Back in April, I reported on GAMBIT LOUNGE, a new bar taking over the former Noir Lounge space in Hayes Valley from Cezar Kusik (Rubicon, Butterfly, 25 Lusk) and Edward Calhoun (Southpaw, Dogpatch Saloon, Peacekeeper, 25 Lusk). On Sunday, I swung by for an industry sneak peek, and they are due to open this Thursday November 10th.
The space has been repainted with a vibrant Prussian blue that pairs well with the elements of gold and wood throughout the space, with blue-cushioned bistro stools. There’s a front bar and back bar, plus a long communal table, high-tops or regular tables you can sit at, and a back room you’ll be able to rent for private events, plus there’s a spacious parklet out front. Take your pick—we had some great people-watching from our window seat.
Cezar has assembled an extensive wine program that leans Old World, but has some California selections as well, plus there’s a reserve list you can ask for. Four bubblies by the glass, fantastique. The cocktails include some classics (Painkiller, Sazerac) and some refreshing concoctions, like the Gentleman’s Sweep (bourbon, apricot, lemon, spiced syrup). Love seeing a list of $13 cocktails, thank you.
One of the first people I saw when I walked in was Wes Rowe (WesBurger), who’s consulting on the eclectic menu that has some spins on Eastern and Central European dishes (Cezar is Polish). I dug the creativity of these bar bites—sample dishes included a Lubuskie beef tartare (or beet) with egg yolk brightened with yuzu on top; Russ’s beet-cured salmon with brown bread; and, naturally, there are pierogi—Wes is tinkering with the fillings. Whether you’re looking for snacks or something more substantial, you’re covered (and it’s perfect food for our chillier weather now). Hours will be Tue-Sat 4pm-12am, Sun 11am-5pm. Welcome to the neighborhood. 581 Hayes St. at Laguna.
Over in the Lower Haight, I saw an ABC license hit the wires for a project called STOA from Nopalito’s Allyson Jossel, Gonzalo Guzman, Joji Sumi, and Nopa and Liholiho’s former bartender, Yanni Kehagiaras, opening in the former Fort Point Beer taproom. The Chronicle reports cocktails will be the primary focus here, with some seasonal California small plates (not Mexican—they aren’t duplicating Nopalito!), and perhaps a few larger dishes. Look for a spring 2023 opening. 701 Haight St. at Pierce.