The bar at Barbarossa. Photo by Alex Leber.
The main room at Barbarossa. Photo by Alex Leber.
A lounge area. Photo by Alex Leber.
By Dana Eastland. ~BARBAROSSA~, the bar moving into the former Bubble Lounge in North Beach, is opening next Thursday November 19th (although they are doing some soft opening nights with just cocktails right now). It’s from Bubble Lounge owner Eric Benn and Arash Ghanadan of Novela and has an old San Francisco vibe. Barbarossa means “red beard” in Italian and is a nod to the neighborhood’s Barbary Coast roots, as well as the area’s history as a red-light district.
The bar is helmed by Christina Cabrera (The Progress, 15 Romolo), who is looking to the history of cocktails in San Francisco with her beverage menu. There is a special emphasis on grog, the sailor’s beverage of choice in the 19th century, with a seasonally changing option (perhaps the bar answer on 2014’s porridge trend?). Currently, it’s apple, lemon, and ginger with your choice of spirit, topped with soda—in December, it will become cranberry and hibiscus. There is also a selection of 12 beers on tap, as well as several wines by the glass, including 7 sparkling options—the wide selection is a nod to the space’s past as the Bubble Lounge.
Eddie Lau was the consulting chef on the menu, which is designed for sharing and broken into four categories: From the Ocean; Leaves, Fruits, and Roots; Meats and Cheeses; and Desserts. There are plenty of fresh oysters available in the Ocean section, as well as seasonal ceviche and clams. The produce section includes harissa shrimp with Little Gems and avocado, or try the chile-garlic Brussels sprouts with charred scallion crema. In Meats and Cheeses, there are sausages (from Peter Temkin of Foreign Cinema/Show Dogs), a selection of cheeses, and a pastrami dish available either as a sandwich or a salad. Desserts run the gamut from lemon chiffon wedding cake (because sometimes you just want a good piece of cake) and dark chocolate cookies with Humphry Slocombe Secret Breakfast ice cream.
The space—designed by architect Jacek Ostoya of Gold Grenade—is 6,000 square feet and divided into four spaces: the main room and Bubble Room upstairs, as well as the Living Room and Outlaw Room downstairs. Throughout, there are nods to the building’s history as a jailhouse. There are metals touches including shackles and locks, against the exposed brick. There are also black leather banquettes, vintage-style red sofas, and hardwood floors. Hours are Mon-Wed 4pm-12am, Thu-Fri 4pm-2am, Sat 6pm-2am, and Sun 6pm-12am. 714 Montgomery St. at Washington, 415-434-4204.