October 5, 2021

October 5, 2021

The welcoming bar at Ora Wine Bar. Photo courtesy of Ora Wine Bar.


There’s a Shared Space with high-top tables out front. Photo courtesy of Ora Wine Bar.

There’s a new, woman-owned wine bar that just opened on Polk Street: ~ORA WINE BAR~. Owner Sabrina Thillard is an SF native (she grew up in the Sunset and still lives by the beach), and owns Bask in North Beach with her husband Patrick. She is beyond thrilled to open her dream wine bar inside what was the location for the very first See’s store in San Francisco. It has been a looooong work in progress, from finding the right space to finally signing the lease on the space in June 2018, navigating permit hell, and then getting ready to open right when Covid hit. Wah wah. 18 months later, Sabrina is so happy to finally have the doors open.

Her wine list is full of international selections, from Corsica to the Canary Islands to Mexico. She loves to travel through wines, and is also dedicated to highlight women winemakers. Her list carefully designates organic, organic-practicing, certified sustainable, natural, and biodynamic wines. Take a look here (her descriptions make me thirsty). There are local beers (Ghost Town Brewing, Woods), including San Francisco’s first gluten-free beer from Otherwise Brewing, and Far West Cider is also coming (plus some small bites).

The space has its original brick walls, and was designed to have a cozy and welcoming vibe (think: plants and nice lighting). There’s also a Shared Space outside with four high-top tables and sidewalk tables. Hours for now are Thu-Sat 4:30pm-10pm or so. 1519 Polk St. at California.


The bar at Comstock Saloon. Photo: © 2010 Liza Gershman.


The Middlechild at Bar Iris: Japanese gin, verjus blanc, snap pea, tonic. Instagram photo by Ilya Romanov for @bar-iris-sf.

For the past month, I’ve been watching the ~COMSTOCK SALOON~ team on Facebook prepare for reopening their Barbary Coast saloon! Nothing makes me happier than knowing that big lock is coming off the front doors and a Cherry Bounce is in my near future. (And a boot from Flash.) According to a post on SFGate, they have set the reopening date for Tuesday October 19th! Cheers!

Opening Thursday October 14th, is ~BAR IRIS~, the bar adjoining David Yoshimura’s newly opened Restaurant Nisei on Polk. There will be cocktails featuring Japanese ingredients from Ilya Romanov, sake, wine, and beer, plus a few bar snacks. There is both indoor seating in the chic room, and in a Shared Space outside. Open Wed-Fri 5pm-12am, Sat-Sun 3pm-1am. 2310 Polk St. at Green.

Great news about one of my all-time favorite SF standbys: ~DALVA~ is coming back, and getting a big remodel in the process, from new flooring to furniture to bathrooms (hallelujah), although the Art Deco mahogany back bar will stay put! Owner Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud has brought on new partner Eric Ochoa (Elda), and they’ll be updating the cocktail list to be more craft across the board (instead of just in the Hideout in the back, the original home of one of my favorite SF cocktails: the Gin and Celery Tonic ). Stay tuned for more in coming months. 3121 16th St. at Valencia. [Via Eater]

The super-divey ~540 CLUB~ in the Inner Richmond will be coming back this fall as 540 Rogues, with a new ownership team of former bartenders who are taking over (I used to work with former owner Jamie Brown back in my advertising days). They’re going to be updating the space with some much-needed TLC (and the plumbing), and hope to reopen before the end of the year. 540 Clement St. at 6th Ave. [Via Chronicle]