SOMA, or South of Market, is S.F.'s answer to New York City's SOHO, though increasingly the bridge-and-tunnel crowd has overshadowed the artists.

Nonetheless, the area remains packed with cool galleries of all shapes and sizes as well as S.F. MOMA (151 Third St.) and the Yerba Buena Arts Center (701 Mission). The heart of this revitalized warehouse district is 11th and Folsom, where clubs like the Paradise Lounge (11th & Folsom St.), the bluesy Slim's (333 11th St.,) and the DNA Lounge (375 11th St.) pack 'em in like sardines in their Saturday best.

Art galleries masquerading as bar-lounges, and vice-versa, abound in SOMA. The classic Minna Gallery (111 Minna) is a uber-hip house club studded with emerging art and the new Mezzanine (440 Jessie) does much the same, except plays more that just house, along with local acts.

The best bets for dinner are found away from the hub. Break out the plastic and try Lulu (816 Folsom), President Clinton's SOMA spot of choice; as good as its buzz suggests and worth the high-but-not-offensive tab. At the extreme other end of the spectrum, Tulan (8-6th St.) is a dirt cheap, Vietnamese greasefest that's worth every minute it takes off your life. If you're looking to keep your arteries somewhat less clogged, go with tiny Nori Sushi (1815 Market St.). While it's often hard to tell the difference from one of the many sushi spots to the next, Nori's great food tastes even better because of cheap prices, friendly staff, cozy atmosphere and James Brown-playing stereo. Nori knows that if you want to stand out in S.F., it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it.

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