On the upper level above SF's only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, Mister Jiu's, there's now a swanky new destination cocktail lounge.
It's called the Moon Gate Lounge, and it takes its design cues both from traditional moon gates in Chinese gardens, as well as the skyspaces of artist James Turrell, as designers Steph Wong-Swig Architects tell Eater SF. (There's even an oculus-like skylight in the middle of the room.) There's also a distinctly mid-century vibe with the furnishings, complete with plush, extra-tall, red velvet booths.
Chef Brandon Jew says he wanted to create a space where customers from the restaurant downstairs could come and chill out a while after dinner, or just drop in for a snack. The space is the high-ceilinged former banquet room of Four Seas, the legendary Chinatown restaurant that used to occupy the Mister Jiu's space.
Jew often came here for celebratory dinners with his family as a kid. As he tells the Chronicle, "The thing I always loved about the entrance is you open [the double doors] and there’s this huge open space," and he wanted to recreate that sense of wonder and airiness.
The project has been in the works, and apparently delayed, for well over a year — SFist first noted the renovations starting in mid-2017, with plans to be open by the end of that year.
But the resulting place is worth the wait.
Cocktails from Danny Louie and Alex Kulick take their inspiration from the Chinese lunar calendar, like the Vernal Equinox (gin, bitter melon, sweet and sour, and jasmine) and the Grain Rain (rye, goji berry, cherry heering, szechuan pepper, flamed orange).
The food menu features reimagined dim sum like smoked oyster ‘youtiao’ (Chinese fried churros), a pigs-in-blankets riff called "Chicken in a space suit," and pork trotter ham sui gok (deep-fried dumplings).
Moon Gate Lounge, upstairs from Mister Jiu's, 28 Waverly Place, open Tuesday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.