An updated art deco bar whose first incarnation opened in the same spot at the Clift Hotel at 495 Geary Blvd in 1933, the Redwood Room is a smartly-appointed, cosmopolitan setting where San Francisco's beautiful people can meet and greet one another in an environment as attractive as its patrons.
Its historic original redwood paneling surrounds digital artwork on plasma television screens and lounge furniture designed by Philippe Starck as part of a 2001 renovation that drastically renovated the look of the room while maintaining a connection to its elegant past by imposing a monochromatic color scheme appropriate to the establishment's name and demolishing the existing 75-foot long bar and replacing it with an etched glass one.
The business day doesn't begin until a fashionably late 5 pm—an hour earlier on Fridays and Saturdays—the chic set presumably disinclined to making the scene before early evening at the very soonest. For those eager enough to venture in even as early as that, there is, in lieu of a Happy Hour, a "Decompression Menu" (which is a fancily-worded way of saying "bar menu"), consisting of beer and wine and olives and peanuts, available Monday though Thursday from 5 to 7 PM.
Later in the evening one can still order from the full dinner menu, a small but select group of entrees, salads, appetizers and desserts, the last including house-made ice cream and the Rooftop Honey Cake, which presumably can be eaten right there on the ground floor, belying its name. The cocktail menu includes the Redwood Room's custom Martini, in both regular and premium varieties, and a drink called the Cool Desire which will surely offer all the connection anyone needs to make in a given night.
End of week sees music provided by DJs ranging from local talent to international. No dress code is advertised, but it's been rumored that less charismatic potential clientele sometimes have difficulty getting past the dreaded velvet rope, so careful thought put to one's wardrobe is advised. Call (415) 929-2372 reservations after 9 PM.
Writer and bon vivant J. Eric Miller lives, loves, and laughs in San Francisco and its environs. Follow his further adventures at theupsanddownsofsanfrancisco.tumblr.com.