Club Info

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The Hemlock Tavern is a bar and live music venue located at 1131 Polk Street, in between Post & Sutter Streets, in San Francisco’s Lower Polk neighborhood.

We’re open 7 days a week from 4pm – 2am. You must be at least 21 years of age with valid ID to enter. Credit cards are accepted and we also have an ATM on premises. Happy Hour runs daily from 4-7pm, with $1 off all beers and cocktails. Some days we have a deejay spinning records from 6:00pm-8:30pm. The Hemlock’s main bar area is a 360° walk-around on two levels with bar seating and communal tables. For the modern tobacco enthusiast, we have a legal, heated smoking lounge into which you can bring your drink. The smoking lounge is mostly enclosed but shielded from the street by some lovely plants and shrubs. We also sell $1 bags of hot peanuts for your snacking enjoyment. Go ahead and throw those shells on the floor. No, really!

To reserve a table at the Hemlock at 7PM any day, please email: hemlocktavernsf [at] gmail dot com ($50 refundable deposit to hold the reservation). For larger groups, ask about reserving the back room for a private party.

The Hemlock presents a nightly cavalcade of top-shelf up & coming local, national and international touring bands in our back room performance space. It’s always free to enter the main bar itself but there is usually a cover charge to see the live shows in the back room.

Past performers at the Hemlock include A-Frames, Animal Collective, Jay Reatard, Fucked Up, Okkervil River, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Joanna Newsom, Six Organs of Admittance, Beach House, Ariel Pink, Smog, Cat Power, Moris Teper and PJ Harvey, Damo Suzuki, Gillian Welch, Wolf Eyes, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Deerhoof, Ty Segall, Sun City Girls, Jack Rose, Country Teasers, Tyvek, TV Ghost, Puffy Areolas, Chrome, Bassholes, King Khan and BBQ Show, Total Control, UV Race, Billy Childish, Japanther, Human Eye, Intelligence, This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, Andre Williams, Monotonix, Kid 606, Afrirampo, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Big Business, Monoshock, Icky Boyfriends, Devendra Banhart, Vetiver, Entrance, Daniel Higgs, Jad Fair, Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Neil Hamburger, DJ Shitbird and the Ultimate Party Machine, Fuck, Strange Boys, Wounded Lion, XBXRX, Laundry Room Squelchers, Mayyors, Davilla 666, Jolie Holland, Architecture in Helsinki, Follakzoid, White Magic, Titus Andronicus, Real Estate, Parquet Courts, Sex Vid, Yacht, Kimya Dawson, Dean Wareham, Comets on Fire, Glass Candy, Reggie Watts, Kyle Kinane, Amy Schumer, Thrones, Ruins, Kid Congo, Guitar Wolf, and thousands more. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 shows and 12,000 bands over the past 13 years. But who’s counting?!

In June 2015, the Hemlock Tavern live music booker, Tony Bedard, was profiled by KQED Arts for their “Backstage Heroes” series which “spotlights the many movers and shakers working behind the arts scenes to make magic happen in the Bay Area.” Read about his 13 years in the trenches booking 12,000 bands in 13 years at the Hemlock HERE

We also host other live entertainment such as the outer echelon Club Chuckles monthly comedy showcase, the Porchlight Open Door storytelling series, various literary happenings, book launches, and even the occasional t-shirt release party. For the full live schedule, please check our online calendar, sign up for our weekly email blast, and/or join us on Twitter and Facebook.

Press quotes:

“Showcasing some of the world’s best underground rock bands, this microvenue has quickly become one of the city’s best.” – SF Weekly

“The solid crowd and the rock shows in the back room make the Hemlock Tavern great. But the good thing about the heated smoking room is that it doesn’t feel like you’re banished to the sidewalk; it feels like the VIP lounge.” – SF Bay Guardian

“Hemlock Tavern is the best place to hear the latest flying-under-the-radar indie acts.” – East Bay Express

“Its unpretentious attitude, strong drinks, warm peanuts, enclosed smoking area and fantastic bands have fans philosophizing ‘if I could keep one bar in the city, this would be it.” – Zagat

“Yeah, yeah, a great jukebox is eclectic, something for everyone, blah blah blah. But trying to choose the ‘best’ jukebox in a city as full of great bars and amateur music critics like San Francisco is just inviting some hard-drinking know-it-all to say you’re full of it. Fortunately, something happened this year that rendered the selection a no-brainer: The owners of the Hemlock Tavern made their charmingly eclectic jukebox entirely free. The music machine at Hemlock’s sister bar, Casanova, has been gratis for a while now, but the song selection at the Hemlock is less ’60s-centric, ranging from Deerhoof to Black Flag to Buck Owens to Chet Baker. There’s a little Beat Happening for twee, and an album of Agustin Lara works for esoterica. Throw in some Jay Reatard, Wanda Jackson, Jimmy Smith, and locals like the Fucking Champs and Deerhoof, and you’ve got a good reason to dance to the tune of quarters in your pocket.” – SF Weekly

“The Hemlock’s Club Chuckles has been a pivotal force in giving comedians opportunities to reach new audiences – people who regularly go to rock shows but rarely step into established comedy venues such as the Punch Line or Cobb’s.” – SF Chronicle

Best Of’s

Winner of the 2012 “Culture Champion” Small Business Award – SF Bay Guardian

“Best Intimate Venue” – SF Weekly

“Best Bar You Can Smoke In (Legally) – SF Weekly

“Best Punk Rock Deejay Night” (Punk Rock Sideshow) – SF Bay Guardian

“Best Jukebox” – SF Weekly

“Best Rock Bars of San Francisco” – KPIX Channel 5