It always helps to have a gimmick when you're opening something new in this town, and the minds behind Holbrook House — the grand new restaurant opening September 6 in the old bank building at One Sansome — have come up with a clever one.
All the tables in the 60-seat dining room at Holbrook House have little switches built into them, one saying Martini, the other Champagne. These are meant to be like quick-service call buttons for these items — they each turn on a different light that summons either the Champagne cart, or the Martini cart, which will come to you for tableside service. It sounds like no one will be asking "gin or vodka?" though, because the cart will just be offering a selection of gins and vermouths, as well as garnishes — which is how it should be.
The Champagne cart will offer seven different Champagnes and sparkling wines by the glass.
Holbrook House, which we first caught wind of in May of last year, is one of several splashy openings in SF's still beleaguered downtown, with several bar owners and restaurateurs betting big that the area is going to be on the upswing soon. These include The Dawn Club, the jazz club and bar which opened this summer at 10 Annie Street (off Market next to the Palace Hotel) from the group behind Bourbon & Branch, Local Edition, etc.; The Harlequin, in the former Annabelle's space on 4th Street; and Bar Sprezzatura at 1 Maritime Plaza, which debuted almost a year ago now.
As the Chronicle tells us today (Eater got in for some early pictures as well), the elegant, fern-topped central bar at Holbrook House seats 24 people, and in addition to 60 table seats, there are 24 more in an outdoor patio area.
The restaurant has been incorporated into the grand "conservatory" of One Sansome, in the 1910 neo-classical building that was originally home to Anglo & London Paris National Bank, and later Crocker National Bank. It's part of a $23 million renovation that began last year on this and the 42-story Citibank tower next door.
The food menu, which will have options from morning to midnight, was created by chef Holly Stevens, a veteran of the kitchens of Aziza, Michael Mina, and Delfina. Seasonal toasts on Josey Baker bread will be part of the morning offerings along with egg dishes and Craftsman & Wolves pastries. Lunch will include a pork-and-beef burger, a fried chicken sandwich, as well as oyster and caviar service that will extend into the evening.
Stevens tells Eater, "We want to be a place that people can go, at any time of day," and there will be dishes of different price points available for all meals and appetites.
Luxury residential designer Jeff Schlarb helmed the design of Holbrook House, and as he told the Business Times last year, the idea was to make the place feel "intrinsically historical." He said that some of the marble, wood, and brass elements were inspired by a hotel cafe he saw in Geneva.
The team has also made comparisons to "Gatsby’s mansion," and wanting to evoke that sort of elegant 1920s atmosphere.
The skylighted "conservatory" area just beyond the restaurant can also be transformed into an event space with a capacity of 2,000, and the team says they already have some bookings this fall.
Look for the doors to swing open next Wednesday.
Holbrook House - One Sansome Street at Market - opening September 6
Top photo by Matthew Millman via Instagram