Bored with your usual boozing spots? The drinking scene is set to get a bit richer this summer with the addition of several new cocktail and wine bars, and we've got some details of what you can expect.
Aquitaine, 175 Sutter Street (FiDi)
Chef Laurent Manrique, who helped reopen Fifth Floor in 2008 and then opened two downtown wine bars, Blanc et Rouge and Rouge et Blanc, is opening a third wine bar this summer in the former John Walker & Sons liquor store space at Sutter and Kearny. The name Aquitaine, reflects the focus of the wine program, which will be the southwestern region of France, bordering on Spain and containing the French section of Basque country. There will be a limited food menu as well, featuring things from Manrique's home of Gascony, like cassoulet. The opening date is still TBA.
Fig & Thistle, 313 Ivy Street (Hayes Valley)
This new wine bar from a former Alembic staffer promises to be a cozy and cool new date spot, with a brief wine-snack menu (think Fatted Calf charcuterie, and local cheeses from the North Bay), and a list focused on California wines and craft beers. They're aiming for a late May opening.
MKT Bar & Restaurant, The Four Seasons, 757 Market Street
The latest hotel bar revamp, following on One Up at the Grand Hyatt, will be the new bar and restaurant MKT on the fourth floor of The Four Seasons Hotel. Expect San Francisco-themed classic cocktails, like the Back to the Bank Exchange, a riff on the Pisco Punch served in a retro punch bowl. The food menu, meanwhile, will center on steaks and small plates. Look for MKT to open in June.
Novela, 662 Mission Street (SoMa)
An ambitious new cocktail bar is going into the former Fluid Ultra Lounge space at Mission and New Montgomery, and opening within weeks. The bartenders behind the project are Alex Smith, formerly of Gitane and Emeryville's Honor Bar, and Kate Bolton, who's the bar manager at Maven. The cocktail program will center on punches, but you can bet there will be a bunch of interesting non-punch drinks in the mix too. They're aiming to open before June 1.
S&R Lounge, Hotel Zetta, 55 5th Street
By early June we'll be seeing the opening of S&R Lounge (short for "salvaged and rescued"), the lobby bar at the new Viceroy Group hotel on Fifth Street, the Hotel Zetta. The team behind the cocktails and food are chef Jennifer Puccio and restaurateur Anna Weinberg, of Marlowe and Park Tavern fame. Meanwhile, they're at work on The Cavalier, which is attached to the hotel and will be designed by local designer Ken Fulk, who promises leather banquettes, polished brass, zinc, and white marble. That will have its own bar, Marianne's, with a planned opening this fall.
Jay Barmann is a contributor to 7x7 and the editor of Grub Street San Francisco.