First Look at Café Claude Marina (Opening in Mid-September)


Banquette seating and fab wallpaper, mirrors, and groovy lighting! Photo: ©


The brass bar, covered in antique mirrors and painted vintage grate. Photo: ©


Vintage lighting from France, with painted mirrors. Photo: ©


The private dining area, which will be enclosed by curtains. Photo: ©

Last week I got a look at the glammy ~CAFÉ CLAUDE MARINA~ that we mentioned was coming awhile back—while the design is very close, we’ll have to wait until mid-September to enjoy a glass of wine and frites there.

The building dates back to the early 1900s, and the design by Elmer Lin (Consortium)—working with owner Franck LeClerc—is one part boudoir and one part bling-bling. While LeClerc’s Gitane is swankity-swank, Café Claude Marina definitely has more of an old-world feel to it, with flocked damask wallpaper in a deep hue of burgundy, dark wood wainscoting, and painted tin ceilings.

For contrast, the vintage lighting sourced in France brings an eclectic-chic vibe to the look, and there are lots of reflective surfaces, like mirrors with frames that have a painted patina. Additional shimmer: there is a brass bar (LeClerc loves the one at Le Central), with a base that is covered in antique mirrors topped with a layer of vintage grating that has been painted a soft red. The bar is also surrounded in penny tile, adding to the vintage vibe. There will be classic bistro-style chairs and simple barstools that will lend a relaxed and approachable sensibility.

A sure-to-be-in-demand table is the private booth in the back, with room for five to seven people (the table will be enclosed in curtains). There will also be outdoor seating (six tables in all), and on nice days, the windowed doors can swing open to let in fresh air and light. While the infamous “triangle” (people get lost in a booze fog over there) is just around the corner, the 49 seats at Café Claude Marina will offer more of a sophisticated escape—I see this place becoming flirtation central, with lots of dates, and ladies who love their wine at the 12-seat bar.

A big difference from the downtown location (besides the more feminine look) is that this Café Claude has a full kitchen. Chef Doug Degeeter will be offering a traditional French bistro menu, but one designed to appeal to the neighborhood—stand by for more on that soon. The wine list by Sarah Knoefler will include both French and California selections—look for about 35 wines with many by-the-glass selections.

Hours will be Tue-Sun 4:30pm-11pm, Sat-Sun brunch and lunch will launch four to six weeks after the opening, with an aperitif hour from 4:30pm-6:30pm. Weekday lunch will come even later. You can’t miss the cheerful building—look for the bright red and wood exterior. 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore, 415-292-3599.