In case you hadn't heard, two new nightclubs are headed for downtown San Francisco, with the owners banking on the fact that the wholesale-abandonment-of-SF story has been overblown.
SFist told you last fall about The Dawn Club, a revival of a mid-20th-Century jazz club with an entrance just off Market Street that is returning, in revised and renovated form, to the same subterranean space it occupied in the 1930s and 40s. That space is in the basement of the Monadnock Building (685 Market Street), and the entrance will once again be on the side alley that backs up to the service entrance of the Palace Hotel, at 10 Annie Street.
The team behind it is being led by Future Bars partners Doug Dalton and Brian Sheehy — Future Bars being the hospitality group behind Bourbon & Branch, Pagan Idol, Rickhouse and more recent entries on the scene like Bottle Club Pub and Nightingale.
Sheehy tells the SF Business Times that they're aiming for a spring opening of The Dawn Club — it sounds like sometime in May — and the $3 million project's continued life is due in large part to landlords Brookfield Properties (own also own Stonestown) forgiving their rent during the pandemic and helping make sure the project didn't die.
Part of the deal also includes bringing two of Future Bars' other businesses to street-level spaces at the Monadnock — Lark Bar (the former Dave's) on Third Street, and next-door bottle shop Cask. Brookfield believes that the three businesses will provide amenities to the building that will benefit everyone in the long run.
As SFist discussed in October, The Dawn Club was a notable venue for what was called The Great Revival in American jazz, when young musicians, just prior to World War II, began rediscovering and being inspired by older New Orleans jazz. The space also played host to integrated bands at a time when this was not permitted by the local musicians' union.
The new 4,000-square-foot Dawn Club will feature live music, an extensive whiskey collection, and a bar program overseen by Future Bars bartender Jayson Wilde.
A few blocks away on Minna Street, the former Harlot nightclub space is also coming back alive, and has been in use as a lounge and event space. The Business Times reports that it is getting a $2 million remodel, and it will reopen this fall as Madarae, a spot focused on weekday happy hours and later-evening lounge nights on weekends.
The owner behind Madarae is Arash Ghanadan, who is an owner at Dahlia, Novela and Barbarossa. He promises that the new club will bring "a whole new experience" to the downtown scene with "state of the art" audio and visual elements, and a new cocktail program by Dan McGee. Menus are already online, and include a bar-snack menu with caviar, cheese board, and sandwich options.
The business's nascent website is billing it as a "boutique cocktail lounge and private club," and Ghanadan tells the Business Times there will be a private VIP area, as well as a glass-enclosed smoking section. A section of the website is advertising memberships — which are free, and which presumably are meant as a marketing tool.
At the moment, reservations are available for cocktails next week and beyond, so it's not clear when the remodel is happening. The Business Times notes that the place has been in use for private events for a while now.
In related news, the historic bank building at Sutter and Sansome is undergoing renovations to become a splashy new bar and restaurant called Holbrook House, which we first heard about almost a year ago. The opening timeframe for that project remains unclear, but may be later this year.
Photo: The interior at Harlot/Madarae, via Madarae's website