Mark Bright, partner and wine director at Saison (178 Townsend), is just about ready to unveil his new, down-the-street wine bar spinoff Les Clos (234 Townsend), which we previously talked about back in May. While Saison chef Joshua Skenes is not involved in Les Clos, Bright has tapped a couple of Saison vets to bring the project to life: chef Shawn Gawle (who's been serving as pastry chef as Saison), and sommelier Cara Patricia Higgins.
"I literally live next door and grabbed the space when it became available," Bright says. "I’ve always envisioned a neighborhood place that would be great to hang out any time of day, any day of the week."
To that end, Les Clos will be a retail shop, cafe, and bar that changes mood and menu throughout the day, beginning with coffee and French omelettes in the morning, sandwiches in the afternoon either to eat in or take out, and a full-service restaurant and wine bar in the evening with dinner and snack options to accompany Bright's impressive list of 40 wines by the glass, as well as five beers on tap.
It should be noted that this is Bright's second effort at a wine-bar project, the first being the short-lived Dcantr in 2011, which was an evening pop-up at Stable Cafe, sharing the kitchen with Saison in its former location.
Bright's extensive knowledge of and love for Burgundy will be reflected in the list, with pours available of recent Burgundian releases as well as old bottles from the 1970s (with glass prices ranging from $10 to $125), and an extensive bottle selection from Burgundy numbering around 5,000, many of them unavailable anywhere else in the U.S. Added fancy bonus: All the wine will be served in Gabriel-Glas hand-blown Austrian crystal. Added wine-geek bonus: They'll offer blind tasting flights ($20 for six wines), geared toward professionals studying for the Master Sommelier exam (in which you have to blindly identify region, varietal, and vintage within a couple years) but available to anyone.
And for those who wish they knew more about wine, Bright will be offering and teaching wine classes with visiting international winemakers. So that's exciting too.
For the food, Gawle will be doing "hearty, updated classic dishes from various wine regions" in the $12 to $28 range, including charcuterie, cheese, escargot, caviar service, and dishes like moules à la provençale, chicken basquaise, and a croque monsieur at lunch. Sightglass Coffee will be the brew of choice.
It's going to be a small space with just 10 tables, a bar, and some leather couches.
Opening day is September 20.
Les Clos - 234 Townsend Street between 3rd and 4th - (415) 795-1422 - No reservations