Public Works

Underground for the People

PHOTO ABOVE: SIMON HELBURG

 A hip arts space-cum-concert venue is the main attraction on the seedier side of San Francisco

Head down an out-of-the-way alley near an electrical goods warehouse in San Francisco’s Mission District and keep going until you see a colourful Banksy mural on the side of a nondescript beige building. You’ve reached Fog City’s go-to place for gritty urban entertainment, Public Works.

“We cater to the underground scene,” says owner Jeff Whitmore. “We’re not very commercial and we do a lot of events with crews from Burning Man festival.” The evolving mural outside is only the start of the art scene at Public Works. Step inside and you’ll find a multipurpose space housing studios, workshops and a gallery.

Art often spills onto the stage as well, such as when Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra collaborated with a bunch of artists including Shepard Fairey. Anything goes at Public Works. Basement Jaxx, Diplo and Mumford & Sons have all played here. One event turned into a “toilet paper party”, as Whitmore puts it, when a group of Pagans performed rituals on what turned out to be a faulty waterbed.

“We cater to the underground.”

Public Works

NIGHT OWL

Nate Mezmer, founder of event producers Eye Heart SF, hip-hop artist, fitness junkie

© FOTOLIA

PRE-PARTY
Hitting the Mission District? Start at Dolores Park, where the people and music revive my love for the city.

PRIME THE PUMP
Try Picaro for tapas or La Cumbre and Pancho Villa for burritos. In Bernal Heights (aka Outer Mission), it’s El Rio and Virgil’s for drinks and outdoor backyards.

MAIN EVENT
Public Works never disappoints. I booked Krewella’s first SF show here, and I’ve seen Too Short with a live band. Use the FlyWheel app to taxi to an after-hours party or home—no surge pricing! 

CURIOUS CLUBS: Under water, on ice and in a tree — the world’s most unusual bars:

Public Works

SUBSIX: MALDIVES

The world’s first underwater music club (20 feet below the surface of the ocean) can’t be reached by Uber, only by boat. Watch fish swimming by from the dance floor.

© fotolia

Public Works

CHILLOUT: DUBAI

An ice bar in the desert town: Visitors wear hooded parkas and woolen gloves as the room is six degrees below zero. The interior consists of ice, glass and steel.

© Fotolia

Public Works

BAOBAB TREE BAR: SOUTH AFRICA

One of the oldest (1,700 years) and widest (154 feet around) baobab trees in the world has a bar in its hollowed trunk for up to 60 people.

© Fotolia

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1 2015 The Red Bulletin

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