859 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410937.785103 -122.418763
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Civic Center
Oldie But Goodie – Enter the Great American Music Hall, and you'd think it hadn't been updated since its glory days back in the late 70's and early 80's. It probably hasn't, but that's the beauty of this old-school classic. The stage is ever-so-slightly elevated and the standing room is so enclosed, it feels like you're watching a show in your living room. The upstairs balcony usually has one side that's reserved for "special patrons," whomever they are, and the other is for the regular folks like you and I. Granted, if you get there early enough to snag a table. "Backstage" is actually downstairs and most resembles a small grade-school. Long, faded yellow hallway adorned with old oak-wood frames with pictures of people no one knows. Nevertheless, GAMH has always been ahead of the hype, and all you need to know is the price is decent, the bartenders are generous, and the acoustics are still in perfect condition. Bravo to GAMH staff for preserving this beauty.
Yes, some of the Bay Area's very best local bands got their very big break right at their very stage.
What a great San Francisco institution! Don't go away anytime soon.
Nice building, but horrible place to actually watch music – I went to see one of my all time musical heroes here last night (Peter Hammill). The building itself is lovely, very atmospheric, but the evening was completely spoiled for me for two reasons.
One is that the staff there seem to lack any form of social skills, they tend to treat all of us paying customers like naughty children. The tone was set early on in the evening when we moved a chair out of our way and one one the (seeming tens) of staff who seem to hang around watching the audience without much to do, mumbled t us "...you only had to ask....", seems it's not allowed to move chairs. There was also a restriction on taking flash photography of the show but one of the staff jumped right at a group of people who were taking flash photographs of each other, around an hour before the show was due to start. . I honestly felt like I was back at school, we were frightened to move out of our seats!
Worse, it was a quiet, semi acoustic show and the show was completely spoilt by this venue having no idea how to host a show like this. There is a noisy bar in the main hall and the bartenders clinked glasses and opened and shut the till throughout the performance making loads of noise and generally disrupting the show. Even worse still, the bunch of staff who seem to just generally hang around and tell everyone what to do started to goof around during the performance, obviously not enjoying the show themselves, they started disrupting it for the audience by goofing around and talking in loud voices to each other - unbelievable!
Oh and also, this venue is on the borders of the Tenderloin which, if you don't know, is San Francisco's inner city bad area, so you need to be very careful as you walk to the venue. As we walked there what sounded like a gun shot went off and we had to negotiate our way past some very scary looking characters, obviously high.
It's good to know that the institution is still there. – Wow, what a blast from the past! I remember going here on weekday evenings when I was barely legal and watching local great Chris Isaak, amongst many.
It's good to know that the institution is still there, and that they're not going away anytime soon.
Best Venue To See Live Music – Seen a few shows here! Great sounds, Great Atmosphere, Great Shows! Suggest it for anybody who wants to see a good show!
Great for live shows ! ! ! – I went there for a great LIVE jazz show. This of course was a special event (considering the Open-Bar). The staff is cool, the drinks are refreshing, and the upstairs viewing area allows me to see the bands comfortably. You could also get the other entrees: Vegan Rice Noodles with Crispy Tofu - steamed vegetables and coconut milk, Thai curry peanut sauce. I very much enjoyed this hall and will probably go again as I did with a large group of people. It was a wonderful experience, with a full diverse crowd and plenty of space to dance and enjoy the show.
Good place for live shows – This is a very good place for live shows. I saw Joanna Newsom there and it was a great show. Very mixed crowd but everyone that came with us and everyone at the show seemed to have a really good time.
With a style recalling the Gold Rush era, this SF club features cutting-edge bands in an old-time setting. – In Short
Open in one form or another since 1907, the Great American was a restaurant-bordello in the Roaring '20s and a French restaurant in the '70s. Today, soaring columns, an ornate balcony and frescoed ceiling create an elegant setting for performers ranging from PJ Harvey to Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. The first floor is essentially for dancing, though things can get too packed for that. The balcony is offers space for relaxing or eating a burger.
Great American Music Hall is breath taking!!! i saw Michelle Branch, may favorite artist here and it was the best venure i've seen her play at! i even wrote an article about this place for my interior design class. you can't go wrong here at all.
Best NON CLEAR CHANNEL venue – This historic venue is free from Clear Channel unlike most others in the Bay Area. Great sound, friendly staff, good bars.
Check out the painting on the wall on the balcony (left side of the stage) which is over 100 years old.
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