"Its kind of a yin-and-yang thing," says Josh McAdam, one of the three partners behind Anina. " Whereas Brass Tacks is monochromatic, moody, and dark, Anina is bright, whimsical, and pretty."
Four years after opening Brass Tacks on Hayes Street, McAdam, along with partners Anthony Healy-London and Matty Conway, saw an opportunity to leave a new mark on the growing neighborhood.
"We've all lived in Hayes Valley 10 or so years," shares Healy-London. "With something so fresh and light, we wanted to make an impression on people. We wanted them to say, 'Wow, this doesn't look like any other bar in San Francisco.' We saw a niche to create something fun."
Bright, open and airy, Anina is a lovely space for post-brunch drinks with the squad or a lax afternoon soaking up some long-overdue sunshine. Its secret weapon is the adjoining patio, bedecked with eight beer garden tables and string lights, a rarity to rival the city's handful of outdoor drinking spots.
Los Angeles interior designer Sayre Ziskin (who also designed Brass Tacks and Holy Water in Bernal Heights) leapt at the chance to create a sunny venue that was a departure from SF's stock of darker, moodier bars.
Anina's creation was a journey, beginning with a palette of emerald green, peacock blue, rusty orange, and splashes of pink. Ziskin chose midcentury Brazilian-inspired geometric patterns to line the Moroccan-tiled bar. She picked up a collection of figurative watercolors from an estate sale and outfitted them in vintage frames for the walls; the colorful pendants overhanging the bar were handmade by a ceramicist in L.A. The striking mural of florals and fronds circling the walls is the work of Argentine artist Lucila Dominguez, whom Ziskin and the team so admired they flew her up from Buenos Aires for the project (and later named a drink in her honor).
"I think we surprised ourselves with risks along the way," laughs McAdam, "and it came out absolutely stunning."
As for the drinks, expect a lighter menu to match the dreamy décor. Conway, along with Healy-London and a few bartender friends, built a menu infused with fresh ingredients and options that transition easily from day to night, like low-ABV spritzes and clear spirit-based cocktails. The bar also serves a selection of wine and beer and two draft cocktails, plus three signature punchbowls that are perfect for groups. Conway shared his favorite, the Young Cuban, made with white rum, mint, cucumber, lime, and a touch of prosecco. "It's super delicious and bright green. When it goes out, people are like, 'What's that? I want that!' It looks cool, but it tastes great."
Other menu highlights include the Fairway, a spin on a green juice with gin, lime, celery, cilantro, sugar, and salt; and the crisp Lucila, made of mezcal, lime, pineapple, and pamplemousse rose liqueur. // Anina, 482 Hayes St. (Hayes Valley) aninasf.com