Cheers to this: opening this December in Hayes Valley is THE RIDDLER, an all women-funded Champagne bar (with 30 investors!). It’s led by Jen Pelka, currently principal and founder of Magnum PR, and her background includes five years at Daniel Boulud’s Daniel in New York, as a kitchen stagier, chef Boulud’s research assistant, and the US competition director for the Bocuse d’Or under Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller. Joining her is GM and beverage director Marissa Payne (Rose.Rabbit.Lie, Megu, Luce) and kitchen consultant Shannon Waters (Pilot Light Kitchen Consulting, previously Aatxe).
The Riddler will serve bar bites—including caviar, of course, a fun self-serve popcorn service, and products made by women, like INNA Jam—to go with the list of more than 100 Champagnes, with a strong bent toward grower-producers like Gaston Chiquet, Pierre Gimonnet, Egly-Ouriet, Pierre Péters, Marc Hébrart, Gonet-Médeville, and more. Special attention will be paid to female-made wines on the list. There will also be vintage wines from traditional houses like Billecart-Salmon, Bollinger, Salon, Ruinart, Dom Pérignon, and Krug, and hard-to-find Special Club Champagnes. Whether you’re in for a glass, split, half bottle, magnum, or feel like busting out a jeroboam, you can take your pick. Some still wines will also be available. And then there’s one beer: Miller High Life, the Champagne of Beers. Ha.
The space was previously Momi Toby’s Revolution Cafe & Art Bar, and it has been given quite the chic makeover, with handmade tables from France, leather banquettes, bar seating, and black, white, and gold as the palette. Look for many fun vintage touches, from the ice buckets to the dishes. There are seats outside as well.
The lady-powered design team includes Hannah Collins of Hannah Collins Designs, who drew up plans for the space; muralist Megan Stevens, who will hand paint a Champagne bottle on the wall facing Linden Alley; and custom floral arrangements from Eleanor Gerber-Siff of Wallflower Designs. Even the graphic design is by a woman, Danielle Moore.
The name is in homage to the practice of riddling, when a riddler rotates bottles of sparkling wine every day eventually into a vertical position to consolidate sediment into the neck of the bottle, a practice invented by the grande dame herself, Madame Clicquot, who didn’t like her sparkling wine to be so cloudy.
The Riddler will be open Tue-Thu and Sun 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-12am. Brunch and additional days of service will be added in the new year. 528 Laguna St. at Linden.