September 1, 2015

September 1, 2015
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The bar at Lord George. Photo by Marcell Turner Photography.

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Design details at Lord George. Photo by Marcell Turner Photography.

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The exterior window. Photo by Marcell Turner Photography.

At last, Ezra Berman and Miles Palliser (The Corner Store, San Francisco Athletic Club) are ready to reveal their plans for the former Nova space in SoMa, because, well, their new place is open. (Well, softly open—the grand opening is this Thursday September 3rd at 7pm.) Meet ~THE LORD GEORGE~, a “cocktail house” designed to appeal to neighbors and Giants fans, both when the game is on and when it isn’t.

The name takes its inspiration from “Lord” George Gordon (i.e., not a lord, although he acted like one), who built South Park and helped create a little slice of well-to-do London in San Francisco in the 1850s.

The executive chef is Nick Adams (The Corner Store, formerly Salt House, Town Hall), who is putting together a menu of shared plates, with food designed for gathering (and drinking). Dishes include an array of tartines (whipped avocado with goat cheese, lemon, soft herbs, and blossoms; crispy duck confit with plum, five spice, and shallots; roast strawberry with ricotta, pistachio, and honey; and one with prosciutto, Gruyère, and egg), salads (a chopped salad with Green Goddess and an heirloom tomato panzanella), plus a couple of soups (seafood bisque, summer corn). Oysters will be served from the marble raw bar up front (look for three or four kinds nightly) and served late (along with some cheese and charcuterie and other bar snacks after 10pm).

Dustin Sullivan (formerly Fog City, Picco) is the cocktail and beverage director and will be offering a top-tier bar, with quite the list of cocktails, 18 in all. There are two lists: the simple and the fancy, depending on what you’re in the mood for. Maybe both. The simple side of the list includes a French 75, gin martini, and Manhattan bottle service for four to six people for $45. On the fancy side, there’s the Inside Job (rye, spicy ginger, maple, lemon, seltzer, bitters) and the Oxford Comma (Armagnac, aquavit, dry vermouth, maraschino, grenadine)—and yes, we love the name. All cocktails clock in at $10-$13. There are six wines on tap, including one sparkling, and 20 or so bottles (old and new world).

The space was designed by Clinton Miller of Parisa O’Connell. The long bar was refinished, and the back bar was built out in mahogany (the oak floors were also refinished). The banquettes were taken out, and six high-top tables built for socializing were put in. There’s a green tufted leather booth in the back, with a marble-topped table (matching the marble used for the oyster bar in the front). For a touch of glimmer, there are three Deco-looking chandeliers, but when you look more closely, you’ll see they are made of test tubes with corks inside. The interior is meant to feel classy and fun and vibrant all at once—stylish but not stuffy.

Hours are Mon-Thu 11:30am-1am, Fri 11:30am-2am, Sat 10am-2am, and Sun 10am-1am. 555 2nd St. at Bryant.

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The chic cabin interior of The Lodge. Photo courtesy of Alexeis Filipello.

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Wood paneling forever. Photo courtesy of Alexeis Filipello.

We are thrilled to announce that after teasing us on Instagram with sneak peeks of taxidermy, Alexeis Filipello (Bar Dogwood, Stag’s Lunchette, Darling’s Elixirs) and Matt Eiseman are ready to open ~THE LODGE ON PIEDMONT~. As we previously reported, it’s opening in the former Egbert Souse’s in North Oakland, but you will hardly recognize the place. What was a dark and rather dodgy bar has been transformed into quite the lodgelike atmosphere. It has some Tahoe cabin throwback kitsch to it, starting with the exterior, which has new framed windows to let in some light and a log cabin set on the roof. You can’t miss it.

Inside, there is a 30-foot redwood bar with room for 25 (the front of it was made to look like tooled leather); walls made of redwood, alder, and nutmeg; a paint-by-numbers mural that Filipello commissioned for the space (she collects paint-by-numbers pieces); custom lighting (yay, smoky glass); two-top and six-top tables; and of course plenty of taxidermy, plus a brown bear pelt a friend gave to them (which they installed on the ceiling). They really enjoyed working with Ecological Builders on the space and had such nice things to say about them (and their landlord, the Weinsteins).

The duo really wanted to create a neighborhood bar, so while the cocktails will feature some quality spirits and fresh ingredients, they won’t be too precious—just simple and good. Look for four or five classics, plus well drinks to fit everyone’s budget. Filipello did mention there is an adult slushie machine, which they will be making an amazing piña colada with, featuring agricole rum and no sugar—cane syrup is more their style. There will also be some local beers, and Spanish and Italian wines.

As for the menu, you’re the first to take a look. You’ll be able to snack on a house-smoked pork and cheese plate, spicy Rocky wings with habanero and aji (that you can dip into smoked blue cheese sauce), and chicken chicharrones with lime-chile dust and bird’s eye chile sauce. Yeah, good stuff.

There’s also boar sausage made with St. George Terroir gin, housemade venison and veal sausage in puff pastry with spicy mustard and caramelized onion, and a steak sandwich with cheddar beer sauce. No fear, vegetarians, there’s a vegetable sandwich on Dutch crunch, a customizable grilled cheese menu, and avocado toast. Filipello only uses quality ingredients, and everything the menu is still less than $10 (except for the steak sandwich, which is $15, and the smoked pork and cheese plate for $12). It will be a limited menu to start; look for mac and cheese soon and a full fondue spread in the winter, oh you know it.

Pssst, there’s also a small outdoor space in the back, with German hofbrau tables. Go ahead and let that be a local’s secret. Also of note: there is a TV in the back of the space, but it will only be playing big games and won’t always be on.

For the first few months, The Lodge will only be open until 12am, but hours will extend soon. For now: Mon-Thu 4pm-12am, Fri-Sun 12pm-12am. 3758 Piedmont Ave. at MacArthur, Oakland, 510-350-8470.

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The Elbo Room. Yelp photo by Omar K.

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The original interior at The Alembic. Photo by Jennifer Yin via Postcard Communications.

Hoodline reports that the Bubble Lounge, which closed in May, is now reopening as ~BARBAROSSA~. Owner Eric Benn has brought on Arash Ghanadan of Novela as a new partner and is giving the space a facelift. When they reopen, the bar will have a Barbary Coast theme, as a nod to the building’s previous incarnation as a prison (oooh) and wholesale liquor warehouse. They’ll be focusing on happy hour, with a cocktail list, good beers, and wines available by the glass. There will still be plenty of Champagne and dancing too. The plan is to open in mid-October. 714 Montgomery St. at Washington.

It sounds like the beloved ~ELBO ROOM~ might not be closing imminently, as expected. KQED reported that owner Matt Shapiro posted an announcement on his Facebook page stating that the club’s lease has been extended another year, and it will go month-to-month in 2016. They could still have to close after that, but this is certainly good news for fans of the live music (and strong drink) venue. 647 Valencia St. at 17th St., 415-552-7788.

The Elbo Room is passing along good vibes to another local gem of a bar that needs it right now. As you likely know, ~THE RIPTIDE~ was badly damaged in a fire on August 18th. The bar sustained at least $600,000 in damage and is currently closed until repairs can be made. But you can help! And this is a bar, so you know the effort will be fun. Friends of the Riptide and Elbo Room are coming together on Thursday September 3rd to raise money for the rebuilding of the fabulous bar. The party is at Elbo Room starting at 8pm. There are more than six bands playing, plus DJs spinning music. There will be drink specials, a raffle, silent auction, and more to raise money. Check out all the details (and tell your friends!) on the Facebook event page. And if you can’t make it, never fear! You can also donate here. 647 Valencia St. at 17th St., 415-552-7788.

Good news: ~THE ALEMBIC~ has reopened, but the new/expanded space isn’t quite open yet. You can take a sneak peek on Hoodline (there will be more room for groups, yay), and we’ll update you on the final unveiling. We’ll also be telling you about new executive chef Dave Faro’s menu soon (Broke-Ass Stuart shared the news of Ted Fleury’s departure here).

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Wine and pizza at Ragazza. Photo from Facebook.

It looks like there’s a new wine bar in the Excelsior/Mission Terrace, called ~SIP WINE BAR~. It’s above Bottoms Up and is actually owned by the same people, according to the liquor license. They are offering a changing wine list with wines from all over the world, as well as local selections. There are also four beers on tap, as well as soju and sake. The space, which has been remodeled with a sleek, modern vibe, is also available for private parties. Hours are Wed-Sat 6pm-2am. 4704 Mission St. at Persia, 415-337-1678.

Darling little pizza girl ~RAGAZZA~ is turning five this month, can you believe it? Toast to their half decade in business with half-priced glasses of wine this month. The specials are happening Monday through Friday, 5pm to 6:30pm until September 30th. Buon compleanno, Ragazza!

Catch a special winemaker dinner at ~SPRUCE~ on Tuesday September 22nd. Italian winemakers Ar.Pe.Pe. from Lombardia will be in attendance, pouring their wines to pair with the four-course dinner. Ahhhhh, Valtellina! Chefs Mark Sullivan and John Madriaga have created a menu inspired by the region and the wines, while Isabella Pelizzatti, from the fifth-generation family of winemakers, will be talking about their winery and pours. Check out the menu and get tickets here. Tickets are $190 per person and include wine, dinner, and gratuity.