(credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The dance club scene offers new and carefully crafted superior sound systems to long-established standbys. There are big multi-level spaces for nearly 1,000 people as opposed to much more intimate settings with the DJ up close to the dance floor, and a couple of locations have both. These spots are among the most frequently mentioned places for dancing on a night out in the city. Dress is mostly casual, and the music is mostly loud.

BootieSF/DNA Lounge
375 11th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 626-1409

The DNA Lounge has three floors, seven bars, VIP table service, four rooms with a dance floor in each and 24-hour pizza next door. It’s known for its mashups, with EDM upstairs. Open until 3:30 a.m., Saturdays are BootieSF nights when the cover is $10 (plus $2 service charge but it means skipping the line) before 10 p.m., $20 after and $15 online, cash only. Take more cash for the bars. First opened in 1985, DNA Lounge has celebrated eight years running as the “best dance club.” See the calendar for 18+ and 21+ themed events at DNA Lounge, such as the long-running Monday night goth/industrial, and metal, punk, rock, rap, burlesque on other nights of the week, some recurring, some DJ and some live.

119 Utah St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 626-7001

A location where the Mission, SoMA and Potrero Hill converge means you can actually find parking. Mighty will look after your hunger with one or more food trucks parked out front. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until 4 a.m., this former warehouse space is not small at 6,000 square feet with 22-foot ceilings. In fact, the spacious bathroom could be larger than plenty of San Francisco apartments. A DJ booth suspended above the main bar gets high marks for the excellent sound system. Expect techno, drum and bass and house music from DJs Shortkut, Mr. Choc, SALTED with Miguel Migs and Julius Papp.

101 6th St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 284-9774

On two levels with split personalities offering different vibes, Monarch is open seven nights a week, so you can pick your party and your night. An aerialist performer suspended from a hoop above the Steampunk Victorian bar upstairs? Check. An underground space with custom gold Void Acoustics, considered by Beatport as a “top 10 in the USA” audio system? Check. All of the sound technical specs are listed online for those who really need to know. For everyone else, describe it as loud. Cover charge applies only to the downstairs cub where international talent includes Maya Jane Coles, Carl Craig, Maceo Plex, Kaskade, Derrick Carter and M83, Nikola Baytala, Colette and Mark Farina.

316 11th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 481-0556

A welcome new addition to the same street as DNA Lounge and Slim’s, the 3,500-square-foot space is designed to resemble the plush interior of a 70s Cadillac. The true emphasis, however, is on delivering a superior audio experience. Check out the spring-loaded dance floor, Funktion One sound system, customized acoustic paneling and the 1600 LED tunnel wall lighting to synchronize with the music. Upcoming DJs are listed on a board by the entrance (and online) such as Dr. Dru, Guy J, Anthony Attalla and Bob Sinclair. Audio is open Friday and Saturday until 2 a.m. with $10-$20 cover charge with tickets available online. Downstairs is Bergerac, the sister cocktail bar and light menu restaurant.

85 Campton Place
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 433-8585

Open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until 2 a.m., this is your downtown option located in an alley one block from Union Square. The talent is international. Recent names have included Ejeca from Belfast, Dosem from Spain, Maor Levi from Israel, Claptone from Berlin, Heatbeat from Argentina, Swanky Tunes from Russia and Hook N Sling from Australia. Closer to home, grammy-nominated dance music veteran Andy Caldwell is in the lineup, “continuing to blaze new trails with a distinct versatility and virtuosity.” You’re looking at 4,500 square feet of Funktion One audio, LED lighting and personal table service, which is probably the way to go, via the website in advance.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on Examiner.com.