The neo-classical 1910 bank building at the corner of Sutter and Sansome streets, just off of Market, has been an underutilized, glorified lobby for the attached Citibank tower at One Sansome for decades. Now the owner has decided to reinvigorate the grand, centrally located space as a bar, restaurant and event space— in another sign of landlords feeling bullish about the future of the Financial District.

It began life as the Anglo & London Paris National Bank, and was later the home of Crocker National Bank (which would be subsumed in the 1980s by Wells Fargo). Sitting next to one of the entrances to the Montgomery BART station, the building's street-level doors and windows have been frosted over in the last decade, not allowing passersby to see in to the vaulted interior, well lit with skylights. Known lately as the "Conservatory" for the 42-story One Sansome next door, it's set to become something much more lively, as building owner Barker Pacific Group has begun a buildout to turn it into a lavish lounge and dining space.

Photo: Google Street View
One Sansome when it was Crocker Bank, with the Holbrook Building to the left. Photo: Library of Congress

"[It will be] like you’re looking at Gatsby’s mansion, and there’s a party going on and you’re wondering what’s happening," says bar and restaurant manager Phil Spiegel, speaking to the Chronicle. "And you’re looking through, you’re seeing this beautiful space, and you’re seeing activity, and it’s fun, and it’s active."

Spiegel adds, "It’s going to be where people drink martinis and sip champagne and feel very good about it. We want the restaurant and bar to match the opulence of the building."

Rendering via DES Architects & Engineers via Barker Pacific Group

Spiegel, a veteran of the nearby Julia Morgan Ballroom, is leading the restaurant and bar project, and it will be named Holbrook House — after the building that once stood just behind this bank building, which was demolished to build the 42-story tower that's now known as One Sansome.

The team is aiming to have Holbrook House open by early 2023.

Rendering via DES Architects & Engineers via Barker Pacific Group

Michael Barker, CEO of Barker Pacific Group, tells the Chronicle that Holbrook House is one of multiple improvements his group is making to the complex, which has a bit of now that Citi gave up five of its floors during the pandemic — it's reportedly 88% leased as of recently.

In all, Barker Pacific is investing $20 million into the two buildings, adding to the $100 million they've invested since purchasing the property out of foreclosure in 2010. Improvements also include other tenant amenities — and a tenant of the upper floors has their own penthouse bar.

We don't yet know any details beyond "martinis and Champagne" when it comes to the Holbrook House menu plans, but stay tuned. The space will have capacity for 2,000 people, and Barker Pacific hopes it will catch on as a non-hotel event-space rental, too.