It wasn't totally clear if Cafe du Nord (2170 Market Street) was going to continue to be a music venue in any shape or form following a major renovation by the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group (Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, and the new Aatxe upstairs). But today we get word that as of Wednesday, June 17, when the place officially reopens, there will indeed be local musical acts on the stage in what's now called The Viking Room seven nights a week. But, unlike in the more punk and rock-and-roll days of yore, these are likely going to tend toward quieter acts that lend themselves to sit-down listening, since the space is now outfitted with table seating for 30, and a full-service food and drink menu.
In addition to this dining room-with-stage there is the main bar up front, with the original 107-year-old backbar all polished up, bar seating for 20, and additional table seating, which sounds like it's all first-come-first-serve (seating in the Viking Room is by reservation). The best news, though, may be that this becomes another all-too-rare late-night food destination, with the kitchen staying open until 1:30 a.m. Hallelujah.
The new food menu comes from chef Thomas McNaughton, who says he's been inspired by classic 20th century bar food, but with (of course) an emphasis on local ingredients. There are snacks like bar nuts and beef jerky, as well seafood like broiled oysters Kilpatrick, and a nightly selection of raw oysters. Plus there's heartier entrees like a cioppino, chicken al mattone, a rib eye, and (of course) a burger, dubbed the Burger du Nord. Says McNaughton, "Such a storied space offers the extraordinary opportunity to create a menu that speaks to this 100-year history of the building and pay tribute to its legacy."
There's also a brand new cocktail list created by The Bon Vivants of Trick Dog fame, which also gives nods to the 1907-built Swedish American Hall. There's a drink called the Södermalm, with Rittenhouse Rye, Punt e Mes vermouth, cherry Heering and Café du Nord Fika bitters; and nods to history like The Golden Era with George Dickel Rye, maple sugar, and fig leaf bitters; and The Diggers with Tequila Ocho Plata, Chablis, peach, zatar and lime. You can also expect extensive scotch and American whiskey lists, a selection of craft beer, a well curated wine list, and a half-price champagne happy hour at midnight featuring one-dollar oysters to boot.
Meanwhile, directly upstairs Aatxe is humming along with its tapas-and-gin-and-tonic thing, now in its second month (see Mr. Bauer's review here), and The Swedish American Hall all the way upstairs has been revived under the curation of Noise Pop as an acoustic music venue. (It has to abide by some noise requirements set forth by the developer building some condos on the lot next door.)
We should have a full menu to show you shortly, as well as some photos of the renovated space.
Cafe du Nord - 2170 Market Street at Sanchez - Opening June 17 - Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., with the kitchen closing at 1:30 a.m. - Reserve tables in the Viking Room at 415.471.2969