If you're looking to go salsa dancing, there's no better place than San Francisco. San Francisco is one of the top US cities for salsa (alongside LA and New York) and there are salsa dancing lessons and parties going on pretty much every night of the week, not to mention the many salsa festivals that are held throughout the year.
Here are my top picks for the best places to go dancing in the City:
SalsaCrazy Mondays - Most people typically don't go out on a Monday night, but not so for salsa dancers who need their daily salsa fix. If you're crazy for salsa and want to go out dancing on a Monday night, there's no better place than SalsaCrazy Mondays. Held at the Neck of the Woods bar in the Inner Richmond District of SF, SalsaCrazy Mondays offers both beginner and intermediate dance lessons so you can pick up the steps, followed by dancing until the wee hours of the morning.
Descarga SF / WEPA Tuesdays - Tuesday night the spot to be is Cafe Cocomo, one of the most popular salsa clubs in the City. Every Tuesday night there is a social called Descarga SF salsa lessons and live salsa music by Montuno Swing, a local salsa band. Every 3rd Tuesday of the month is "WEPA Tuesday" organized by 2-time world salsa champion Luis Aguilar. Both socials are fun to attend and highly recommended.
El Valenciano - Wednesday night is dancers night at the El Valenciano restaurant and bar near the Mission district. The night starts off with salsa lessons by Gabriel Romero, one of the most experienced salsa instructors in the Bay Area, then continues with dancing until 2am. This social draws the more experienced salsa dancers, so if you consider yourself an intermediate or advanced salsa dancer, this is a great social to attend.
Cafe Cocomo - Thursday night the dancing action returns to Cafe Cocomo. Veteran salsa instructor Jake Jacobs teaches lessons here on Thursday night, followed by dancing to live salsa music on a spacious dance floor. Cafe Cocomo is located in a bit of industrial area and looks intimidating from the outside, but inside is beautiful with two floors, a lounge, and full bar. It's the perfect venue for salsa dancing, which is why so many salsa events are held there.
TASTE Fridays or Cigar Bar - Friday night is a tossup. If you want to go back Cafe Cocomo, there is a great salsa event there on Fridays called TASTE Fridays which features beginning salsa & bachata lessons, live salsa music, and light appetizers and drinks. Another great alternative, though, is the Cigar Bar which is a nice restaurant with a bit of a speakeasy feel. The Cigar Bar provides a good mix of salsa regulars, along with people just there to smoke cigars and have a good time. Either venue is a great choice for a Friday night.
There are so many salsa events going on on Saturdays, it's hard to make a recommendation. Cafe Cocomo has salsa dancing as usual, and there is dancing at the Cigar Bar as well. There is another club in SF called Roccapulco which also has nice bar, and then there is Cesar's Latin Palace, which recently opened its doors. Go check out all the events, and let me know which one you like the best.
Hot Bachata Nights - If you're not exhausted from dancing by Sunday night, then Hot Bachata Nights at A3 Atmosphere on Broadway is a great place to check out. Hot Bachata Nights features lessons in 3 different dance styles: salsa, bachata, and kizomba, which is great because they also have 3 separate rooms for dancing where they place salsa, bachata, and kizomba music. This event tends to draw more bachateros than hardcore salsa dancers, but if you want to slow things down with a touch of bachata, Hot Bachata Nights is a fantastic event.
And concludes my round-up of the top places to go salsa dancing in SF. Of course, there are many other lessons and socials going on throughout the week, and there are always special salsa events going on as well. And if you're willing to venture out to neighboring Berkeley or Oakland, there are even more salsa venues you can visit. Check out the salsa calendar from Salsa By The Bay for a full listing of events going on in the SF Bay Area.