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Yerba Buena at Verdi
ages: 21+

4.12 / 5 stars out of 28 reviews
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Overview:

El Valenciano Latin Wednesdays is a weekly salsa social hosted by the Mambo Romero Dance Company in San Francisco, featuring salsa lessons On2 and dancing until 2 in the morning.

Details:

Event: Lessons,Social Dancing Salsa Moda Shirts
Date: Every Wednesday
Time: 9pm Lesson, Dancing until 2 AM
Cost: $12
Instructors: Gabriel Romero, Victoria Ruskovoloshina
Address: El Valenciano Restaurant & Bar
1153 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Get Directions via Google MapsGoogle Map
Contact: (415) 826-9561
gabriel@mamboromero.com
www.mamboromero.com
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Important: Event times are subject to change. Always double check with the event organizer before making plans.

Our Review:

says:
Rating:  
El Valenciano (aka El V) is one of the best places to go dancing if you're a serious dancer. Hosted by Gabriel Romero and his Mambo Romero Dance Company, the event attracts the best salsa dancers in the Bay Area to the El Valenciano Restaurant & Bar in San Francisco every Wednesday.

The dance floor is relatively small, but most of the dancers that attend the event are pretty skilled, so bumping into people is rarely a problem. There are very few regular events that you can attend that has such good dancing, especially if you dance On2, and the music by DJ Hong is great to dance to. If I didn't live all the way in San Jose, I'd attend every week.

says:
Rating:  
El V is a true dancer's social and short of hopping on a plane to New York it's about as close as you can get to a real mambo club here in the Bay. The music is strictly mambo and salsa dura, while the low lighting and relaxed bar lend this venue a very underground vibe.

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User Reviews:


Jan 1, 2014 at 7:02 pm

20 people found this review helpful
Rating

There’s plenty of good and bad to say about this place, and the people who attend it regularly. If you’re the complaining type, there is no shortage of trash to talk. On the other hand, El V does have its virtues. There used to be much better venues for salsa in the Bay Area, but most have closed, or will be closed in the near future. Leaves El V as last soldier standing…

The infrastructure:
By SF standards, a medium size salsa club; by LA standards, extremely small. By anyone’s standards, the floor is filthy to the point of being nearly a health hazard; I severely doubt the dance floor has been washed/mopped in ages. I dance here regularly, and don’t recall the last time the floor was cleaned – maybe since it was repaired a couple years ago. Very sticky, especially when the dancers get sweaty; makes it difficult to spin or be spun. PLEASE INSTRUCT THE JANITORIAL STAFF TO CLEAN THE FLOOR – AT LEAST MONTHLY, FOR GOD’S SAKE!!! I don’t even understand why I have to ask.

The employed human element:
Except for the aforementioned janitorial failure, whether employed by the bar itself, or part of the social dance, including the DJ’s, all these people are generally friendly – I’ve never had any issue with any of them. Ricardo (the main bartender) is alert (usually), friendly, honest, and makes a good drink. Gabriel Romero and his team are friendly to the paying customers. Nice job guys!!

The music:
Good variety, especially since the DJ’s take some amount of pride in trying to play songs that are more obscure, and old-school salsa. Definitely focused toward the On2 dancer, but works fine with On1 as well. Cuban-style dancers will hate it though, that’s just how they roll (go to Lil Baobab down the street, you’ll like it better there). DJ’s throw in some bachata, and cha cha to keep it fresh; mercifully, I’ve almost never heard a Kizomba, or Merengue, or Reggaeton. Personally, this pleases me, but it obviously won’t please everyone.

And lastly, the dancers and the dancing:
It is true that El V consistently attracts some of the best salseros in the Bay Area (and the world). It is also true that most of these people have been dancing with each other for some years, and thus on average, have a higher salsa skill level than just about anywhere else in the Bay Area (and perhaps beyond). It is further true that many of these people seem to prefer to dance On2, and are extremely and overly impressed with themselves and their little clique-ish friends they’ve accumulated by dancing On2.

It is again true that the majority of these so-called On2 dancers don’t dance nearly as well as they have convinced themselves; if you observe them closely, many are actually On3, or On1, or On-nothing-at-all with any consistency (especially the leaders), because they don’t have sufficient sense of musical timing to be able to count to 2. Despite this glaring deficiency, there is an astonishing level of arrogance that is generally seen only at the high school level, among that “cool” group – if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

In short, 80% of these regular El V salseros only dance amongst themselves, and have no intention of mingling with outsiders, except perhaps if the outsider is clearly an advanced dancer. If you’re a new girl/follower in the crowd, you will only get asked to dance a few times during an average evening (unless you’re particularly attractive, then you’ll be swarmed regardless of your dance skill); if you’re a new guy/leader (especially if your dance skills are average or below), most likely you will only dance by yourself, or not at all, at least until you improve your dance skills substantially, which could be more than a year. If you don’t subscribe to the “guy/leader – girl/follower” model, that’s no problem in this crowd, assuming your dance skills are up to snuff. Otherwise, it’s heavy on the social rejection, with minimal politeness or concern for people’s inner feelings. That’s just life in the salsa dance proving grounds / battlefield – if you can’t handle it, don’t bother showing up.

If you want to enjoy your experience at El V, you either need to be an advanced dancer before you arrive, or willing and dedicated to put in the time and practice, and put up with the over-inflated egos, until you blend into the scene. It ain’t easy, but it can be done. And since there’s really no other club with better dancers in town, that’s your only choice for the time being. Good luck with it.

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Mar 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

12 people found this review helpful

Thanks all for the love and feedback. Just wanted to note a few things:

1) The floor obviously has been redone since the earliest reviews were written. There is a large danceable area and all the known bad panels have been repaired.

2) We’ve fixed the AC! The air conditioning was broken for a few months, but we just got it repaired in time for last Wednesday (3/7). In conjunction with 2 fans, it was the coolest that it’s been in a long time.

3) Due to multiple requests to make it brighter, well… it’s brighter! Definitely a lot easier to see your partner now.

4) We are now open till 1:30 AM – there are always hardcore dancers sticking it out till the end.

5) We try our best to be beginner/non On 2 friendly – there is a beginning level On 2 class at 9, and we keep it nice and mellow for the first part of the party. PLEASE don’t be shy about asking people to dance, whether you’re a guy or girl! One of the best things about having a dancer-oriented social is that everyone is there to DANCE and not to drink and pick up people (for the most part ;-) )

6) For those who do like to drink and dance, we have a $5 drink special every week – save money and get your buzz on! :)

Looking forward to seeing you all on the floor!
DJ Hong

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Aug 31, 2011 at 2:52 pm

9 people found this review helpful
Rating

Quickly overtook GlasKat as the #1 on2 social in the Bay. This is as close to NY as it gets although people from NY will know that the dancing is not anywhere near NY’s. Still a lot of fun especially later in the night when the beginning dancers leave and you don’t have to worry about people bumping into you. Once a very tight dance floor, the floor was recently expanded and renovated. The only complaint is that there is a noticeable gap between what used to be the new floor and what is now the expanded floor and you cannot dance on it without it causing some kind of disturbance to your dancing. Otherwise, it’s a fun place, with overall good quality dancers, although some I think may be better than they think they are and so some people complain that the crowd is somewhat clique-y and dancers from one dance group won”t dance with dancers from another dance group. I kind of see that but I have fun anyway. Also, sometimes way too much jazzy salsa is played and not enough gritty NY stuff. Followers have noted that the lighting may be a little too on the dark side so sometimes it’s hard to see the lead, especially with fast more advanced dancers and when it’s crowded. Still, best social nowadays.

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Feb 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm

9 people found this review helpful
Rating

Love love LOVE El V on Wednesdays! :-) The dancing is so good that I find myself preferring to sit and watch other people dance! The level of dancing is THAT good! But don’t be intimidated by the high level of dancing, Gabriel and Victoria teach a very basic class that will get you dancing in no time. It’s actually my favorite class… and experienced dancers enjoy taking the class as well. If you feel it is too clique then just break the ice and ask someone to dance! You’d be surprised how kind everyone is there and encouraging they are to beginner dancers. This truly is the best social with the best music and best dancing in SF! :-D Oh and they fixed the floor so disregard the above posts. :-)

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Aug 23, 2012 at 7:24 am

5 people found this review helpful
Rating

I gotta say, El V is really the best weekly social in the Bay right now. It consistently attracts the best of Bay Area dancers, features almost exclusively great mambo music (with a few bachatas and cha cha cha’s here and there :)) and has a pretty cozy atmosphere.
It’s a great place to dance AND socialize. I don’t usually drink, but from what I’ve tried they make pretty good cocktails too.
I try to make it out here every week for my salsa fix. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!

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Jul 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm

4 people found this review helpful
Rating

One of the best socials in the bay and the best social on Wednesday night. Good environment, chill place. Has potential for the crowd to be packed or more loose, but great either way – plus its got the hottest bouncer in the bay.

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Aug 30, 2012 at 8:17 am

3 people found this review helpful
Rating

First and foremost, El Valenciano is home to the very best dancers in the city. Being an advanced dancer’s paradise, they come here to show off their skills, regardless of On1 or On2 dance style. It is the “advanced level” of dancing that intimidates newcomers, not the On2 style. The dance class is well done, as the instructors make a good effort to teach the basics and some technique. However, once the regular dancing begins, a newcomer will feel like he’s taken a leap from pre-Algebra to Calculus. On2 is preferred by most advanced dancers because of its ease of movement and El Valenciano is 90% On2 dancing. If you happen to be in the learning stages you will find “El V” intimidating and difficult to stomach. This place is fantastic for followers who want to step up their game “quickly”. However, it’s not kind to Leaders that can’t provide “a good game”. The music is great and the dance floor is spacious, but bring a partner if you’re not the Advanced Type … otherwise you’ll be sitting all night.

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Oct 3, 2013 at 1:28 pm

3 people found this review helpful
Rating

El V was supposed to be a summer social for 2010 and many people told us that the On 2 community was too small in the Bay Area to sustain a weekly event. 3 Years later we are still here and going stronger than ever. The level of dancing has risen dramatically in the Bay Area over the past few years, and it is a pleasure to see dancers come out and do their thing week in and week out. I understand that there will always be those who get intimidated or feel left out because the regular dancers tend to know each other and appear to only dance amongst themselves- however, new dancers should always make an effort mingle and work their way to the dance floor. We love having new dancers at our social, and I make it a point to always encourage the regulars to dance with everyone. We understand that we will never make everyone happy, but if you are serious about your dancing and you want to dance and listen to some of the best Salsa music anywhere, then El V is the place for you…

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Jul 14, 2013 at 11:30 am

3 people found this review helpful
Rating

Love this place! Only wish it were bigger, started earlier (doesn’t anyone else have to wake up at the crack of dawn on Thursdays? how do you do it?), was cooler (from all the dancing going on), and that the same thing could happen on weekends. Great dancers, the best music of any club, and Gabriel Romero does a wonderful job instructing. Hands down my favorite place.

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Sep 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm

3 people found this review helpful
Rating

By far the best social (along with “Beat”) in SF BAY Area. This is a “weekly On2 heaven in San Francisco”. They finally fixed air conditioning and changed the floor this summer(2012).
Floor is still not perfect, but it was never a serious issue.

My only complain (and it is very subjective and biased, of course) is the music. While I absolutely love DJ Hong, the second DJ tends to play monotonous and uninspiring music. I find myself standing around, talking and having a drink, but not dancing the entire time while he spins (but this could be just me)

Overall – this a great place to be and dance. This social is guarantee not to disappoint – I give it 5 stars, and it is well deserved.

PS.
I feel like with closure of Cocomo, SF desperately needs another good weekly social over the weekend similar in style to El V. Unfortunately this is just a wish at the moment.

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Feb 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm

3 people found this review helpful
Rating

Mambo Romero Social, AKA El V. Is the best weekly salsa social to go dance with San Francisco Bay Area’s on 2 best dancers. Also, is the only place in SF Bay Area where real spinning (Salsa on Vinyls) takes place by Dj-360. I highly recommend it. 5 Starts!

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Apr 12, 2012 at 9:27 am

3 people found this review helpful
Rating

Snobby, unfriendly dancers. Avoid going here at all costs.

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Jul 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

3 people found this review helpful
Rating

Premiere on2 social in the bay right now.

Majority of dancers are experienced on2 dancers.
Cosy space – not too empty or too crowded. Just right.
Dancer-friendly music – great tunes, short songs. There’s a rotation of DJ’s including DJ Hong, DJ 360 and others, so the music is always fresh.
Friendly, laid-back atmosphere.

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Jul 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm

3 people found this review helpful
Rating

This event has slowly become the “go to” event for on2/mambo dancers. A great mix of advanced and intermediate dancers and a very low-key atmosphere. DJ Hong is one of my fave Bay-Area DJ these days and he’s a fixture there.

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Jul 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm

3 people found this review helpful
Rating

FIVE STARS!!! I love it here. Everyone knows how to dance.. most on2 which is hard to find.. there is always a good amount of people. I go there every wednesday and I love it.. you can dress up or you can dress down. I sometimes come right after my dance practice wearing tights and a t-shirt and I never had any problem getting in or feel embarrassed.. Everyone is really friendly. Everyone seems to know everyone..

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Jul 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm

2 people found this review helpful
Rating

Favorite weekday hangout. Dj Hong kills it on a regular basis.

I had to knock off a half-star because the floor is now coming apart at the seams in one area (very unpleasant!), and it gets so friggin’ hot.

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Jan 12, 2012 at 3:29 pm

2 people found this review helpful
Rating

El Valenciano has a full bar, separated from a lounge area and dance floor, but feels like a dancing place rather than a club/bar venue. The wooden dance floor is fairly small and there is a rectangular crack in the floor around the center, so stay to the middle or edges of the floor. Has poor ventilation and limited street parking but lots of great dancers, especially advanced on-2 dancers. El V clears out around midnight and quickly after. No coat/bag check but room on tables and chairs around the floor. It is a colorful little place and definitely worth the entrance fee for a fun evening with skilled dancers, a variety of jazzy salsa and a little bachata and cha cha cha.

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Oct 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm

2 people found this review helpful
Rating

El V is the closest thing to a NY salsa spot. I always have fun when I go and in comparison to all other SF on2 salsa places, it is the only place in SF that you can go without having to cross your fingers. While other places are usually overpriced for what they offer(Hit or miss parties) With El V you always know you will have a good time.

I do agree with those who say that the DJ plays more Latin Jazz than Mambo, I wish that wasn’t the case, because more mambo would definitely take the party to another level. I understand that the DJ wants to experiment with new tracks that no one has heard before, but is hard to grasp how can one leave a real mambo party without hearing Lavoe, Canales, Ismael Rivera, Willie Rosario, Lebron Brothers, etc not being played even once.

I also agree that many dancers are snob and only like dancing with people from their own school, or people that they know. If you are new to the place you will most likely get rejected left and right, but you can’t get discouraged by this, keep asking until you find people who truly enjoy dancing with you, after that happens you don’t have to worry about the ‘stars’.

Even though the party has some little bad things, in comparison to all other SF salsa places, this is by far the best in the bay area, once you overcome the strangeness of being new in El Valenciano, you will truly appreciate how enjoyable the place is, it is just a matter of giving it a chance and going multiple times to form your judgement.

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Jul 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm

2 people found this review helpful
Rating

Best weekly social in the Bay! Great for on 2 dancers. This is one not to miss.

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Jul 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm

2 people found this review helpful
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The best weekly socials and place to dance on2! Wish I could go every Wednesday!! <3

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Aug 6, 2014 at 11:23 am

1 person found this review helpful
Rating

Still hands down the BEST weekly social in the Bay Area! El V always has the best DJs, the best music and by far the best dancers! I get frustrated when people complain about how “snobby” the dancers are at El V. It is a medium sized event that attracts loads of regulars in an already small salsa community. The people that go to El V are there to dance, not hit on strangers. It is human nature to gravitate towards the people you already know you have a good dance connection with. If you are visiting and new to the scene just put yourself out there and I guarantee to people will respond positively. El V is the one place I consistently have an amazing time. The floors used to be a disaster but as of lately have been great. I am guessing it has more to do with the AC and more ventilation.

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Apr 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm

1 person found this review helpful
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Most of the reviews seems pretty old but I would agree with the most recent one from Dolly. There is plenty of things to complain about but also plenty to be happy with!
El Valenciano (aka EL V) is the regular Wednesday spot for dancers in SF, period.
Yes the dancers are the “Bay Area type”, meaning (for me at least): lots of men, girls are slightly too serious, people don’t smile a lot. They are not mean but not extra friendly either with people they don’t know.
The level of dancing varies from beginner to (lower) advanced.

BUT:
– The orrganizers are very friendly and open
– DJ Hong plays high quality music (if you are not a Cuban salsa dancer of course!)
– Caters to the on2 crowd but dancers on1 show up as well
– Dancers open up after some time, they are not as snobbish and arrogant as they might seem. It’s more of a stereotype that people apply to on2 dancers. If you think people are snobs then I am sure you will find 4-5 examples to confirm your ideas. But you might miss a lot of friendly ones!

Overall it is one of the parties not to miss if you want to dance in SF on Wednesdays. Go check it out and see it for yourself.

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Jul 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm

1 person found this review helpful
Rating

This place is extremely on1 and non-local unfriendly.
(And yes, I can tell, since I’ve been dancing in a lot places, including NYC. Also in various other cities in the US, Puerto Rico, China, Thailand, Germany, Austria, UK, France, Spain, and Switzerland.)

That being said, the music is excellent and the floor ok, as long as you bring some powder. So, if you’re an above-average on2 dancer and willing to put up with some rather large egos, you’ll be having a good time.

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Nov 21, 2013 at 8:29 pm

1 person found this review helpful
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What a fabulous night at El V’s Wednesday social.

I was visiting for just one night from Australia. I came with a couple of non dance friends and arrived around 10:30, so missed the lesson. My friends were happy in the atmosphere even though they weren’t dancing.

The floor was average (2 different surfaces and a wee bit sticky in places) but worked OK. Generally everyone was pretty friendly. I didn’t know anyone in the local scene apart from Gabriel who I had taken my first On2 class with back in 2009. I felt comfortable asking people i didn’t know to dance and the one time I asked a lead who was already ‘booked’ he came and found me later for a dance…NICE!

The music was really, really good. Primarily salsa, definitely more mambo, salsa dura and latin jazz (yessss) with some bachata and cha (yes, yes, yes).

Pretty much everyone was dancing On2, although most guys always asked if I would prefer On1 or 2 and whichever was chosen was really nicely lead.

Not too crowded…I’d say ‘just right’ crowd definitely thins out after midnight…with the die hards staying on till close.

If you are visiting the Bay Area and are an On2 lover this is definitely a good choice for a social dance fix.

Loved, loved, loved it! One of the highlights of my vacation.

Thanks!!!

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Jul 18, 2011 at 9:46 am

1 person found this review helpful
Rating

Somehow quickly became a great salsa social for mostly on2 dancers. I docked a star since the floor is questionable and it’s always far for me to get to, as well as the fact that it ends early. 1 is a bit early. otherwise, it’s a safe bet to come here.

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Aug 28, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Rating

I second the review submitted by AL on April 17, 2014

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Apr 17, 2014 at 1:34 am

Rating

This is a very interesting, even weird place. The music is (not very conventional but good quality) salsa. The people seem to be enjoying themselves thoroughly when dancing, BUT, what they are doing has very little to do with salsa dancing. For some reason, someone apparently taught them that wiggling their behinds while spinnning uncontrollably with a huge smile on their face counts as salsa dancing. Interesting to note that of all 8 people i talked to not one was Spanish speaking – I assume that people from Latin America simply feel uncomfortable in this environment. Strange place.

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