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May 6, 2014 3 min read

An Update on Long Now Foundation's Upcoming Project, The Interval

An Update on Long Now Foundation's Upcoming Project, The Interval
The entrance. Photo: Catherine Borgeson.
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Back in December, we mentioned the upcoming bar/salon/museum/library project at Fort Mason from the Long Now Foundation—a nonprofit that is dedicated to exploring long-term thinking—with Jennifer Colliau (Small Hand Foods, Slanted Door Group) as the bar manager. It’s getting closer to opening, so here’s an update for you on this fascinating project.

First, it now has a name: THE INTERVAL. There will be so many components within, from the library that will eventually swell to “3,500 volumes to restart civilization” (there will be 1,000 at the start) to the chime generator table, which will be remade into a glass table and is capable of sounding a different 10-chime sequence every day for 10,000 years. Brian Eno, a Long Now member, will be creating and composing a special music and video installation that will be a centerpiece behind the bar and will play on a 20-speaker Meyer Galileo sound system. And then there’s the chalkboard robot created by a Swiss artist, but we’ll have to wait to see it in action (one robot will be able to write on a chalkboard, and another will be behind the bar, so handy). I know, it’s a lot to think about (wink).

The space was previously a forge and machine shop, so in this redesign, they wanted to strip it to its original concrete. There will be 10-12 seats at the bar (the bar top is made of stone excavated from the site where they are building their 10,000 Year Clock in Western Texas), and there’s a semi-private area in the back with room for 6-8, and an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Other seating includes small booths, a long table for 10-12, and 10 seats around a planetary display, The Orrery.

I spoke with Jennifer Colliau about her plans for the bar, and she said she has really enjoyed putting her art school degree to work, specifically her conceptual art knowledge as she applies the concept of time to her cocktails, and integrating historic techniques with modern technology. There will be eight categories on her list that explore different themes, like one will be on daisies (a classic drink family that is comprised of a spirit, citrus, and a sweetener—e.g., a margarita is a daisy). Another section is Drinking Around the World, including a ponche de granada, with pomegranate, tequila or mezcal, and sugar—Colliau has been aging a 60-liter batch of this since December and will serve it in clay cups with spiced pecans.

There will also be a martini menu, which will include a tongue-in-cheek reference to the early aughts, a classic cocktail menu, and a daiquiri menu from the famous La Florida in Cuba (aka “La Floridita”) and home of Papa Hemingway’s famed No. 3—but we need to get these lime supply issues under control first. Colliau has been enjoying the deep dive into the history of all these cocktails as she has been doing her research and due diligence.

Oh, and when you first arrive, there are some welcome drinks that will be prepped ahead and ready to serve, like a bottled gin and tonic, and perhaps a clarified milk punch, all drinks that take time. There will additionally be some low- and nonalcoholic options too.

Lance Winters (St. George Spirits) is involved in the project, making some specially distilled/limited edition gin and whiskey—which are also part of the donation program for the project (there are 15 barrels of whiskey that will be aged, and one per year will be bottled for donors).

The space will be flexible for events and talks, and during the day will function as a café and museum. They will serve Sightglass coffee, a tea list by Samovar, including special aged pu-erh tea, and some snacks too.

Pending approvals, Sunday May 25th will be the all-donor opening, and Monday June 2nd will be the first public open day for the café; the bar is due to open to the public on Wednesday June 11th.

The museum and café will be open daily 10am-5pm. Bar hours will be nightly 5pm-12am, although Tue will occasionally be dedicated to some ticketed speaking events. 2 Marina Blvd, Fort Mason Building A, 415-561-6582.

A look at the stone bar top. Courtesy of Long Now Foundation.
A rendering of The Interval during the day. Courtesy of Long Now Foundation.
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