How did we get so lucky to have a Kelly Wearstler-designed project in San Francisco? It’s just the dose of funky LA glam and international bohemian vintage style we needed to shake up our adverse-to-design-risk city, truth.
Last week, during that last gasp of Indian summer weather and warm nights, I was lucky to get a sneak peek of the new rooftop bar CHARMAINE’S at the San Francisco Proper Hotel. (This is the second part of the project to open, first was Villon downstairs—the all-day La Bande is next and last.)
It’s pretty breathtaking—you won’t believe the unobstructed views from the outdoor tables, complete with fire pits and heaters and striped chairs. The design inside is eclectic and unique, from the seating and eye-catching tables spanning the ’50s and ’70s to the special rugs and carpets, which only add to the low-slung residential feel. There are all kinds of seating areas, with 50 inside and 75 on the patio. It’s a place where you’ll want to hang out with friends. Just pretend you’re at a party at your rich friend’s penthouse (we should all have one of those). It’s going to be the hottest private event buyout, mark my words.
The gents of BVHospitality (Josh Harris, Morgan Schick) have created a cocktail menu around “shit you want to drink on a roof” (LOL), taking some inspiration from places they have enjoyed drinking outside, like Thailand, the Mediterranean, and Paris. All the cocktail names (17 in all) refer to any albums and songs that feature a cover of “Up on the Roof.” Heh.
The cocktails are all $15, from the Proper Cup, a seasonal Pimm’s (right now with blackberry and black pepper, but will be moving to fruits like pear and pomegranate), to really playful executions, like the Express Transit (Jameson Black Barrel whiskey, Cointreau, Earl Grey, whey, lemon, soda), served with shortbread. I loved the inventiveness of the Let Me Touch Your Mind, which is basically a blended piña colada (Banks 5 rum, coconut cream, pineapple, lime) topped with a Negroni. RIDIC! And then there’s my new favorite martini, dear lord is the On the Moon amazing: Grey Goose vodka or Bombay Sapphire East gin, Jardesca white, California Aqua Vitae aquavit, and bay laurel brine, served up with a cornichon. It’s salty and so aromatic and goes down way too easy.
There are some large-format offerings (including one with a supplement of Perrier-Jouët Champagne), and there will be some group packages in the works. You can also look over the wines and California beers.
As for the food menu, look for some mighty tasty bar bites from chef Jason Franey. There’s the Charmaine’s hot dog ($14), with Bavarian mustard, fermented lettuce, and a tender milk and honey bun. We inhaled the beef slider ($12), so juicy and rich, with cheddar cheese, tomato confit, and special sauce. I’m hoping the grilled cheese with smoked sturgeon comes back, I don’t see it on the opening menu. Wah. Anyway. Churros with urfa-spiced chocolate banana dip will be a worthy distraction. And then there’s that view…
Open 5pm-2am. Proper Hotel, 1100 Market St. at Jones, 415-735-7777.