Teen Night Clubs

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  • All ages punk shows in the city

    (7 replies)


    My 16 year old daughter has a friend of a friend who goes to a lot of all-ages punk shows in the city. I'm just starting to hear about this scene but am wondering what other parents know about it, along any dimension you'd like to share. I'm not averse to kids going to shows per se- I was in a band for a number of years. Wondering about locations, whether things happen at the shows, safety, drugs, etc. You know- the usual things. Thanks!

    Please give me dates times and locations! I would love to get my daughter and her friends hooked into some kind of music scene.  It seems like a really good alternative to hanging out parks drinking which seems like the post Covid teen world.

    When I was a teen; I was super into seeing live shows at tiny all ages clubs.  To say it saved my life would be an over statement but it provided me with an organizing principle and sense of belonging for my in general mediocre life (ok student, ok athelete, not into clubs or student government) Back them, because the shows were all ages and the organizers and venues were committed to keeping them open, there was not a lot of drinking or drug use.  I imagine it is similar now for the same reasons.

    I know that Gilman Street in Berkeley has a long history of all ages Punk shows and is a great place. Drugs are highly discouraged and there are older mentors there and such. I personally would be more comfortable having her do this close to home where you can transport and monitor better. As we all know teens don’t always tell the truth and though they insist on independence needs those boundaries. I don’t  know about the current scene in SF though. Good luck! 

    I know there's a place called "Toxic Beach" that is really popular- it's outdoor in the waterfront in the DogPatch and seems mostly harmless. I'm curious what responses you'll get as I'm familiar with 924 Gilman and not much else. 

    My 15 yr old has a friend her age who goes to punk shows in sf and east bay. Yesterday he showed me a video from one of the sf ones + I was surprised at the bright lights, but he said a lot of the shows are in restaurants and they keep the lights bright so no one gets hurt. Not what I remember from punk shows, but I think I'd be more wary of shows at people's houses than in actual venues, where laws tend to be followed more often (?). I don't know about the drugs in that scene.

    I was just talking to a friend yesterday about how stoked they were to be doing all ages punk shows, and how we wished we'd had more when we were tiny. IMO punks tend to look out for each other, enjoy having younger folks around, and treat them with care and kindness. The vibe also depends on what venues you are talking about, Gilman is great, i've heard good things about the new farm. If you have concerns, maybe stick to earlier/daytime shows in better known venues, as opposed to warehouse shows or more diy/backyard shows as they may be a little more free for all. Regardless of orientation of your kid, i also think QT bands and shows are the most open and tender. Some of the harder core shows or all guy straight bands can be more intense. I hope she has fun!

    Hello -- as someone who frequented all-ages punk shows in the Bay Area and a parent who has teenagers who also attend, I fully support your kid going!  Generally, all-ages shows are good about restricting access to alcohol or not permitting it altogether.  A lot depends on the venue and the crowd your kid goes with.  I spent countless weekends at Gilman, Epicenter in SF, Bottom of the Hill -- seeing bands, trading zines, and making lifelong friends.  For my own kids, when they wanted to go to shows with friends -- we would initially drop them off and pick them up.  Now they go on their own, with set expectations on when to come home and that, if needed, we will always pick them up.  Be sure to check out "The List" -- upcoming shows/concerts with info if all ages, etc.  Used to be handed out on paper at the end of most Gilman shows, now someone has made an easy to access web version.  http://www.foopee.com/punk/the-list/

    Highly recommend Gilman if your kid is interested. Wish I knew more about the SF venues, but I’ve only attended a handful as an adult whereas I went to Gilman frequently as a teenager. I grew up in the East Bay and have many good memories of seeing bands and meeting people from other schools there. The ethos of punk is to look out for one another, which makes those places safer than they look. The venues are highly motivated to keep drugs and alcohol away because if people are drinking or smoking weed at or outside of the show permits could get taken away. We would usually do those activities somewhere nearby, so I’d suggest maybe having a conversation about that and what your expectations are. I think teens in the younger generation may be less inclined to drink then we were (this is pure anecdote). Hope she has fun! 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Reviews of Clubs Related Pages

The Main Event at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond

Dec 2011

Do any of you parents know what The Main Event -- Blowout Part 1, Dec 16th is? This is a dancerager being advertised on Facebook, and most likely at various high schools in the East Bay, including Berkeley High. According to the Facebook page lots of teens are going. There was at least one other of these ''Blowouts'' --- one for sure last June on the last day of school. Are these events safe? Will there really be a professional security crew? Will it really be drug and alcohol free? Will kids really be driving there and remaining sober? (It is located at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, on the water). Have any of you allowed your kids to go and thought that it was a good fun thing? Thanks for any opinions, info. I am ignorant, but am feeling skeptical about this event. (Also, the kids pay 20 dollars in advance!). Here is the link to the facebook page:http://www.facebook.com/events/115632591881847/ A Concerned and Wondering Parent of Teenagers

I'm not sure about the details of ''The Main Event'' at The Craneway, but I think it is an alcohol/drug free dance party for teens. The Craneway always has lots of security, including Richmond PD. They've done a lot of successful teenage events, including the legendary Club Bamboo, the Snow Ball, and the Winter Ball of Richmond and Kennedy High Schools. It's a beautiful well-run venue. I drove by to check when they did the Club Bamboo event and it looked like the kids were having fun with loads of security at the entrance and around the building--it appeared to be really safe to me. Karen

16-year-old wants to go to The New Parish in downtown Oakland

March 2010

Has anyone heard of The New Parish on 18th in downtown Oakland? It's a venue for bands, comedy etc. My 16 yr old BHS student wants to go and take the last Bart train home at 19th and Broadway at midnight. He would be walking with friends, but I think it is too risky. He says a lot of kids, even younger than he, from BHS do this. I drove by the place at 10p and saw lots of teens lined up at the door waiting to get in. A security guard was frisking them before they could enter. Of course, my teen says everyones' parents are OK with it. I have asked another parent about this and was told it sounds a lot scarrier than it is. Any experience with this place? I need more opinions. I did check the Oakland crime blotter and there are occurances. Thanks. NEED ADVICE

19th & Broadway at midnight is not where I'd trust my 17 yr old son to be safe. As someone who's worked near City Hall (14th & Broadway) for 10 years, I can tell you that safety varies every few blocks and by time of day in downtown Oakland. Midnight at 19th & Broadway could be ok or not. I certainly wouldn't linger there late at night, as a grown adult. Being inside a club is not the issue for me, which could indeed be a cool, relatively ok place, it's being outside afterwards and making that last BART train that I would be more concerned about.

I have a teenage boy who tells me he is ''safe'' at Telegraph, Golden Gate Park, Bayfair, you name it, at any hour of night so long as he's with his friends. He doesn't have great judgment in the moment and rarely (if ever) perceives a possible risk. So, as one mom to another, I wouldn't listen to my kid on this one, I'd listen to my gut. Maybe you can offer to be nearby in case they'd prefer a ride home? Another mom who tries to let her teenager have fun (good luck)

Hello, I too have a teen who we (parents) have been taking to clubs since she was tiny. We started allowing her to go to (''under 21'') clubs in SF without us when she began wanting to go without us (sad day) and she was 14 which is YOUNG! Although she was never alone, always with friends, we did not want any of them waiting or walking on the streets late at night which of course she insisted even at age, that she was old enough to do. Of course they say that. They are teens!

Now, she is 16 and I say and do the same thing. She must always get a ride either from us or a friends' parent and it can be planned by the teens but always needs to be approved by us parents. (long story, but I left it up to the kids one night. Never again.!)

Yes we will pick her up, pick her friends up, take them home or take them to our house for overnights and that happens a lot. I actually love it... I feel better when I know they are all safe and sound and if that means going to pick them up at midnight or even later, then Oh well!

It is really nice to coordinate with the parents of friends who are going and take turns picking them up, dropping them off if it is late. That is my insight and I hope it helps! :) HR

I'm not familiar with this particular club, but other parents on the list may not realize that this part of Oakland has been undergoing quite the renaissance in the last year or two. There are now a lot of trendy new restaurants in the area that attract lots of upscale people at night. The Fox Theater, which is just a long city block away from the New Parish, draws crowds nearly every night. I've been to night-time concerts myself at the Fox several times in the past year. There are a lot of young people as well as older folks at the shows, and the new bars and restaurants a little further north seem to be packed with 20-somethings and 30-somethings. I have not felt unsafe in this area because there are so many people on the street now, especially on weekends. I have not taken BART, so I can't speak to that, although I would imagine that if the New Parish is a popular venue for young people, there would be quite a few people using the 19th St. BART station. Of course, there are still areas that are iffy. But I'd recommend that you look at the google map, look at the website, and do a drive by and see for yourself. And if you don't like the looks of the New Parish, I can highly recommend attending a show with your teen at the Fox. They are bringing in all sorts of great nationally-known bands, even bands that old ladies like me can groove to! And check out the restaurants, too!

High school freshman wants to go to an all ages club in SF

May 2007

My high school freshman daughter feels I'm the last parent alive who has misgivings about this sort of situation: She and a friend would like to take BART from the East Bay to the SF Mission District(after dark), go to hear live music at an all ages club (which serves alcohol to those 21 & up), then spend the night with the friend's relative (who I haven't met) and then head back home the next day on BART after going to visit other SF friends. I have concerns about her possibly having to deal with older folks who've been drinking in the club, not knowing the young adult who they'd be staying with, etc. She's a smart and common-sense-endowed kid.

What are the thoughts on this in your households? At what age do you feel this is appropriate?

Trying to figure out the balance in life...

I too have a high school freshman girl. I too would have great concerns about the situation you are describing. I would not allow my daughter to take Bart after dark alone. She takes Bart often during the day, with friends or alone, as she is going to the Jewish High School in Sf, and we live in Oakland. But not alone, after dark. Too risky. Secondly, this is a club with alcohol. I believe this is not a good idea for a 15/16 year old. They may not be able to buy the alcohol, but I wouldn't want my daughter in that atmosphere. And lastly, I would never allow my daughter to sleep over anywhere, unless I know the parents..enough to have an idea of what kind of parents they are...do they allow boys in closed rooms with lights off? Do they allow alcohol to be served? Do they tend to be ''away'' when their kids have friends over, or do they stick around and supervise? And by the way, I always ask my daughter to call me when she gets to her destination and I ask to speak with the parents wherever she is staying. Otherwise, she could tell me they are home, but how would I know? My daughter doesn't usually lie..but I like to be sure!!This may all sound strict to a 15 year old girl, but I think it's wise and safe. Protective Mom!

BART to San Francisco, to go to a club where some of the people will be drinking, then going home to a place where her parents won't know whether she's sober or not? No way. Why allow that? She can do it after she's 18.

My kids know that we'll have very little control over how they spend their time...once they're in college. Your daughter still has another 3 years of high school!

If her friends have parents who think this is reasonable... maybe she needs new friends... or maybe her friends need new parents.

Please don't fall for the ''everybody else gets to...'' line... Everybody else doesn't get to do this as a high school student, and its insulting that she thinks you believe that. No Way, and I don't feel Guilty about It.

You are not the last parent alive who would have misgivings about an SF Club. I have two daughters and when they were freshman in high school I would not have let either of the go in that situation, but I might negiotiate with them. I might volunteer that I would drive them to and from the club (yeah I hated the late hour driving but it was worth gaining their trust and knowing they were safe) but that I would only do the late night driving once a year or once a month or whatever worked for my life at the time. They had to go to a late night event with a parent driving, period. I definitely set ground rules and worked to find a way of compromising so the adventure could happen with some oversight by a parent. If the child didn't follow the ground rules,no more trips to clubs or late night outings. I made the ground rules about safety not about control. And I would never let a freshman in high school stay with someone I had not at least talked to on the phone. Call me old fashion but my kids ended up in excellent universities and did have fun along the way but within limits. And as they got older the limits got to be less and less. anonymous

No. Absolutely not. You can not allow your daughter to go. Never mind the fact that you don't know the relative. A club that serves alcohol? That's completely inappropriate for her age. The Mission after dark? Even during the day, it can be dangerous. There are lots of drugs being used in these clubs. It's not a place for teenagers. What she wants to do is for adults. You can not let her go. I would put my foot down on this one and don't budge. Nothing to Debate About Here

Count me among the dinosaur moms. There's NO WAY one of my girls would be allowed to do this in high school. I won't even enumerate the reasons. You know why - and your daughter does, too, deep inside. Stand your ground. mother of two sophomore girls (college and h.s.)

You are not the last parent alive who would not be OK with this. I'm right there with you. My daughter is a year younger, but here's what I might allow in another year. Let her to BART into the city, but I would pick her up from the club and bring her home myself. No matter how smart and how much common sense she has, you don't know the other people involved, and you have no way to know what is really happening- where they are going, staying, with whom, etc... She is still too young for that much freedom. Trust your instincts. in favor of limits

I read your post to my daughter - BHS '96. She graduated from Cal and now lives in SF. Here is her response: All-ages clubs were wierd. I think I went to one or two. They attracted a lot of sketchy guys who knew there would be young girls there. She is 14 years old! She may not want to/plan to drink, but lots of other people there certainly will be. And I may sound like a 'fraidy cat, but I generally don't mess with the Mission unless I'm with a group of people and we have a predetermined, normal destination like a restaurant or bar. Do I sound like the world's youngest fuddy duddy? But there's no way I'd let my freshman daughter do that plan. Nope. Even BART after dark has it's own issues. I'd sooner buy my 14 year old a case of beer and have her invite her friends over to the house than let her loose on BART and in the Mission. I just think that she could be the smartest kid in the world, but go to the places where the bad guys lurk and you're asking for trouble. Feel free to forward my opinion back to that parent... vicki s.

You are not the last parent alive who has misgivings about this sort of situation. I would not allow my daughter, as a freshman, to go with a friend on BART from the East Bay to SF (after dark) to go hear live music at an all ages club. You are absolutely right to have concerns about her possibly having to deal with older folks who've been drinking in the club, not knowing the young adult who they'd be staying with, etc. She's a smart and common-sense-endowed KID - and kids are vulnerable, especially girls. I would recommend small steps toward this level of outing -- has she taken BART with a friend to the city during the day and back? Has she taken public trans w. a friend in the evening near home to a movie and back? Have you taken her on BART to the city, to a show, where you're with her walking along Market dealing with the nighttime street scene? You need to feel secure with the intermediate steps before you go on to the big ones, and you can tell her that. My daughter will be 16 next month, and I would say ''absolutely not'' if she proposed this outing, particularly because of the all-ages-club and the staying-with-an-unknown-adult aspects. Go with your parental instincts:to date they've obviously been very reliable since you have a smart, common-sense endowed daughter who is honest with you. In 3= years she may be leaving home and doing lots of things like this, and these 3= years are your chance to gradually get comfortable with that reality, so do it in stages. It worked with my son who is now at UCLA. You're smart to check with others when you're in doubt, but I say you are right to withhold your permission on this outing. Maybe they can modify it for your comfort. Another Parent Who Cares

I have two sons who are 21 and 24 who go to clubs in SF w/friends on a regular basis. They both occasionally went to clubs to hear music in high school but there were constraints. I wouldn't have let them do what your daughter is proposing. I see this as two separate problems: 1) going to a club at night in SF and 2) staying overnight at the home of someone that you don't know.

Going to a club: I let mine go to Gilman or iMusicast when they were your daughter's age and even a bit younger. These clubs are local, no alcohol is served, the age group tends to be under 21, and I picked them up afterwards. When they were 16/17, they went a couple times to hear music in the city, but a parent drove both ways, or they Barted over and got picked up afterwards by a parent. I think a first-time trip to the City at night for 14/15-year-old's is iffy. My 24-y-o says that ''all ages'' clubs tend to attract younger kids under 21 (he avoids them because of this). They check ID's at the door and give wristbands to over-21's, so assuming there are no fake IDs involved, your daughter would not be able to get alcohol. However, when my kids were at Berkeley High, fake IDs were fairly easy to get, so keep that in mind. There may also be older kids that you don't know involved in the outing. Also, my kids at 18 and 19 got lost in the City several times on the way to and from the Bart station. Once they failed to get to Bart before it closed for the night. I also hear stories from my 24-y-o about not wearing certain colors in the Mission, not making eye contact, dealing with ''crackheads'', and other dicey situations. Can your daughter handle unexpected events? I'm not saying this should deter a trip to the City for a responsible young person to enjoy music or theater, but I'm saying that a 14-year-old may be unprepared to deal with it.

As for sleeping over: no way. If it's someone you know, and that you have talked to, and that you trust, fine. But a sleepover at the home of an unknown person has all kinds of possibilities. Could be a relative who won't be home that night, could be an older teen who has their own place, could be one of those deals where your daughter tells you she's at Tiffany's, and Tiffany tells her mom she's at your place. They all have cell phones, so who will know? After my kids graduated high school, I sometimes woke up on Sunday morning to find kids sleeping on my sofa. I did my best to make sure these were not high school kids, and that their parents knew where they were. I preferred them to be at my house where they were safe than someplace where they weren't. But sometimes I didn't know them, and I had no way of knowing where they had been before they wound up on my sofa. They could have been high school freshmen or sophomores who told their parents they were staying at a friend's house. It's really better for everyone if you take charge of overnights and sleepovers until your daughter is 18.

I think it's good for teens to be ready for independence before they are 18 by having some experiences they don;t quite know how to deal with, but they need boundaries too. - Mom who somehow made it thru the teens

No way would I go for this plan. I've got a 16yr old hs sophmore son, who has to date demonstrated responsible behavior and I still wouldn't go for it. The part I didn't like was the overnight plan. Too many unknowns for my comfort. I would however, and have, allowed my son to go to clubs in the city, but there has always been a parent pick up from the club (no BART returns) and a return home that night. i wouldn't allow it

First off, please, please be assured that you are not the only parent, or the last remaining parent, who has questions and doubts about how to handle a situation with your daughter. The very existence of this website speaks to the questions and concerns that we all have about ourselves and our children and how to parent them. So with your permission, I'll share my opinion.

No, your daughter should not be allowed to go to SF at night without an adult chaperone, spend the night at the home of unknown people and then visit around the city without your supervision. She is too young and there are too many random possibilities for a problem to occur. This has nothing to do with your daughter's maturity, trustworthiness, clear headedness etc. The problem lies in what I call the ''random nature of the universe'' - where kids (and adults) find themselves in situations which they do not have the experience or equipment to handle.

My first advice to you if to follow your gut feelings and your own sense of what limits you are comfortable with. Do think through your limits, and understand what things make you uncomfortable or concerned - and what does not. Then see if there is a way to support your daughter's desires. In this instance for example, can you take her to the club, listen to the show, take her home? Can you give her a ride to visit the friends in the city, go shopping, visit your own friend and meet up later? This is a perfect opportunity to talk with your daughter, and begin to develop a more collaborative relationship with her. My husband and I took our now junior daughter and her friends to many performances in the city freshman and sophomore years-found seats in the back: most venues have seating in the back somewhere, took earplugs, and then gave rides home. It worked pretty well, the performances weren't as bad as we thought, and it gave us a better understanding our our daughter and her friends.

There is an inborn conflict here between your need to keep your child safe (one of the primary duties of a parent), and her need to expand her universe. We have to find a way to balance those unmeeting needs so that they can stretch and explore while we learn to give up control. By figuring out what the core concern is in each situation, you open up the possibilities for a resolution. I think you need to keep up a continuous dialogue with your daughter about why each decision is made, and look for ways to compromise. GIving her a ride is just one solution.

As she gains more experience and maturity, you can let her have more adventures without you present, but only as you determine that you are comfortable with her maturity and responsibility. As she sees that you are willing to listen,think, evaluate and communicate, you'll build the basis for communication if or when more complex issues arise.

So - yes - rely on your values, opnions and common sense. Just be willing to analyze your feelings, to find the core of the concern and address that. There is often a way for both of you to get what you want. Carolyn

You are not the last parent alive who would be anxious with letting thier HS age daughter go out to a club in the city... there are at least two of us! 8-)

My daughter is a responsible & smart sophmore and I still will not let her go out to the city past 8:00, nor will I allow her to go to a club that serves alcohol or spend the night ANYWHERE if I have not spoken to the adult in the house. I would be quite concerned about letting her go stay at someones house that I did not know. Can you talk to her friends parents about this relative?? How will they get home from the club?

My feeling is that if you have worries, and she is being honest about the plan, then you should be able to double check with the ADULTS involved, as the main thing is to make sure your daughter is in a safe environment.

I ask LOTS of questions when my daughter comes to me with a plan to go out and a lot of the time she has not clearly thought thru all of the plans and if I am not comfortable with the plan - or lack there of - I will tell her no. I got in to a lot of trouble in SF when I was in high school, and most of the time it was when I was hanging out with older people.

Best of luck to you & your daughter! Gina

I didn't let my daughter go to one of these clubs until she was a senior. She was with a group of 3 other girls celebrating her friends 18th birthday. The club she went to was south of Market and I was very wary. She said it was very crowded, the guys were ''creepy'', and she hasn't gone back since. jenny

Clubs Open to Teens

June 2007

My 16 y.o. son just heard about the opening of a new underage club in Richmond (east bay) that is opening this weekend, called Club Bamboo. Apparently it is only for 15 - 19 year olds. He wants to go and I was wondering if anyone is familiar with club Bamboo or these types of clubs in general. My son is very responsible and not into dangerour behavior, just wanting to go hear some music and have some fun with friends. He has not been to one of these underage clubs yet, so I just wanted to get a better idea of what is it like, is it safe, etc. thanks, cautious mom

My daughter was also invited to this opening. Yesterday, I drove by the building. It is the old Ford Plant in Richmond. The building is being redeveloped. The property is fenced and there is a security guard at the gate. She had nothing on the schedule for Club Bamboo. She called her supervisor who also knew nothing about this. I would very much like to know if this is legit or if someone is trying to scam these kids ($10 presale, $18 at the door). Ida

I'm sure you will get many different responses for this. But firstly, I have not heard of Club Bamboo.

My 16 year old daughter has been to several clubs to hear music. here's how I feel about it:

The Gilman-the grandaddy of under-age clubs-that's out for her, too much of an outside drug and drinking scene, inside she said it was just okay, lots of junky-looking couches and years-old graffiti on the walls. It's all ages and all ages do come. Mostly punk. Big mosh pit, no drinking or drugging inside, but no security outside where it's all happening. Ins and Outs okay.

Roosters Road House in Alameda has Sunday afternoon/early evening shows for under-age teens, not sure how often. They are VERY strict about drinking and watch the kids pretty well, even have mosh pit security. The music is all over the map, lots of new young bands can play here for the first time. Serves not very good food. No Ins and Outs. This one she can go to.

Red House Live in Walnut Creek-an interesting place, it's really new, under-age welcome, strict no drinking policy for under-age, not sure about the outside scene. Ins and Outs okay. Small clean lounge area and seperate band room. Heavy on the heavy metal the night I was there. I saw some kids get pretty messed up in the mosh pit. That's more of a personal choice though, to get out or stay in...I would say she could go here again.

I wonder if there are more clubs for teens? As for Club Bamboo, if you let your son go, check it out yourself so you get feeling for it, even talk to a bouncer or the bartender, ask how they deal with kids trying to drink, or being drunk, or if they allow Ins and Outs and let us know! mom of a rocker girl

I posted the original question about Club Bamboo, and since I ended up letting my son go, I thought I would post for others.

Before I let him go, I checked it out with the mom of one of the main organizers who happens to be a senior at his school. Basically, he had a very good experience there and I would let him go again. There was lots of security, both inside and out. It is limited to only 14 to 19 year olds (high school ID), so no problem with older people and no alcohol at all. No one who had obviously been drinking was let in, although my son said he saw a few people who were ''tipsy'', but no one falling down drunk and no one with alcohol inside. He said he saw two people who tried to lite up a joint inside who were promptly escorted out. Lots of security. Outside, there were people smoking cigarettes, but nothing else. In and out was allowed for the frst hour and a half or so, but not after that.

And for what the kids are interested in...my son said good music, mostly hip hop, good crowd, nothing weird - he had a great time. He doesn't drink or do drugs, and isn't interested in being in a dangerous or weird scene, so I basically trust his reporting.

Apparently the place isn't quite finished yet, but it seems like a good, healthy place for teens to hang out and hear good music.

Hope this helps for those considering. new clubber's mom

March 2002

The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco is open to all ages over 6 except for dance events, which are clearly marked on their events calendar (see http://www.gamh.com/calendar/index.html). My 16-year-old recently attended a concert there and really enjoyed it. He and his friends took BART. Remind them about BART closing at midnight though - mine had to call home for a ride back to Berkeley after the concert! Other slight problem - if you charge tickets for them on your card, they will have trouble collecting them at Will Call unless you give them your card. Ugh. Ginger

Both Ashkenaz on San Pablo Ave and La Pena on Shattuck offer a variety of music and dance events with all ages welcome. Both are relatively safe/well-supervised/inexpensive places - Ashkenaz serves no alcohol and La Pena has a cafe with beer and wine but they say they are careful about carding. La Pena has an open mike poetry slam that is very popular with teens I think on the first Wednesday of every month. Margy

(Editor Note: as of 2007, Cafe Eclectica is closed. :(

Cafe Eclectica, 1309 Solano Ave. in Albany 527-2344 is run by and for teens. Hosted by a non-profit organization, this is a great, safe place for your teens to go. Open 3-6PM M-Th and 7-11PM Fri. & Sat. There is a page on the website of the host: communitylearningservices.org They have just put out an activities calendar which you can pick up at the Cafe or get on the web page or leave a mailing address on their machine. Lisa

About Teen Clubs

One of my favorite preteen memories in Hamburg, Germany was going to the youth club for three years to hang out and meet others, especially guys. The youth club consisted of three basement rooms (our community center) run by our local church and offered board games & card games in one room (cafe style seating), disco dancing in almost darkness in another room, and the third room was just to stand around and hang, I think. The whole thing was run by the assistant to the priest (title: Diakon, he was in his 40-ies), who was always present and the most popular guy in the district. No talk about God or any of that, pure youth entertainment, but he was always there for anyone who needed to talk something over. And everybody was willing to follow the rules (no alcohol, no drugs, no heavy kissing, no fighting), because we understood that if the center got into trouble, they would go after the Diakon and close the youth club. So, even the roughest guys turned into teddy bears and listened to the slightest warning, because they respected this haven for all of us. This Diakon touched so many lives in such a deep way - you wouldn't believe how many people showed up for his funeral 20 years later when he died of cancer! Within the safety of the club he taught us how to love and get along, as diverse as we were, without using religious words. Many of us found our first loves there, including me. Can this happen here? Heike