A new wine bar offshoot of Saison is opening this spring a block away from the Michelin two-star restaurant on Townsend Street, and at the helm is Saison co-founder and sommelier Mark Bright.

Two weeks ago we had word that Saison Cellar & Wine Bar was coming to 228 and 234 Townsend Street — two adjoining spaces, one of which previously was home to Petit Marlowe and, before that, Bright's wine bar concept Les Clos. And now we have some more details on the opening and the concept.

The former Petit Marlowe and Les Clos space will become the new wine bar, while Saison Cellar will live in the space two doors over — and will be a member-only affair. The initial deal will be $5,000/year for membership, and inaugural members will get access to a temperature controlled wine storage area, with personal lockers that can store up to 78 bottles. That $5,000 will also serve as a credit, available to use to buy bottles throughout the year from Saison Cellar. After the first year, a $3,000 credit will be applied annually at the wine bar.

Les Clos only lasted from mid 2014 to late 2016, and Bright says he's learned a lot since then — and opened a wine bar under the Saison brand in Scotts Valley, in Santa Cruz County.

"I learned a lot about the plateware, what food we want to serve, the pâtés, how the wine flights should work," Bright tells SFist. "So when the San Francisco space opens, we'll be dialed in."

For food, Bright is partnering with Maison Nico, which will be providing a daily supply of terrines and pâtés, as well as sliced-to-order charcuterie, cheeses, and caviar service.

Les Clos was an all-day, breakfast, lunch and dinner spot, but the new wine bar will be more focused, and open only the late afternoon and evening — probably 2 pm to 10 pm, Bright says. Bright sold the business to the Big Night Hospitality team in 2017, largely because he was getting married and spending more time in Santa Cruz, he says. But now he's ready to bring his extensive wine knowledge and collection to an SF audience again, with possible plans for more wine bars down the road.

Since 2016, Bright has been operating Saison Winery in Santa Cruz County producing, primarily Pinot Noir but also Chardonnay, Syrah, and wines from several other varietals. The winery has a tasting room in Los Gatos, and then in 2023, Bright opened the first Saison Cellar & Wine Bar in Scotts Valley. Additionally, he launched a retail and mail-order business under the Saison Cellar name in 2019, offering rare and unusual finds from Burgundy, Champagne, Italy and elsewhere, as well as more budget-friendly wines from around the world.

"Some are $20 and some are $2000 — we work with the whole spectrum of wine out there," Bright says.

The by-the-glass menu at the Scotts Valley wine bar, which Bright says will be similar to what's offered at the San Francisco location, has a range of interesting finds, with multiple glasses in the $15 to $24 range.

"It's all about affordable luxury," Bright says.

As for wine regions, there will also be a broad spectrum represented on the menu — with especially big representations of France and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Bright tells us he already has a significant amount of interest in membership, so he does not expect to have trouble filling the space. Find information about membership here.

In the wine bar, he says, there will also occasionally be wine education sessions, after the place gets off the ground.

Bright served as partner and front-of-house manager for Saison both after it opened on Folsom Street, behind Stable Cafe in the Mission District, back in 2009, and after its big move to Townsend Street in 2013. In 2014, the restaurant earned three Michelin stars, but later was downgraded to two stars following the departure of founding chef Joshua Skenes. The team later opened Angler on The Embarcadero in 2018. A second Angler location in Los Angeles closed last year.

Look for Saison Cellar & Wine Bar to open sometime in June, with the exact opening date still to be determined.

Saison Cellar & Wine Bar - 228 and 234 Townsend Street, San Francisco - opening in June