The Best Music Venues in America: Readers' Choice

Your picks for the most rocking rooms in the country

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The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA
CC Image courtesy of LookingforJanis on Flickr7/10

7. The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA

Promoter Bill Graham's first event at this theater was a benefit for the San Francisco Mime Troupe in 1965. Among the local acts on the bill: the Jefferson Airplane and the newly renamed Grateful Dead. The rest is rock history – Graham developed the early history of West Coast rock & roll at the Fillmore, hosting Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, The Who, Howlin' Wolf and hundreds of other Hall of Fame names. The scene became so big that Graham had to relocate to the Fillmore West (where Led Zeppelin played a set still prized by bootleggers) and spin off New York City's Fillmore East (where Hendrix, The Who and the Allmans cemented their legends). Graham closed his beloved club in 1971, but after his death 20 years later, his promotion company reopened it at its original 1805 Geary Boulevard location. The original concert posters lining the walls today are so comprehensive they're almost intimidating.  "Legend," sums up Brian Ahern, a William Morris booking agent.

Capacity: 1,100
Fun Fact:
After Graham closed the Fillmore, it reopened in the Eighties as The Elite Club, starring Black Flag, Bad Brains, the Dead Kennedys, Public Image Ltd. and other punk pioneers.

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