Please help me enjoy concerts in SF.
December 24, 2014 11:18 AM   Subscribe

How can a non-marijuana user avoid marijuana smoke at an indoor venue?

I enjoy live music, but haven't been attending concerts around San Francisco because of the prevalence of people smoking marijuana in otherwise non-smoking establishments. I don't smoke tobacco or marijuana, don't like the smell of marijuana smoke, don't want to smell like a user, and I get headaches from it.

How can I go to shows at the Fillmore and limit my exposure? I don't think wearing a respirator will go over well. I didn't have problems at venues in Philadelphia or DC. I'm tired of getting hotboxed in San Francisco.

(Please don't lecture me on marijuana use. It's your choice to partake in it in your time and space, and I respect that. I'm not a fan when it encroaches on me in a public space, especially one that falls under the state smoking ban.)
posted by msladygrey to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
At the Fillmore (we go a lot!) your best bet is to stand at the back, near the doors, though that won't eliminate all of it. People smoke in the mezzanine, so that won't work, unless you know someone and can get one of the special box seats - but even then, smoke from the floor will waft up.

I've only been to the Masonic once, but don't recall anyone smoking there, so if Sleater-Kinney is your bag, you might get to see them smoke-free there.

Otherwise, I don't have much advice besides "change the kind of music you go see," since the places we go most, with rock/punk shows - Fillmore, Slim's, Great American, the Warfield, - all seem to have varying degrees of weed-smoking.
posted by rtha at 11:41 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't think there's a way to go to a show at the Fillmore and not get at least some weed blowback. OTOH I've never had a problem at either the Warfield or the Fox (in Oakland), and the one show I saw at Public Works was smoke-free.
posted by asterix at 11:53 AM on December 24, 2014


Oh yeah, and since the guy who owns the DNA hates weed at shows as much as you do, it's probably also a good bet.
posted by asterix at 11:56 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thank you for asking this! I thought I was the only one who didn't enjoy being forced-drugged in an effort to enjoy live music! I'm in Louisiana and I have to avoid arena concerts all-together. I mostly go to small venues and I stand right up by the stage, where the true music fans stand.
posted by myselfasme at 11:57 AM on December 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've worn 3M N95 respirators at outdoor concerts where all sorts of smoking was tolerated. They're comfortable, disposable (so I don't bring the smoke smells home), and don't even fog my glasses. I bought my last box for under $20 at a home products big-box.

I have asthma. When people ask me why I'm wearing a respirator, I answer, "So I can breathe." If they ask further, I turn away.
posted by Jesse the K at 11:59 AM on December 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah, pot smoke gives me an insta-migraine! Sad but true. I haven't been out in ages, but as mentioned above, the last show I went to at DNA Lounge was gloriously smoke-free.
posted by wintersweet at 12:01 PM on December 24, 2014


OTOH I've never had a problem at either the Warfield or the Fox (in Oakland)

Ha! The worst "I wasn't planning on getting high OH WELL" I ever experienced was at the Warfield - but I had floor tickets that time, not upstairs seats. I have seen people smoke up there, but it's less. The worst offender is actually the smoke machine used for stage effects.
posted by rtha at 12:11 PM on December 24, 2014


Unfortunately, there is not a ton you can do about this. I believe that it's the Fillmore that usually keeps their door open, which filters some air in. If you stand near the opening at the rear of the floor area, you might get the incoming breeze a bit, which blows smoke the other way.

Great American Music Hall is pretty small, and I've got two bits of advice for that venue. One - if you're in the back toward the middle, you're right near the door. Same idea as the Fillmore. Smoke blows the other way. Two - at sold out shows at GAMH, we sit in the bar area on the second floor. The elevated area in the back is NOT VIP, and you get a good (if more distant than other folks) view from there. Pot smokers don't usually sit all the way back there.

At Slims, the door is in the middle of the floor on one side. Again, standing by the door is your friend. I believe they have a balcony there as well, but it's VIP-only at the shows I've been to.

At the Independent, I've got nothing for you. Maybe get there early and try to secure a spot on the wall, but that's no guarantee.

The last show I went to at Oracle Arena, there was positively NO smoking allowed, at least in the seats. They threw a couple teenagers out for smoking.

The Greek in Berkeley is outside, so you've got that going for you. The grass seats aren't that bad, and anyone in the venue smoking (who's not right next to you) wouldn't be much of an issue up there.

I've only been to a couple shows at the Paramount, and I haven't seen people smoke there.

We tend to have good luck sitting in seats at the Fox, but I don't know if that's because they have a no-smoking policy up there, or if it's just coincidence. And the staff at the Fox are just the absolute best.

I haven't been back to the Masonic since they changed it, so I'm not sure what their policy is now. The one or two shows I've seen there, there was little or no smoking going on.

San Jose Civic definitely allows smoking. No real strategy there. Mondavi Center in Davis does not allow smoking, as far as I can tell. Ace of Spades in Sacramento is a big smoke spot. No real advice for that venue either.

Sorry that's not a solution, but it's at least some strategies!
posted by cnc at 6:06 PM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


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