Public Works

Underground for the People

PHOTO ABOVE: SIMON HELBURG

INTO ALL THINGS ARTSY AND EDGY? THEN YOU’RE IN FOR A GOOD TIME AT PUBLIC WORKS IN SAN FRANCISCO. 

If a glitzy venue on a bustling boulevard is nightclub nirvana, then Public Works isn’t for you. But if you prefer urban grit, maybe a quasi-hidden hang on an alley near an electrical supply warehouse, this is your joint. “We cater to the underground,” says owner Jeff Whitmore, and he ain’t just whistlin’ “Dixie (Flume remix).”

Part gallery (an evolving mural has been added to by the likes of Banksy), part concert venue for Diplo, Basement Jaxx and Mumford & Sons and at times both (like the four-night stand Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer curated with artists like Shepard Fairey and Palmer’s Grand Theft Orchestra), Public Works has something for everyone.

Everyone, that is, who digs dancing, imbibing and that underground vibe. Like the night a troupe staged a pagan ritual on a waterbed that leaked and flooded the dance floor? And the DJs proclaimed it a toilet-paper party and tossed hundreds of rolls into the crowd to sop up the mess? Yeah, that one.

“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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