Hour specials.

Reminiscent of a bordello, the space draws neighborhood hipsters early in the evening, who belly up to the bar to down PBR tallboys in the red hue of paper lanterns. As the night progresses, the mellow vibe gives way to a livelier scene as Jack and Jane Skinny Jean pile in for shots of Jim Beam to prime the night, and music fans retreat to the arcade room in back to play some pinball before a show.

A handful of raised booths offer small groups of young professionals an escape from the sea of bodies, while an alcove near the entrance attracts competitive couples looking to battle it out on old-school arcade tabletops.

Music lovers and dance fiends get their turn around 9pm, when performers ranging from funk and indie rock to dubstep take the intimate raised stage upstairs, the dance floor gets shaking, and the second bar keeps the cocktails flowing. Sweaty revelers in need of a reprieve can duck into the adjacent laser-lit nook, though snagging a seat may prove just as difficult as not getting elbowed on the dance floor.

A popular Mission haunt, Elbo Room continues to pack both its floors with a vibrant scene and energetic crowd – so much so, they even knocked the “w” right out of the name.

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Tip from Emma:

Check out the infamous $7 Moscow Mule, made with vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. It’s big, it’s delicious, and it’ll make you want to go upstairs to try out your dancing shoes.

  • Crowd

    Varies depending on musical lineup, though the diverse mix usually includes Mission hipsters, young professionals, the bike messenger set, DJ and music fans, dance lovers, and young tourists from the nearby hostels, 20s to mid-30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live music throughout the week, including funk, indie rock, and acoustic performances. DJs spin regularly, including dubstep, house, and 80s throwbacks. Afrolicious Dance Party on Thursdays, Dub Mission DJ set on Sundays.

    Check venue website for schedule. Photo booth. Several old-school arcade games including tabletop Pac-Man, Galaga, and pinball. Eclectic movies projected on the downstairs wall.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    No food. Cash only. ATMs on site. Happy Hour daily 5–9pm featuring $2 drafts and $1 off all other drinks.

  • Prices

    Cover charge $5–$20, though usually under $10. Beer $3–$6, cocktails $4.50–$7, mixed drinks $5–$7. Coat check $2. Photo booth $5.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes: skinny jeans, flannel, white t-shirts, grandmother’s sweater, knee-high boots, sundresses, ripped shirts, and whatever passed the smell test in the hamper.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Thursday nights for the Afrolicious dance party, Fridays and Saturdays for the biggest name acts, and Sundays for the Dub Mission DJ set.

  • Close By

    Gracias Madre (2211 Mission Street) is a vegan Mexican restaurant perfect for pre-Elbo butternut squash and mushroom tacos and soju margaritas.

Elbo Room User Reviews

Average rating:
The epicenter of nightlife in the mission.
Henry T. Aug 12, 2013
If your the type that likes to be in the thick of things come midnight on a saturday night, this is the bar for you. With good music and a dance space upstairs the Elbo room definitely attracts a crowd on the weekend. Time to time they will also have some awesome live acts, that are certain to get you grooving. Downstairs you will find booth style seating and a full bar. During the week you will have no trouble getting a drink, or a good seat but the weekend can become a zoo! Tip: Order the Dark & Stormy, which is the best cocktail I have had thus far in the city!
Still go though
Gor G. Jun 8, 2013
I unfortunately had a very bad experience here. A group of friends visiting from LA went bar hopping throughout the mission area. When we came to the Elbo Room looking for a good time. Instead WE all left due to the fact of the rude bartenders. One of my closest friends wanted to order a drink from the bartender was just ignoring her. I stepped in and tried to get his attention so we can order her drink. Still being ignored. We both became frustrated and when we finally got the attention of the bartender he came over and in a rude tone said "what do you want...hurry up...order something please" All in just a very rude tone. Since moving up to the bay area I've learned some people are passive aggressive, something I don't like since I'm detect and honest. This way he said things rubbed me off the wrong way. We ordered a couple of drinks but I didn't like the way he was handling things. Still being rude when we are trying to be nice. It takes a lot to make me mad, he pushed that button with me. I told him that he was very rude and I did call him a douchebag and told him to "F---off." I grab my friend along with the rest of my friends and went to another bar. We went to the make out room and had a blast! Lucky it was Saturday and it was salsa night. My friends and I had a great time and everyone in the Make Out room were very nice and didn't ignore people. Got our drinks and enjoy the rest of the night. Had too much fun dancing! This is my two cents. I know the Elbo room is still going to have business, but for me honestly I will never come here again. I'm not a fighter but I really wanted to punch the bartender in the face to get some common sense out of him.
Chill vibe with nice beats
Jimi D. Jun 5, 2013
I checked out this venue in the Mission pretty randomly after discovering that Amnesia had closed early, and was pleasantly surprised for an otherwise slow thursday night. A pretty full and friendly club, the first floor had a nice layout of cozy booths, a backroom of pinball machines, and dim colored lighting with a distinct bohemian vibe gauging the art and ambiance around the stage, which on this nite was not being used. However, upstairs was a local group playing called Afrolicious, and they had the crowd rocking! Mixing electronic sounds with tribal drumming and other acoustic instruments, it was a pretty nice show whether you were there for the performance or there for the music. Good sound, dim lighting, plenty of space to move and navigate, and complete with an upstairs bar and small lounge area near the back. A few drunk hooligans, but an otherwise friendly and harmless local vibe. Definitely worth checking out, especially when theres good music in town.
Never Disappoints
Alison S. May 1, 2013
Aah yes. At the end of every night out in The Mission, there's the Elbo Room. I doubt anybody goes for the drinks-- they get the job done but they're nothing special. This bar is best known for their awesome, second-floor music/dance venue. The space is small and can get a little crowded, but it's one of the few dances that doesn't have a mildly creepy sleaze factor. That's probably because the music acts are always great with Afrolicious playing every Thursday night. In the back there's a photo booth that is, and trust me on this, absolutely worth the $5. If dancing isn't your thing, the first floor has snug wooden seating, another photo booth and a handful of pinball machines. Week days are your best bet for this bar's mellow, mature vibe. Weekends are your best bet for grinding way too hard with that dude you just met.
One of the most entertaining lounging bars!
Julia M. Mar 30, 2013
As you walk into this place, you are welcomed by a moody dark magenta space with a nice open bar. The space itself seems to have a lot of "elbo" room although it ends up being sarcastic. There are many booths and stools to rest from having a conversation standing in a long period of time. If the conversation topic is not in your interests, there are entertainments right around the corner. Either you can capture the moment of your life in a photo booth which provides you with a choice of color, sepia, and b&w, or you can join the game lovers who will be playing an arcade games. After you have been satisfied with the entertainments, there is another space upstairs to freshened your view. They usually provide live music, and it is usually the most popular place to be in the "elbo" room.
One Of The Last Photobooths Standing
Azucena R. Mar 15, 2013
The Elbo Room is one of the best places on Valencia St, period! There is always a great crowd, the bar caters to beer drinkers, as well a cocktail lovers. There is a beyond than adorable photo booth, which you must take advantage of. It is a great printed memory of the amazing time that you’ll have. On Thursday night, and sometime on the weekends, the Afrolicious crew takes over the upstairs area, and turns it into a non-stop dance floor - there is usually a local act performing, or even a foreign artist. During the week, it is not as packed, so it is fairly easy to grab a drink, a seat, and even get to play a game at one of the arcades towards the back of the bar. If you go on the weekend, there will be a lot more people. Usually those who pay to check out the shows upstairs, hang around in the downstairs area till the show starts, then, the downstairs area is all yours. There are some many great places around the Mission/Valencia area, and Elbo Room is a short 5-10min walk from the 16th St. BART exit.
Low Lights Cheap Drinks
Jessica H. Mar 4, 2013
Take advantage of the photo booth, play a retro game of Pac Man, and head upstairs for some local talent. Each night of the week offers a different genre of music, and Thursdays are great for the famous-among-locals Afrolicious Party. The drinks are cheap, and the bartenders have a heavy hand. You don't have to go upstairs to have a good time, especially if you're lucky enough to snag one of the few wooden booths. Weeknights are great for grabbing a post-work drink in the red glow and incense-filled bar, and the overall vibe is laid back and friendly. Friday and Saturday nights the ever present hipster crowd swells to include Marina transplants, tourists and frat boys. The downstairs bar and the venue space upstairs both become sweaty seas of revelers, which is fine until they take the bar stools away to stay compliant with the fire code. The plus side of going out anywhere in the Mission is how close together all the bars are. If it gets too crowded/sweaty just walk outside and explore the dozens of bars in the 'hood, or grab some late night street food. Just follow your nose to the bacon wrapped hot dogs.
Elbo(w) Poking Everywhere
Ashley F. Feb 28, 2013
I came to this place for a show, and it left a good first impression on me. The dim lighting certainly created a calming mood, and the first floor space appeared long with quite a few chairs and tables to set your drink down. I spent all of my time on the second floor though where the stage and floor space were. There is a second bar on this level, and it is cash only but an ATM is nearby (undoubtedly with a service fee). The bar had a nice selection of ales, and the bartender will give out recommendations if you don't know what to try. Even if you missed out on their happy hour, the drinks are well-priced with ales beginning at four dollars. The space upstairs can quickly fill up, making the name of the establishment moot. Grabbing a chair and table early on in the night becomes pointless as the crowd of people standing in front of you will block out the band on the stage. The bathroom suffers from this the most as I recall there only being one stall up there. There is also supposed to be a coat rack though it wasn't open when I was there. It was hard to navigate through the crowd when I was trying to leave for the night. Despite these negatives, I still had an enjoyable time due to the band I came to see. The crowd (comprised of mostly 20-something who were all dressed casually) was into it which elevated the evening.
Elbo Room: The Place with No Elbow Room
Alexandra Z. Feb 20, 2013
The locals joke that the name Elbo Room is very ironic, because there is no elbow room there, especially on the weekends. The place gets super packed and sometimes you feel like there is a "Flannel Shirt Contest", because that seems to be the male dress code there. You could check out who is playing upstairs by looking at the line-up list where the entrance is, the genres are different, so this place attracts a lot of different people, but mostly the younger crowd, over 21, of course. it is a great location to start off your evening in the Mission, since there a lot of places which are a walking distance away from Elbo Room. Everyone is somewhat tired of going there, but still ends up there once in a while, it has a vibe of someone's house party, you constantly run into people you know, or have seen before and don't remember if you even know their names. A good place to see where the locals hang out.
Drink with New Friends
Francis L. Feb 14, 2013
If dives hadn't become the desired standard for bars in the Mission, I would call the Elbo Room the perfect spot in the Mission since the neighborhood has been gentrified with 20-somethings. My friend took me here when I first got to the city, and he nailed it. The crowd was all young, sexy, working professionals, drinking beer under low yellow light. The color gave it an old school feel which was further stimulated by the bartenders who rocked suspenders and handlebar mustaches, not to mention the awesome service they put out, by itself worth 30% tips. Ideal for a group of guy friends to make a group of girlfriends and vice-versa, even if nobody is single. The place promotes drinking with new people. There's also a good selection of arcade games on the first floor if you're into that. If you want to go upstairs to the stage floor, make sure to buy your tickets in advance or come early. One problem is the limited seating downstairs, but the standing isn't uncomfortable. Great place to start your night before you hit up a swankier venue, or to end it sitting in one of the booths with your bar buddies.
Rock 'n' Roll
Rachel G. Nov 7, 2012
This place is my FAVORITE. I love that this place splits as a general bar below to a hip jazz rock venue above. Hidden on the corner on Valencia street, at first glance this place could be hard to find. There is always a line outside, but it moves fast. The drinks are amazing mixes and come in PINT glasses. No skimping on the alcohol here. They have an amazing photo booth in the back and video games! Great place for a night out.
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