Customers are starting to “ooh” and “ah” over the interiors at an unusually opulent new bar and restaurant, Commons Club, inside the freshly opened Virgin Hotels SF (only the second such hotel from the corporation best known for its records and jets). Commons Club is the hotel’s headliner, and it’s playing now, but soon it will be part of a trio of venues including a rooftop bar.
Located on the ground floor of the new, 200-room destination at 250 Fourth Street (across from Yerba Buena Gardens and Moscone Center), Commons Club is led by chef Adrian Garcia (Quince, Benu), and his menus are worth ogling along with the décor.
By day, Garcia’s kitchen serves fare like grain bowls (with charred eggplant, sesame, and cabbage) and “gypsy toast” (spiced pumpkin bread, butternut squash, maple, and cinnamon). By night, a dinner menu features “bread service” of buttery parker house rolls, Marin Miyagi oysters (prepared with finger lime, coriander, and horseradish), and larger dishes like wild mushroom tortelloni and Sonoma duck (with ruby beet, broccoli rabe, and guajillo chili). A bar menu also boasts items like Dungeness crab chowder and an “uncommon burger” with oven-dried tomato, bacon jam, and aged white cheddar. Pastry chef Jozephene Gutierrez is preparing desserts like coconut panna cotta.
Also at the bar, customers will find show-stopping drinks from bar director Tommy Quimby (previously of Rich Table and Trick Dog). Nodding to Virgin’s roots in the music business, Quimby’s cocktails namecheck artists like Culture Club (Spring 44 Gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, hibiscus, blood orange served on ice) and Tangerine Dream (with Absolut Elyx, Aperol, tangerine juice, and peppermint ginger).
Hager Design International is behind the interiors of the new hotel, and Matthew Rolston is the creative director behind its public spaces including the Commons Club. The vibe is billed as “a mix between San Francisco’s Victorian-era past, the city’s 1960s rock ’n’ roll appropriation of Victorian styling, and a 19th-century British feel,” which is a lot to take in, at least written out. A second Commons Club lounge area, dubbed the “shag room,” has deep purple velvet chairs and its own bar, and the vibe in the whole space will be propelled by rotating DJs.
Come March, the Commons Club won’t be the only dining and drinking destination at Virgin Hotels SF. It’s soon to be joined by a ground-floor coffee shop and lounge, called Funny Library, serving Laughing Man espresso drinks (a coffee company co-founded, it so happens, by Hugh Jackman). At Funny Library, chef Garcia will have light bites and baked goods, including some from Craftsman and Wolves. And then there’s the capstone: A rooftop bar called Everdene, designed by Gensler San Francisco and featuring more of Quimby’s cocktails.