Local bar impresario Thad Vogler just announced that two of his four businesses will be undergoing changes in the coming months, including his design- and bar-award-winning Bar Agricole, which opened on 11th Street in 2011.
Seeking more foot traffic — and perhaps a new location that's not on San Francisco's primary nightclub corridor — Vogler announced Tuesday that he's relocating Bar Agricole from 355 11th Street to 1550 Mission Street. It's in the base of the new luxury high-rise now visible from all over known as Fifteen Fifty, up the street and around the corner from Bar Agricole's current digs. As Vogler tells the Chronicle, the new space will "look different," but like the award-winning original space it will have some architectural pedigree thanks to acclaimed Norwegian firm Snøhetta — which designed the SFMOMA expansion and helped design the Chase Center.
As Curbed notes, the retail spaces in the building will also include a new Equinox gym location.
In order to accomplish the move, Bar Agricole will go dark on April 15, and the new bar and restaurant will reopen later this year, on a date to be announced. Vogler explains that in the new 5,000-square-foot-space he's hoping to "establish and own the category of single-origin spirits" — something that will be reinforced in a new retail shop in the same building, focused on the spirits brands and products that he already imports for his bars.
Bar Agricole has steadily maintained a respected place among San Francisco's cocktail temples, finally taking home the James Beard Award for the nation's best cocktail program in 2019 after being nominated eight times. But the food program at the restaurant has morphed and changed under a series of chefs, beginning with an ambitious and acclaimed menu from opening chef Brandon Jew (lately of Mister Jiu's fame). The food menu has been pared back over time, and in the last couple of years has much briefer. Vogler now tells the Chronicle that the new iteration of Bar Agricole will still serve food, but he's looking to further refocus things on the drinks, and specifically regionalism in the spirits world. (The bar takes it name from Rhum Agricole, a vegetal type of rum from the French Caribbean that Vogler uses to make his beloved Ti Punch.)
Meanwhile, Vogler's newer operation Obispo — the rum-focused bar that opened a little over a year ago on 24th Street — is already temporarily closed as he looks to change the food menu and shift the vibe a bit. "We’re still gonna sell a lot of rum," he tells the Chronicle, "but just make it less Epcot center." Vogler says he was sensitive to the idea of a white guy trying to recreate a Caribbean-themed bar and restaurant in the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, and perhaps responding to such criticisms, the food menu is set to become less theme-y under a new chef. It's not yet clear when Obispo will reopen and relaunch, but stay tuned.