A report by Dana Massey-Todd: Many of you in the neighborhood and beyond will be excited to hear that the ~HI-LO CLUB~, brought to you by the team behind the now shuttered Koko Cocktails, has opened up on Polk Street. Owners Chris Keith, Lori Martens, and Justin Mulford have beautifully redesigned their new space into an open, minimal, industrial affair, with warm details like extensive use of hardwoods and cozy pockets for quiet conversation. This attention to design and, in particular, wood, is no coincidence: one of the owners is a woodworker.
Martens was generous enough to give me a peek on a recent afternoon, and I can’t wait to go back when it’s in full swing at night. Much like Koko (and as the name implies), the cocktails will be focused on deliciousness without pretension. As Martens said, “We love fancy things, we love lowbrow things,” and they appear to be hitting a nice balance of both. Martens said her favorite cocktail they are mixing at the moment is the “Buster Brown,” a bourbon-based drink with citrus, orange bitters, and sugar, though there should be plenty more to come.
Specialty drinks with clever names not your style? You’ll be fine; they have a better-than-solid selection of liquors and are proud to offer high-quality well pours, so sliding up to the bar with a simple order won’t leave you with a nasty taste in your mouth or a headache. As Martens was quick to point out, these guys are way more interested in being a good neighborhood spot than having a specialty drinks list a mile long. Hi-Lo also has twelve beers on tap, including Racer 5 IPA and selections from Firestone and Lost Abbey.
They will be offering table service Thursday-Saturday nights, which should offer a welcome change of pace from jostling at the bar. So throw on some ratty jeans and your best fur (or whatever your sartorial version of hi-lo is) and make your way down. They’re open Mon-Sat 4pm-2am. 1423 Polk St. at Pine, 415-885-4788.