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