The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
August 16, 2022
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Cocktails and live music at the Deluxe, always a pleasure. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

First, the tough news: things are not looking good for ~CLUB DELUXE~, our city’s incredible Deco-style jazz club and bar in the Upper Haight (since 1989). Broke-Ass Stuart was the first to report on issues at the Deluxe, posting a letter from owner Sarah Wilde (her biz partner is Chris Pankow) about the impending closure. SF Standard followed up with a piece that included comments from landlord Veritas Investments about their lease negotiation issues. It doesn’t look good: posts on Club Deluxe’s Facebook page mention “final acts” and that there are just two weeks left. I’d swing by for a fresh-squeezed grapefruit greyhound (I will be raising my glass to you, Alberta Straub, and original owner Jay Johnson) and some jazz while you can. 1511 Haight St. at Ashbury.

While I was enjoying my alfresco dinner at 20 Spot last week, my Mission pals Ian and Alli walked by and let me know they were coming from the newly opened ~EL CHATO~, a Spanish taverna that is the latest charming addition to SF’s lineup of cool wine bars. They’re ready to pour you a three-ounce “chato” of Spanish wine or a porrón into your happy table’s mouths, whatever you’re up for.

The owners are friends Rafa Saenz (a Madrileño) and Erin Rickenbaker, who met while working at Bellota together and wanted to open a low-key and approachable neighborhood wine bar (read more in this post by Mission Local and the original post by WhatNowSF). The menu has gazpacho (such perfect weather for it), tinned fish, charcuterie, tortilla espagñola, and other snackables to go with that affordable bottle of wine you just ordered. They opened in the former Cafe Murano and are excited to see you and turn you on to some tasty wines, sherries, and vermouths—and have you come back the next day for one of their hangover cures. Look for live music, outdoor seating, and more coming soon. Hours are Mon-Sat 4pm-10pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. Happy hour starts next week, Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm. 2301 Bryant St. at 21st St.

I was scrolling through ye olde Instagram and saw there’s a new live jazz bar in the Marina called ~GEELOU~ that opened in the former Reed & Greenough space. According to their ABC license, it’s from Ali Razavi and Sarah Darsie of the 500 Club. There’s live music Mon-Sat, starting at 5pm, plus cocktails and a nice lounge. 3251 Scott St. at Chestnut.

July 19, 2022
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I’ve been tracking some liquor license transfer activity on this address, which reveals a new project coming this fall to the former Bar Fluxus, which just closed on July 3rd (a bunch of folks are going to miss the bar’s eclectic style and programming). Due to open this fall is ~HARLAN RECORDS~, a reference to Harlan Alley, which has a nice parklet set up on the windless alley (especially nice on a warm day).

Partners in the project are Eric Passetti (Trocadero Club, Natoma Cabana, Café Terminus, House of Shields, and the new Pie Punks in SoMa), Will Herrera (High Horse and Old Ship Saloon), and Katya Skye (a bartender and manager at several bars and restaurants in New York and SF, and co-founder of Manhattan Zodiac, which specializes in bar consulting, classes, and events).

The concept for Harlan Records is inspired by Japanese hi-fi listening bars, and vinyl sound will definitely be front and center—they want to celebrate SF’s downtown music scene of the 50s and 60s. I asked if that would mean The Doors and Jimi Hendrix, but they mentioned “we are also excited to play Charlie Parker, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Janis Joplin, Linda Ronstadt, as well as modern music for some occasions.” They will be serving period-specific craft cocktails that were popular in the 50’s and 60’s, as well as low-ABV drinks, alcohol-free options, and seasonal ingredients. Beer and wine will also be well-represented.

The team is working with designer Marissa Jade Marsh (Macondray, and she helped to tune the design of High Horse), who will be creating a 50s-60s feel that will be cozy, comfortable, modern, and inviting. Stay tuned for renovation and opening updates on their IG page: @harlanrecordssf. 447 Bush St. at Kearny.