The Top 10 Best Club Sound Systems in San Francisco

Categories: Clubs

Sadly, this installation is not in S.F.

Nightlife in San Francisco is a big deal -- we live in the kind of town that takes its partying seriously. Naturally, then, there's a near-obsessive level of detail when it comes to club sound. Look back, and the history of the city is littered with acoustic temples and stories of wild club owners on the hunt for the perfect installation. To go out in the city today is to be in the enviable position of being able to pick between a variety of excellent venues, all of which hold high sonic quality as a virtue. Yet, amidst the influx of new spaces (not to mention renovations of old ones), it can be hard to keep track of the city's most euphonic clubs. So, without further ado, here are San Francisco's 10 best club sound systems.

The EndUp
10. The EndUp
Opened in 1973, The EndUp is easily the oldest club on this list. A San Francisco institution, this spot has managed to grow and adapt along with the city. Back in its early heyday, the club was rumored to have been fitted with one of those amazing Saturday Night Fever-esque light-up dancefloors. Unfortunately that floor is long gone, but the overall vibe of hard partying remains, and the EndUp is open every weekend from Friday evening to Monday morning. Fueling the stream of bleary eyed dancers is the EndUp's custom EAW sound system and Rane rotary mixer. This is your best option for consistently high quality sound at five o'clock in the morning. Head to the club on third Saturdays to check out The Show, one of the club's many marathon parties.

Ruby Skye
9. Ruby Skye
Many of the clubs on this list might be considered aligned with a more underground current in San Francisco nightlife. By contrast, Ruby Skye is still the city's reigning champ for the mainstream side of club culture. Every weekend, this theater-turned-nightclub is the site of an unfolding spectacle complete with superstar DJs, high-tech visual effects, steam-like blasts of C02, and a whole troupe of go-go dancers. But it would all fall apart if it wasn't for the club's custom-tuned EAW Avalon sound system, which, when matched with the room's acoustics, provides one of the better listening experiences in the city.

8. Harlot
Located deep in SOMA, just off from the Transbay Terminal, Harlot has always seemed detached from the rest of the city. Make the trip, head inside, and you'll see a club with a unique design aesthetic that its website describes as "ostentatious modern-Goth." And while it was originally a place seemingly built with a lounge aesthetic in mind, a recent remodel saw the club entirely rewire itself to incorporate an all-new EAW system. The difference is noticeable, and you can hear it by dropping by on the second Thursday of every month for a dose of house at the Deep Technique party.

My Voice Nation Help

Arguably the best sound I've ever experienced at a dance venue was through the wireless headphones provided by Silent Frisco. If you haven't experienced this unique alternative to rattling stacks of "Worship Me" speakers, you're in for a treat. I don't know why more clubs don't hire them, it's so amusing to watch a crowd getting down, whooping it up while those without headphones shake their heads in wonder. Best part is, you can adjust your own sound level, and slip the phones off to carry on a conversation.

Rick B.
Rick B.

Was pleasantly surprised to see 222 Hyde on there. I remember finding myself in this little hole-in-the-wall club... And the being blown away by the sound. Good stuff!

Mark Robert Ayoub
Mark Robert Ayoub

ruby skye has a great sound system, but they don't use it properly; all i ever hear is distorted bass. harlot's system is crappy. DNA lounge is missing.


Mezzanine has terrible sound, if you happen to make your way up to the...mezzanine. Ground floor is great.

thomas g
thomas g

Very hard to get good, saturated sound into the halls of Mezzanine, Mighty or Rubye Skye. I personally find that the EndUp belongs higher in the list - due to its setup it has dense, consistent sound anywhere the dance floor. Soundwise, 222 Hyde definitely is my favorite in this list. Not sure what the lighting does to the sound though...


Public Works sounds amazing in 65% of the club; they need to work on the full 360 experience.


@tashn PW tried to address this by bringing in guys that set up Mezz/Mighty, but they have architectural details that obstruct the acoustics

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