Located in San Francisco’s industrial Dogpatch neighborhood, the Midway SF is a multifaceted creative complex where trailblazers in the world of art, food and music collide.
With 40,000 square feet of usable space that can be arranged to accommodate nearly any need, the Midway is something to both admire and inspire.
This is the spot to book for immersive experiences, interactive events or hybrid corporate conferences, as creative solutions to challenging problems are what they do best.
Read on to find out more about why this art, music, and food playground dedicated to supporting and incubating the city’s most innovative creatives is our top choice for where to host your next Bay Area Event.
This week’s spotlight: Chris of The Midway
1)The Midway bills itself as a “canvas of innovation”—tell us more about that.
Sure, the Midway has a vision. In a nutshell, we’re a bunch of creative types who wanted to mix all the talent of San Francisco under one roof with music, art and culinary elements. We said, let’s mix all these creative industries together to see what happens. The idea is to let the juices flow and inspire people in a collaborative environment.
2) Give us the details and breakdown of the space. What events is it ideal for?
We’re a 40,000 square foot facility with multiple rooms that can accommodate up to 2,000 people standing. We can expand out into streets for something larger since we are in an industrial area and can help arrange street permits. Our main room can fit up to 750 people seated for a large conference or keynote presentation. We also have three other rooms that can be used for breakout sessions and smaller events. There’s a lot of different ways the space can be activated or cut up and put back together.
3) Where do music, art and culinary all live?
In addition to a couple of art galleries, we have six art studios that we subsidize as part of a residency program. Artists are given a 10X10 studio space to create art in exchange for participating in a group show and some art workshops. The idea is to incubate young and upcoming artists, and we’re currently gearing up to invite the next round.
On the food front, we have an internal culinary team headed up by Luis Lagos, who has done everything from an intimate whisky pairing dinner to a 2,000 person holiday party with 15 food stations. While we can do almost anything in-house, we also like to look for partnerships to bring in other food. We’ve done pop-ups with Bahia Social Party, La Morena, La Cocina, Eat Drink SF, Off the Grid—you name it. It’s quite a resume. We want to create this place where people can come and be inspired by the food as much as the art.
Lastly, there’s the music. We have our roots in nightclubs, so we’re on the map for electronic music. But we’re expanding, and we’ve explored a number of other genres, including a recent reggae festival, Hip Hop, and smaller bands on the brink of blowing up.
4) How’s the space for hosting corporate events?
We’re a pretty big space and we are really well set up to host corporate events. And it’s these amazing corporate events that help create a space to support the smaller folks.
Essentially, we’re trying to create a formula that allows for private interests and money to support the arts in San Francisco. San Francisco used to be an incubator for artists and we want to ensure that this still exists.
5) How did the venue fare throughout Covid?
Covid was tough. After 3 years of construction and hosting temporary events, we opened and really started gaining momentum in 2019. Just as we were getting out into the public eye we ran into headwinds of covid in 2020. Summer of 2020 we pivoted to outdoor dining with music, and that worked out really well for us as far as we could get folks back to work. We basically gave each party attending a defined 6’ square of safe space, masks and lined speakers on the streets with big screens and DJ’s far enough to feel safe.
Now we are back hosting music concerts and smaller dinners while we anxiously await for corporate parties to return. Because of the Covid experience we have a great track record for safety. When folks are ready to come back and they want some type of corporate conference or party, we’re ready for them. A lot of folks are interested in hybrid events (half virtual, half in person), and we’re poised for that too.
6) What’s the most memorable event that has been hosted in your venues?
One of the first things that comes to mind is when we hosted a division of Google for a 2-day conference with more than 500 people. There were multiple breakout rooms and a keynote speaker. At the end of the second day, the event spilled out onto our patio and we featured Off the Grid pop-up cubes with everything from pizza to Bibimbap. It was such a cool mix of business and fun.
Another that comes to mind was a Willy Wonka-themed holiday party that used our immersive sound room for a 25-minute ride that took you down the chocolate float ride. Each room was themed with candy from the movie. It was a ton fun.
If there’s a vision to transport people somewhere else, we’re really set up to help bring those visions to life. And we love helping pull those things off.
7) What are you expecting in terms of events as we head into 2022?
I don’t know if we’ll get back to the old normal. There’s a new normal, and we’re looking forward to that. We’re creative folks. We look at problems simply as challenges that need a solution.
I, for one, am looking forward to getting our art program up and running and looking at art on the walls.
The question is, how can we accommodate and support corporate clients in this new world? Anyone would agree there are benefits to meeting face-to-face for networking. Nothing replaces looking someone in the eye to land a deal. So we’re working on how we can create these hybrid events that are exciting and feel accessible to everyone.
We’ve had a lot of success taking things outside and expanding the venue, and we’re just excited to do bigger and bolder things. We’re ready to forge a new path forward with our community, because at the end of the day, a rising tide floats all boats.
Want to book a party? You can inquire about events at the Midway SF here.