Frequently Asked Questions – AKA – Things to know so we have a mutual love fest:

Q: Our drummer is underage / can I bring my sister to see me play who is 19 / I just had a baby and really REALLY need a day out can I bring him in?

A: Unfortunately not. All patrons, band members and crew must be over 21 and have legitimate id. You will be id’d. Regardless of what other clubs do or your impressions of ABC laws, you must be legally of age to enter El Rio – NO EXCEPTIONS.


Q: Can I load in / sound check / set up gear early? Where do I load in?

A: You will receive a confirmation email with all the details regarding your show including load in. You will not be able to get into the club before your load in time.  Please stick to that schedule. 1 hour arrival before you want to play/start is typical. If you are playing the back room, come in first and the tech will show you a rear room door to Mission St. to load in from. Do not load in from our front door unless you are playing the front room or patio.



A: Load in times vary from night to night. I know it is tempting to arrive early but please don’t. You will not be allowed into the club until the tech is there and ready for you – and that is at your specified load in time listed below.

Mondays: 8pm Load and Doors / 9pm Start

Tuesdays: 7pm Load and Doors / 8pm Start

Wednesdays: 8pm Load and Doors / 9pm Start

Thursdays: 8pm Load and Doors / 9pm Start

Fridays: 2 BAND SHOWS — 8pm Load / 9pm Start (set times 9&10pm – over by 11pm) /// 3 BAND SHOWS — 7pm Load/8pm Start (set times 8, 9, & 10pm – 0ver by 11pm)

Saturdays: 9pm Load and Doors / 10pm Start


Q: Can I do my own sound so I don’t have to worry about the tech fee?

A: No. We do not allow bands to do their own sound. We like our neighbors and want them to be able to sleep at night. Your tech is welcome to work with ours though. If you are concerned about the sound we suggest you come by the space and check it out. You can also check our gear page here or email your concerns to our booker at


Q: What is the Tech fee? 

 A: On your night we will have a minimum number requirement (which includes guest list), 40 people on Tues, 50 on Weds, 60 on Thurs, & 100 on Sat. If you meet or exceed this you get 100% of the door money to divide as you like. If you bring under the required amount we then take the tech fee from the door money and the rest goes to you. It is our way of covering our losses if the night is slow. Remember – you get 100% of the door if you meet your numbers, which is pretty rare. Most clubs take 30% off the top regardless. We want you to make $$! Be realistic about your draw. If you cannot bring out at least 40 people you should work on building your audience and book with us at a later date.


Q: After I confirm my show with you I just sit back, relax and 300 people will come to see me perform, right?

A: No offense but probably not. We ask that you promote your show to the fullest of your abilities. You are responsible for your own press. If you would like a list of folks to contact email your booker and they will pass one on to you. Feel free to bring us flyers for your show. We will include you on our website, club email list and Facebook page.  Make sure to look at any posted info we have regarding your show for typos, especially our web site. That is where all the press gets grabbed from.  If you are planning on posting flyers for your show around town make sure you check the regulations. You may be fined by the city for posting flyers in areas deemed illegal.

A note regarding flyers and booking:
Keep in mind that we consider ourselves a space for the SF community at large. We do not tolerate hate of any kind, sarcastic or literal, whether it is in your lyrics or on your flyers. All populations are welcome here and we go out of our way to make sure that everyone is comfortable. Bear this in mind while creating the imagery for your show and booking the other bands for your night. We reserve the right to cancel your show if you are promoting what we feel to be derogatory in anyway, to any population.


Q: Can I play another show at a different club 4 days before the one I already booked with you?

A: No. Like every other club in the world, we expect a 2 week blackout window on either side of your show. Do NOT book other local shows elsewhere within this period. It will affect your draw.


Q: I need to cancel my show! What do I do?

A: Contact your booker immediately at and come up with a plan. Perhaps the other bands on the bill can find a replacement for you. Perhaps you already have a replacement (this is the best route to go). 


Q: I left my drum throne / cymbal bag / bass head / etc there! What do I do!

A: Contact your booker immediately at Chances are the tech has found this item and has put it aside for you to collect while the bar is open (any day after 1pm).  We hold these items for 30 days. The sooner you collect – the better. After 30 days we donate to Community Thrift. 


Q: What about food! Can we bring snacks / BBQ / sell poppy corns?

A: We tried to cover everything here. If you have additional questions feel free to ask.

Can I bring food in that I made at home?

 –Yes but you can not sell it. Give away only.
Can I cook on your grill?

 –No. Only club staff can use our grill. 
Can I bring someone to cook there?

–Yes. They must have a caterers license (if food is sold) or food handlers certificate (if given away) and we have to ok the method of cooking. 
Can I bring prepared food from Costco?

 –Yes, but we are a GREEN SPACE which means all utensils, plates and napkins must be compostable. Anything not must be packed out wth you.
Can I bring taco fixings?

–Yes – as long as they are pre-prepared.
Can I do a chili cook off?

 –Yes, see question above on ‘can someone cook there’.
I would love to utilize some of the great one vendors that sell food at El Rio, would you be able to connect me to one of your  vendors?

 –We are happy to introduce you our food vendors. They have a $400 minimum, meaning that if they do not make that amount from your group, you will owe the remainder to them.
Can I use your cook?

–No – our cook is for in-house events only