March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012
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Due to open in late May is ~WINE & WALL~, a new retail wine and art space in One Market Plaza. I had a chance to catch up with Michael Dellar (co-founder, president, and CEO of the Lark Creek Restaurant Group), who told me the 1,700-square-foot boutique will have a collection of well-curated, wine-themed artwork (sculpture, photography, and painting) assembled by art consultant Suzy Locke, along with a selection of excellent wines that will also have artistic labels. Visitors will be able to come by for tastes or a glass after work; eight wines will be served from a Napa Technology wine dispenser, along with other wines available to taste or purchase (there will be some cheeses as well).

The space will also function as a private venue in the evening with room for 100, and food provided by One Market. The look will be more stylish than your typical wine bar, with tall tables and lounge seating for 30 (another 20 guests or so will be able to spill over into the atrium and onto the Steuart Street patio). The design is by Mark Stephens and Inga Zunte of Architecture & Light (LarkCreekSteak, Fish Story, etc.). Opening hours will be Mon-Fri 10am-6pm or so, plus evening events. One Market Plaza (on Steuart St. between Market and Mission).

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Interior photo from Ottimista Enoteca-Café.

Some changes over at ~OTTIMISTA ENOTECA-CAFÉ~ in Cow Hollow: after six-plus years, owner Melissa Gisler Modanlou has sold her interest in Ottimista, and new owners will be taking over and running it as is, starting in June. (Ottimista is NOT closing.)

The main owner is Sam Landrum, who is an investor in BrickYard, Cedar Hill, and a few other neighborhood spots. He used to live right around the corner from Ottimista, was always there and loved the concept, and is excited to get involved. Other than a little refresh and a few menu tweaks, he’s not planning any major changes.

Melissa is sad to say goodbye, but as a new mother, she was finding it very difficult to keep up with the demands of running a restaurant and still being present for her bambino. She is staying in town, and will continue to be involved with wine (Melissa just completed her WSET Level 3 Advanced certificate). Best wishes, Melissa!

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The barrel-aged Negroni at Zero Zero. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

A few events (and some good news) to inspire your imbibing this week, starting with this Slow Sip happy hour with Slow Food SF on Wednesday March 21st at the ~ORBIT ROOM~. Cocktails will be $9 and pizzas for $13; $5 donation. 5:30pm-7:30pm. 1900 Market St. at Laguna.

Next Thursday March 29th, swing by ~ZERO ZERO~ to try the latest batch of their barrel-aged Negronis, which has been kickin’ it in an American oak barrel for the past 136 days. Negronis will be $6, 6pm-9pm.

And lastly, I was very happy to learn the talented and brave Todd Smith is back at work at ~DOSA ON FILLMORE~, mostly during lunch right now. Many are raising a glass to your fighting spirit, dear man!

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Rock Bar’s Donkey Party invite.

This Wednesday March 21st, ~ROCK BAR~ is hosting a Grand Opening Donkey Party. What this means for you is donkey punch, donkey games, and yes, a live donkey for donkey rides. 7pm-2am.

A few more details about the bar since it’s up and running: free pool Thu-Mon until 8pm, a dollar off draft beers and well cocktails each night from 5pm-7:30pm and again from midnight to close, and every evening, every hour, they feature a special cocktail for $5. You can also order fried chicken from The Front Porch across the street to eat in the bar—look for other edibles to purchase later in the evening. And I thought this was very cool: Aquarius Records is in the process of stocking their jukebox! Brion Nuda Rosch, the bar manager at Rock Bar, also wanted me to know that a new cocktail list focusing on classics and modern variations will arrive at the end of the month (a few favorites, like the Fire in the Hole, will remain). 80 29th St. at Mission.

Now open in SoMa is ~RAVEN BAR~, taking over the former Club 8. Michael Brennan redid the space, which features an upstairs and downstairs lounge with three bars, two DJ booths, and two dance floors. Shawn Refoua from SF Mixology is behind the cocktail list, which includes some Edgar Allan Poe-inspired drinks. Happy hour is daily 5pm-7pm, with $4 well drinks, $4 draft beers, and $5 wines by the glass. Hungry? You can order from a limited food menu from neighborhood restaurants Rocco’s and Triptych. Open Tue-Sat 5pm-2am. 1151 Folsom St.
 at 7th St., 415-431-1151.

Lastly, a couple months ago, I reported on the upcoming opening of ~THE NIGHT LIGHT~ in Oakland from Douglas Kinsey and John Nackley. The East Bay Express has more details and pics of the eclectic space here. Open daily 4pm-2am. 311 Broadway at 4th St., Oakland, 510-282-1413.