A look into the spacious bar area. Photo: Michelle Min.
Front entrance area. Photo: Michelle Min.
Brewing equipment and high-top tables. Photo: Michelle Min.
Lounge area in the front. Photo: Michelle Min.
The back dining room. Photo: Michelle Min.
On Saturday evening, I checked out a test dinner at the brand-new ~BARTLETT HALL~ in Union Square, which is open today. The building dates back to 1914, and it was where former Kennedy White House chef René Verdon opened Le Trianon in 1972. It was most recently Santorini (not like anyone you knew went there, well, I hope) and has been massively transformed by Michael Brennan into a dark 140-seat tavern, with some industrial elements that remind me a bit of the Restoration Hardware aesthetic (there are glass globes with lights inside, plus steel columns and many other metal touches).
You’ll find a masculine lounge area with low-slung chairs and a fireplace in the front, and a truly massive bar. Farther back are exposed brewing equipment, a few different dining areas (including high-top tables, booths, and a room with regular tables), and an area that can be made into a private room. There are a number of TVs behind the bar and throughout the space, but it’s not about mindlessly having a bunch of TVs on—it’s more about airing sports events when it’s relevant.
Executive chef Eman Eng, most recently at Maverick, has crafted a menu that is tavern-like but creative, with a touch of California chef food on there too (from roasted bone marrow in one dish to pickled fiddleheads in another). Here are the lunch and dinner menus. Small plates include chicken wings ($12) with fermented pepper sauce and caramelized kimchi, some really delicious miso- and maple-glazed ribs ($12; be sure to swipe them through the cauliflower Vermont curry sauce on the plate), and English pea and smoked ham soup ($10).
There are a variety of flatbreads with a semolina crust ($15-$20), ranging from one with duck confit and caramelized onion, arugula, maitake mushroom, and smoked mozzarella to a carbonara one with bacon—perfect to share. Large plates include a farro risotto with seasonal vegetables ($21) and a fried chicken sandwich ($13). Fans of the infamous butter burger at Maverick will be happy to see it live on here ($16)—it’s almost like a cheesesteak, with cheddar and stout rarebit and crispy onion strings on top. (You can hit the gym tomorrow.)
Brandon Presbury, previously at Locanda and Beretta, is in his first bar manager position here, and is already barrel-aging a Manhattan and Improved Whiskey Cocktail for your drinking pleasure. Look for some other tasty concoctions, like the 49er Gold Rush, with bonded bourbon, lemon, honey syrup, and Fernet Branca.
There are a number of local beers on tap (including Humboldt Brewing and Lagunitas) and some from farther away too. House-brewed beers will be coming soon (they will probably start with two beers); Chris Wike will curate the beer program. There’s a good array of California wines that hover around $10-$12 by the glass. Mike Pierce (Maverick) has been helping with the opening, so I expect he has had a hand in the list.
Hours are daily 11am-2am, with lunch from 11am-2:30pm, happy hour from 2:30pm-5:30pm, dinner from 5:30pm-10pm, bar menu (including snacks, pizza, and burger) from 10pm-1am, and snacks only from 1am-2am. 242 O’Farrell St. at Powell, 415-433-4332.