With all the live music venues in the Bay Area, it’s hard to separate the standouts from the less-than-stellar. Starting today, I’ll be doing weekly venue spotlights to give you five good reasons to check out the best. First up, Bottom of the Hill, a cozy club located in the Potrero Hill neighborhood. If you haven’t been to Bottom of the Hill—and yes, I realize the distance is daunting—hopefully this will convince you it’s time to make a trip. Here are my five reasons:

1. Intimacy. Sick of feeling distanced from your favorite musical acts? The small stage and semi-cramped interior is a great way to get up close and personal with whatever band is playing. If you’re lucky, you might even get a chance to chat with them in the courtyard after the show.
2. Food. In addition to a reasonably priced bar, Bottom of the Hill offers a pretty decent selection of food. That’s right, you don’t even have to wait till the show is over to chow down on some delightfully greasy fries.
3. Ample parking. No, really. If you’ve ever tried to find cheap and easy parking in San Francisco, you know what a big deal this is. There is almost always free parking by Bottom of the Hill. Oh, and for the car-less: the 22 bus goes straight there from the 16th St. Mission BART station.
4. History. Many of the great Bay Area (and non-Bay Area) artists got their start here. Green Day, The Mars Volta, The Strokes, Neutral Milk Hotel—they all performed at Bottom of the Hill before they reached superfame.
5. New acts. With that in mind, this venue is a great place to discover new acts. If you want to increase your hipster cred by saying you knew them when, check out one of the lesser-known artists performing. They could be the next Arcade Fire, and you don’t want to miss a chance at seeing them here.

Have you purchased your tickets yet? Check out the website’s calendar for a full list of upcoming shows. Many do sell out, so buy in advance. I’ll see you there!

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