The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
August 23, 2016

The Speakeasy, with Jessica Waldman and Rick Roiting as the bartender. Photo by Peter Liu.


The Speakeasy, with Freddie Larson as Vinnie. Photo by Peter Liu.


A look at the redesigned Marianne’s, with its new royal purple walls. Photo: Seema Hamid.

Did you ever have a chance to experience ~THE SPEAKEASY~, a combination performance (in the spirit of New York’s Sleep No More) and cocktail bar that was styled like a Prohibition-era nightclub? Well, the Boxcar Theatre team has moved from their Tenderloin location (the building they were in has been sold) and just finished a very successful crowdfunding campaign for their new location on Broadway in North Beach. It’s moving into the former Gold Mountain building (where China Live will be), in the theater that was in the basement (but has been empty for 12 years). The new theater is three times the size of the previous Speakeasy location, with a two-story circular cabaret, secret passageways, disguised entrances, and more. So hush-hush!

Pssst, tickets are on sale now through October 30th: previews will run Friday and Saturday nights and select Thursdays. Beginning in October, performances will take place Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30pm and alternate Sundays at 5pm. Tickets are $85-$130. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit here. 644 Broadway at Stockton.

Some changes at the (formerly private) club ~MARIANNE’S~ that is tucked behind The Cavalier: the Big Night Restaurant Group crew decided to open it up to the public and just finished a redesign (complete with royal purple walls and built-in leather and zebra banquettes), with new vintage glassware to go with the new cocktail menu too. Guests can order off Jennifer Puccio’s new small plates menu until 9:30pm, which includes crispy stuffed squash blossoms, oysters, and more.

Both walk-ins and reservations are accepted, and previous members still get to enjoy preferential reservations (plus some fun members-only events too). Open Tue-Wed 5:30pm-12am and Thu-Sat 5:30pm-1:30am. Reservations can be made for parties of 2-8 guests. 360 Jessie St. at 5th St.

Rumrunners will want to, er, run to the second annual California Rum Festival this Friday August 26th and Saturday the 27th at SOMArts Cultural Center. You’ll find events, seminars, and tasting rooms featuring “ruminaries” from around the world. 934 Brannan St. at 8th St.

August 16, 2016

The airy interior of Bodega, photo taken at an opening party. Yelp photo by Timothy B.

Now open in North Beach is the welcoming ~BODEGA~, serving Fort Point Beer (on draft and in cans), South American wines, an apple cider, and coffee from Linea, plus an array of small plates. Owner Paria Sedigh took over the long-standing (over 15 years) Melt! space and gave it quite the airy and clean makeover. She comes from an entrepreneurial family and has experience with catering and other food businesses. With her chef, Lalo, they are offering a seasonal menu driven by the farmers’ market, plus dishes like toast with ricotta and saffron honey, avocado toast with the option of a poached egg, ceviche (currently with rockfish), and a Bodega bowl with brown rice or quinoa and vegetables, plus the option of adding an egg, avocado, and salmon.

Hours are Tue-Sun 10am-10pm for now. 700 Columbus Ave. at Filbert, 415-634-7002.


The Stud bar exterior. May those lights stay on for another 50 years. Photo by David White via The Stud’s Facebook page.


The newly formed Stud Collective. Mwah! Photo via Save Our Stud Facebook page.

In case you missed the incredible news, ~THE STUD~ has been saved from closing by a co-op of drag queens, DJs, performers, LGBT business leaders, and more, who have secured funding to purchase the bar. (I mean, come on, who else would put on a cape and save The Stud?)

Bar owner Michael McElhaney will be selling the Stud (after 25 years!) to The Stud Collective, a group of 15 members. Here’s more: “While most members of The Stud Collective are known for their work in nightlife and the performing arts, secondary business skills were a requirement to join the co-op. Members include leaders in bar and restaurant management, public relations, accounting, historic preservation, arts funding, and land development.” Here’s hoping the new building owner will give the co-op a market-value lease so they can keep the lights on at this historic, precious, and essential LGBT nightlife space for another 50 years. Read more about the co-op, its members, and more in this Facebook press release/post and article in the Bay Area Reporter. Be sure to join the Save Our Stud Facebook group to keep up with all the latest. Now head on down there and buy a round of drinks! 399 9th St. at Harrison.

In other news, a tablehopper reader let us know the ~EL AMIGO~ bar (3355 Mission St.) in Bernal has closed, in addition to the sister restaurant, Chicano Nuevo, in the original Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack location (18 Virginia Ave.). It looks like the owner of the building has sold it, so we’ll have to wait and see what’s going into these spaces next.

There are some changes to report at the old-school ~FLY BAR~ locations around the city. Both locations have been sold to separate parties, and the new owners of the Divisadero location have decided to keep the name and original staff, although they will be closing for an upgrade at the end of August. The kitchen will be getting an overhaul and some other enhancements and should reopen after a few days. 762 Divisadero St. at Fulton, 415-931-4359.

As for the Fly Bar on Sutter, it was sold a couple of weeks ago, and the new operators, Mark and Terry Miller, should be taking it over and closing it in three months or so (probably the beginning of November). They will close the space for a couple of months for construction (I hear they will be removing the horseshoe bar) and will reopen as ~MILLER’S~, keeping it a neighborhood bar and restaurant. I’ll keep you posted as I hear more on this. For now, you can still swing by and hang out with the Fly staff for some final-finals! 1085 Sutter St. at Larkin, 415-441-4232.

August 9, 2016

The bar area at the new Scopo Divino. Photo courtesy of Scopo Divino.

There’s a new wine bar that opened in Lower Pacific Heights called ~SCOPO DIVINO~ (in the former Food Inc. space). The international wine list has more than 1,000 bottles, with a focus on Burgundy, and a range of selections from the approachable to the obscure. They are using the Coravin system to pour tastes; there are also wine flights and beers too. First-time owner Tim Hayman brought on Erik Reese (Mayes and Catch) to consult, and there’s a rather extensive and sophisticated food menu, with daily oysters, bruschette, small plates, and of course cheese and charcuterie. The chef is Mark Cina (formerly Monsieur Benjamin and Benu).

It has a cozy residential style, with an alder wood bar, tapestried lounge chairs and sofas, and artichoke print wallpaper by William Morris & Co. Regulars and neighbors will want to check out their Club Divino membership program: for $15 each month, members get 20 percent off all wines ordered on-site and 24 percent off all takeaway. One thing to note, since you’ll be drinking and may not notice: “10 percent will be added to all checks for San Francisco City ordinances and to provide a living wage to all employees.” Open Wed-Sun 3pm-late (kitchen is open until 10pm). 2800 California St. at Divisadero, 415-928-3728.


A sampling of dishes at Buffalo Theory. Yelp photo by Cherylynn N.


The bar (and screens!) at BuzzWorks. Photo courtesy of BuzzWorks.

Beer lovers continue to find plenty of places to indulge in this city, starting with the newly opened ~BUFFALO THEORY~ on Polk Street. Chef Tim Luym (Poleng Lounge, Attic) partnered with Ted Kim (Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in Mountain View) on this neighborhood restaurant with quality craft beers (30 on tap)—the staff is highly trained on the beers, so geek out to your heart’s content. Luym put together a menu of affordable and bold bar bites that take inspiration from drinking food from around the world, like Filipino adobo chicken wings and a Japanese chicken katsu sandwich. There are 116 seats, with a bar, communal tables, and a private room. Open Sun-Wed 4pm-11pm and Thu-Sat 4pm-12am. 1735 Polk St. at Washington, 415- 829-8226.

A while back we mentioned the sports bar ~BUZZWORKS~ that was opening in SoMa, and it’s now open. The deets: 30 screens, 40 beers on tap, more than 100 bottles and cans of beer and cider, wine, snacks, pinball, foosball, and video arcades too. You can come by and watch the Olympics, MLB, and the NFL (soon). Open Sun 12pm-12am, Mon-Tue 1pm-10pm, Wed-Sat 1pm-12am. 365 11th St. at Harrison, 415-558-1533.

I was driving down 14th Street last week and noticed a sign for ~STANDARD DEVIANT BREWING~, which Hoodline shares is a new project from friends Mark DeVito, Paul Duatschek, and Dave Azzam. You can come by the brewery and try their kolsch, extra pale ale, porter, and Belgian blonde on tap (more coming soon), with food from Sneaky’s BBQ and other rotating trucks. The former auto body shop will continue to get tricked out, but for now, there is a redwood bar, picnic tables, and pinball machines. Hours are Fri 4pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm, and Sun 12pm-9pm. Follow ‘em on Facebook for updates. 280 14th St. at Mission, 415-509-4230.