Nightlife & Music

Best Dance Spots In North Bay

August 30, 2012 11:00 AM

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www.thephoenixtheater.com
Whether you’re looking for a place for that special anniversary or a fun first date, the North Bay offers many places where the lights are low, the music is loud and there’s room to dance the night away. Here are a few places for different tastes.


Sweetwater Music Hall
19 Corte Madera Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941
(415) 388-1100
www.sweetwatermusichall.com

Click here for a calendar of events

This famed Mill Valley club has been around since the 60s and has hosted everyone from the Rolling Stones to Bob Weir. After a long hiatus, the Sweetwater has reopened in the old Masonic Hall, just off a main street as an intimate venue for local and nationally known talent like Robert Cray. The new location opened up in January of 2011 boasting a restaurant with a menu featuring organic foods and local produce. On weeknights, patrons can enjoy local musicians and open mic performances.

Related: Discover Where The Locals Go In The North Bay To Eat, Drink, Shop and Play

19 Broadway
19 Broadway Ave.
Fairfax, CA 94930
(415) 459-1091
www.19broadway.com

Click here for a calendar of events

Located in congenial downtown Fairfax, 19 Broadway has been the area’s largest live music hall for almost 30 years and offers an ideal music and dance atmosphere for locals who love punk, beat music and Marin rock. The venue’s outdoor patio offers solace for those needing some air––seating is limited, but the vibe makes up for the tight quarters and the crowd frequently spills out onto the sidewalk on warm nights.  Make it the base for your next pub crawl, as there are several other clubs on this stretch of downtown. A full bar and recent expansion have made this club the most popular dance spot in Fairfax. There’s plenty of parking within a 2 block area.

Related: Best First Date Spots In North Bay


George’s Nightclub
832  4th St
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 226-0262
www.georgesnightclub.com

Click here for a calendar of events

This well-known dance club in downtown San Rafael was revamped in 2012 and now offers a swanky lounge atmosphere, tasty small plates, two full bars, and large dance floor. George’s hosts live music at least four nights per week and attracts a posh crowd of all ages for classic rock including recording stars like Pablo Cruise and Jesse Colin Young. A two drink minimum applies for lounge reservations. The exposed brick and neon lighting, plus cozy tables and banquettes make for a distinctly urban and trendy interior that attracts a lively crowd on weekends. Parking is readily available on the streets nearby.

Panama Hotel
4 Bayview St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 457-3993
www.panamahotel.com

Click here for a calendar of events

Housed in an old Victorian on a quiet street near downtown in Gerstle Park, the historic Panama Hotel offers sultry sopranos, swing, jazz, blues and eclectic acoustic for all ages. Music, dining and dancing are all on the menu from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant is tiny, but there’s room to sway to the sound of swing and big band. Don’t be surprised to find dancers wearing vintage Hawaiian shirts, or slinky vintage satin dresses. Bands like Swing Fever put the heat into the night on the tropical garden patio. Parking is tight in this neighborhood, so plan accordingly. It’s also a bed-and-breakfast, so you can even make a night of it with a little planning.


Phoenix Theater 
201 N. Washington St
Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 762-3565
www.thephoenixtheater.com

Click here for a calendar of events

The Phoenix is the top North Bay venue for dance enthusiasts age 18 to 25 from both Marin and Sonoma. Styling itself as the offspring of North Beach’s old Mabuhay Gardens and 80’s punk rock scene in San Francisco, the Phoenix stays true to its roots as the breeding ground for bands like Green Day. Inside, the vibe is funky, with walls covered with graffiti and even a skateboard ramp. Dance options and a younger crowd set it apart from the nearby Mystic Theater. The Phoenix’s location in downtown Petaluma ensures plenty of parking nearby in the city lot, as well as pre-event dinner options. Look for the line around the corner on Friday and Saturday nights.

Mary Holman is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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