The glam bar, with just five seats. All photos: © tablehopper.com.
The main room, with the new skylights.
Wayfare Tavern classics like deviled eggs and prime steak tartare are on the menu.
A peek into the private room in the former gold vault.
The historic 1907 building that houses ~WAYFARE TAVERN~ has revealed a new flourish on the fourth floor: ~THE SEQUOIA~. Former offices were converted into this upstairs bar with a vintage SF gentleman’s club feeling, complete with tables that have checkerboard and backgammon designs on them (you can also play dominoes). There’s a bar with five seats, where you can perch next to Adam “Boots” Brogan, who is the lead bartender and can tell you all about the inspiration behind The Night Owl (it’s like a cross between a Vieux Carré, Boulevardier, and Sazerac, made with rye, Cognac, Campari, Bénédictine, absinthe, sweet vermouth, and bitters, and it’s deeeeelicious).
Ken Fulk is behind the design, which includes hand-painted wallpaper in the former gold vault room that looks like malachite—there’s room for about 5 or 6 in that private little spot (and a bunch of whiskey). They also took all the plaster off the walls, revealing some beautiful brick. And they added a skylight, so if you get there after work you’ll be able to admire some beautiful skyscrapers (and natural light coming in). There are a variety of tables with bistro chairs and banquettes, plus a spacious corner booth for a large group and wingback chairs in the corner. The leopard carpet is another nice touch. Rawr. The project took about two years to complete.
You can order quite the spread of Wayfare Tavern favorites off the menu, from the tarragon-spiked deviled eggs ($14) to the much-adored prime beef tartare ($17), which comes with housemade chips. You can also enjoy seafood like oysters (be sure to check the price on those before you order, just a heads-up), shrimp cocktail ($23), and a chilled Maine lobster ($20 for half, $35 whole), or saddle up for a heartier main, including the famed Tavern burger ($22)—get an egg on that bad boy—and the fried chicken ($28), always juicy with its buttermilk brine. Here’s the menu—love the vintage design of it.
The cocktail list ($14) includes some classics, like an Aviation or the lesser-known Scofflaw, or more recent creations, like a Secret Crush (brut rosé, Campari, sugar, bitters) from New York’s Employees Only. They all feature swank touches, including elegant engraved glassware and little brass ball-tipped cocktail picks. There is a selection of wines by the glass and three beers on tap, as well.
For now, The Sequoia is open Thu-Sat only, 5pm-11pm. You can make a reservation online at thesequoia.com through Resy, and then when you arrive, take the elevator to the left of Wayfare Tavern to the fourth floor. They are renting out the 40-seat space for parties (it’s so perfect) and can fit up to 80 for a standing reception. 558 1/2 Sacramento St. at Leidesdorff.