San Francisco is a global center of house and techno, and despite lacking the vibrantly extra-legal underground scene of other cities like Berlin, Philadelphia, or (closer to home) Oakland, it has always retained a handful of winning clubs that could host a killer party or two. But in the past five years, there's been an explosion of dance music output — and dance music interest. Today there are just as many in-demand DJs as there are touring indie bands. For a while it seemed as if San Francisco wouldn't be able to handle the flood, providing the required sound quality (expensive) at the right door price (affordable), while shunning annoying VIP vibes. So when a number of longtime nightlife freaks got together and opened a space last year with the right raw feel, kickass sound system (state-of-the-art Funktion One), and dedication to the funds-challenged community, San Franciscans breathed easy and got sweaty. The consistently stellar lineups and innovative charitable programming at Public Works has polished our little stop on the worldwide party train. Toot toot!

161 Erie, SF. (415) 932-0955,