Foodie Updates: The Square Opening in North Beach, Esta Noche Closes, and More


This week in restaurant news, we have the revamp of two shuttered spaces, one in North Beach and one in SoMa, and the return of restaurateur George Chen, who's at work on a big food complex in Chinatown.

First off, Saturday marks the opening of The Square (1707 Powell Street), the latest incarnation of the former Washington Square Bar & Grill in North Beach, which was most recently known as Bottle Cap. That restaurant closed after the new year, and as we discussed earlier, taking over the space are chefs Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara and the team behind Sons & Daughters and Sweet Woodruff on Lower Nob Hill. They wanted to make reference to the space's past but decided against using the less attractive nickname that this place had, The Washbag – which is what it was called by regular Herb Caen in his Chronicle columns of yore. (The Square is the nickname given to the former bar by North Beach denizen Ed Moose, and has a nicer ring to it.) The new restaurant will feature a full cocktail bar as well as an upscale bar menu that's likely to feature some great salads from the Sons & Daughters restaurant garden, as well as a burger and other accessible fare. [7x7, Inside Scoop]

Over in SoMa, chef-restaurateur Charles Phan just announced his plans for the long-shuttered Heaven's Dog space on Mission between 7th and 8th (in the SoMa Grand). He's transforming it as of next week into The Coachman, and English pub-inspired place with food from a former Bar Tartine cook and a classic cocktail program by resident Phan empire bar star Erik Adkins. Phan takes the name and some inspiration from a long ago Union Square restaurant of the same name where he first worked as a busboy as a teenager. Interestingly, the concept sounds a bit similar to The Cavalier, which just opened last year two blocks down the street from the team behind Park Tavern and Marlowe. [SFist]

Meanwhile, in Chinatown, local restaurateur George Chen (Shanghai 1933, Betelnut) is opening a multi-level food complex called China Live at the former Gold Mountain space at 644 Broadway. As the Chronicle reports, 20,000 square feet on the lower floors will become an upscale marketplace with the "best local and imported products, be it the finest soy sauce makers from across the Pacific or pristine seasonal vegetables from Northern California -- all at prices to serve the neighborhood." Upstairs, on the top floor, will be a fine dining restaurant, Eight Tables, that Chen hopes will be "The French Laundry of Chinese food." He's aiming to open China Live by the end of the year. [Chron]

Important Mission news: Manny Torres Gimenez, owner/exec chef at The Palace has finally gotten a beer-and-wine license, so the place is no longer BYOB. He's partnered with St. Vincent to help curate the wine list, and in addition there's now counter seating and an a la carte menu, featuring the arepas he used to make at Mr. Pollo. [7x7]

And in sadder Mission news, well loved Latino gay/drag bar Esta Noche, which has had a decades-long life on 16th Street and which played a central role in the opening episodes of HBO's Looking, is closing. Taking over the place will be the team behind Wish, Andrea Minoo and Callum Hutchins, who say they want to try to "preserve" some of the history of the space. The new concept is still TBA. [Eater]

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