With businesses like sunshiney interiors Room Service and liquid nitrogen Smittens ice cream, Hayes Valley is poised for its heyday. It's time — it's central, small, and adorable. A book exchange/bar/cafe is the perfect new neighbor wouldn't you say?
Come September, a charmer called Two Sisters Bar and Books will open. Conceptualized by Two Sisters, operated by Big Sister, curated by Little Sister, it's currently undergoing construction. Kindle break and read what Big Sister has to share...
Concept: Two sisters who "wanted a place to hang out with books, not feel like dorks, and have a proper drink." While traveling through Europe, the sisters were inspired by an English language bookstore in Krakow that felt like home with nooks and crannies all around. Also, the Viennese classic coffee house scene. After college, the sisters moved to Brooklyn together when the DIY food scene was picking up (circa 2005). Being from Northern California, the sisters wanted something more chill, they wanted to "dial down the energy, up the hospitality."
Food: Mid-century Americana small plates, Sunday brunch, local meats and cheeses, deviled eggs, devils on horse back, roast beef crostini — a focus on small "easy-to-munch." A fun throwback dessert menu with chocolate and whiskey souffle tart, and cookies and milk punch, a punch that dates back to the mid-1800s. Big sister wants to "bring in booze where possible" and there will be no crusty deep fryers allowed. Sunday brunch will be limited to five dishes, have a set price, and come with a Bloody Mary or "something with bubbly." Uncomplicated. A low-key brunch option for Hayes Valley.
Aesthetic: ACI General Constructors who did Laconda, Cowgirl Creamery, Piccino, Miette around the corner; all individual looks, all successes. Two Sisters will house dark wood, burgundy paints, vintage-inspired wallpaper, and a dramatic, yet charming, curved bar with mirror behind. Cafe tables and chairs. Window seat. Mirrors with walnut frames. "As many comfy chairs as can fit." Framed vintage photos of the sisters. Candlelight and the existing floor and light fixtures. Big Sister cited Five Leaves in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as inspiration. Eventually outside seating, and a parklet.
Bar: Two cocktail menus are in the works; one low-octane wine and beer, one very spirit-forward. East Coast style cocktails — more about the booze, than the juice. Big Sister is a bourbon and whiskey gal and is "not trying to rewrite the bar books." Classic cocktails will have a reasonable price point but Big Sister wants to make sure good booze is used. There will be a New York happy hour, 1-4PM on Saturdays, where you can down a Manhattan, Brooklyn Rumble, or Red Hook, for "hopefully $6."
Books: Little Sister, who still lives in Brooklyn, is the community book exchange curator. Starting with about 300 books, take a book, leave a book. Two Sisters wants to eventually host some literary events. Book shelves will be alongside a standing bar area.
Top four (she couldn't do three) books Big Sister can read over and over: Winnie the Pooh, The Stranger by Albert Camus, On Politics by Hannah Arendt, and Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream.
Two Sisters Bar and Books, 579 Hayes Street, Open in September
Samantha Durbin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a lifestyle writer who honed her blogging skills as Editor of FabSugar.com. Samantha graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology, and also writes for San Francisco magazine and Gilt City.