Northside SF  

The Tablehopper
The Washbag returns – plus new places where you can be an urban wino
By Marcia Gagliardi

North Beach history got a good shot in the arm with the reopening of the Washington Square Bar & Grill (1707 Powell Street, 415-433-1188). The new owners are business partners Liam and Susan Tiernan of Tiernan’s Pub in Fisherman’s Wharf. They did some major reconstruction, including replacing the floors, putting in an all-new kitchen, making the space ADA-compliant, and much more. The decor still feels very much the same to those who remember it well, but there are also new touches, like portraits on the walls by photographer Jock McDonald of local characters, including Willie, Robert Mondavi and Ed Moose. Most of the original kitchen staff returned, plus three bartenders (Mike McCourt, Mitch Gilbreath, Mike Fraser), and Leslie Hall will be hosting a few days a week; there’s piano jazz nightly. The chef is Jacques Rousseau, and his dinner menu includes approachable starters like mussels, a variety of salads, and calamari, plus main-dish pastas, a flatiron steak, roasted chicken breast, a pork rack, and pan-seared sea bass. The Washbag is open daily 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. for dining, with the bar open until 2 a.m. Lunch is served 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., a bar menu until 5 p.m., and then dinner from 5–10 p.m. Look for a big block party in April or May. Welcome back!

More North Beach news: found out the former Broadway Joe’s bar (which was later part of Piazza Navona) is going to transform into The Vin Club (515 Broadway), a project from Dario Zucconi of Tommaso’s (his family has owned Tommaso’s since 1973). As you can ascertain from the name, it’s going to be a wine bar, serving a number of boutique and artisanal wines, with plans to offer up to 40 selections by the glass. Salumi, a variety of grilled panini, and specialty cheeses will be offered as well. There will also be a series of wine classes, called wineED. The space’s polished look will include Tiffany lighting and the original mahogany floors – plus a bar top made of branded panels from boxes of high-end wines. The layout includes a lounge area with loveseats, plus a combination of seats at a variety of high tables, a communal table, small tables, and the 15-seat bar. Hours will be Wednesday–Thursday 4–11 p.m., Friday 4 p.m.–1 a.m., Saturday noon–1 a.m., Sunday noon–9 p.m., and the space will be available for special events on Mondays and Tuesdays. If all goes well, the opening should be in late April or so.

Another new place to get your wine on: Internos (3240 Geary Street, 415-751-2661) in the Richmond. The name is Latin for “between us,” and the venture is a partnership between Adnan Daken and Quinn Longbothum (also a couple). The majority of the wine list is domestic with a sprinkling of imports, and 18 wines offered by the glass (average cost is $12). There is a small menu of Mediterranean small plates, like bruschetta, hummus, cheeses, and salads – additional items will be added later. The space is rustic and comfy, with an easygoing vibe. There is espresso in the morning, and Wi-Fi is available. Should be a good spot to hang out before or after a movie at the Bridge Theatre, just a couple blocks away. There are 12 seats at the bar, plus a communal table, and additional table seating. Hours are 10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily.

Sommelier Paul Einbund, a partner in Coi, and his wife, Vanessa, are taking over a sandwich shop, Jona’s on Hyde, in Russian Hill. Once the investors are all finalized, the Einbunds will open Warmth (1800 Hyde Street), a combination cafe-retail shop/wine bar/yarn store.

(You got all that?) There will be around 24 seats, where you can enjoy a Blue Bottle Coffee pulled from what is hoped to be the first brand-new La San Marco lever machine in S.F. (only vintage lever machines are currently available). There will also be some teas (including pulled Malaysian), morning pastries and bread from Pinkie’s Bakery, and charcuterie from a local maker. Soyoung Scanlan of Andante will be selecting cheeses for Warmth, whether she is making them or importing them. Oh yeah, and there will be three kinds of grilled-cheese sandwiches, plus a few rotating specials. Look for some cheese events, from classes to tastings to visiting affineur meet-and-greets. Neighbors should be pleased with the retail component, because they can purchase their favorite fromages to bring home. Paul will select the beer and wine, including both a super-delicious yet affordable red and white wine available each month for retail purchase–around $10 a bottle. In the back, there will be a colorful floor-to-ceiling yarn shop. Warmth will be open daily from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Stand by for an opening date.

Now open: Midi (185 Sutter Street,415-835-6400), the new Joie de Vivre Hospitality restaurant project in the former Perry’s Downtown space (it adjoins the Galleria Park Hotel). Michelle Mah, formerly of Ponzu, is the executive chef of this California brasserie-style restaurant, and Michael Guthrie (Myth, BIX, Tra Vigne) designed the 2,500-square-foot space. There’s a full bar, open kitchen, and a casual dining area on the street level highlighted with hot pink accent lighting; the upstairs dining room overlooks Sutter Street, and is laid out in a mix of tables and banquettes upholstered in gray fabric with subtle, thin lines of color. Menu items include a starter of veal sweetbreads with celery root puree, chanterelles, celery leaf salad; a sample main dish is Liberty Farms duck breast with Carmargue red rice cake, pea tendrils, fava leaves, and ginger-rhubarb gastrique. Lunch and dinner Monday–Saturday.

On Fillmore Street, the upcoming second location of Woodhouse Fish Company (1914 Fillmore Street) now has a chef, Jon Hearnsberger, who was previously at the Anchor Oyster Bar for six years. The current plan is to open the first week of April.

A little bit down on Fillmore, Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles (1521 Eddy Street) moving into the former Powell’s, has delayed its opening date until May. The interior redesign was more significant than originally planned.

La Parrilla on Polk Street, is now just Parrilla (1760 Polk Street, 415-359-1212), and sporting a full liquor license. The place closed for a little while for some renovations to help it feel less taqueria-like and more cozy. There is a new hardwood platform by the bar, plus new tables and lighting, and other decor touches. And to go with that real margarita are some new specials, like chile con queso and tamales. Hours are 10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily.

La Folie (2316 Polk Street, 415-776-5577) is close to completing their lounge that’s opening in the space adjoining the restaurant (where La Boulange used to be). The lounge will serve cocktails, beer, and wine, with dishes like gougeres, oysters, a lobster croque monsieur, cheeses (that have their very own display case), pates, and small desserts. There are around 25 seats, with couches, small tables, dark hardwood floors, and a comfortable loungey vibe. The lounge is opening the first week of April, but you can take a sneak peek during La Folie’s 21st anniversary party on Tuesday, March 31. The party will start with an amuse bouche in the lounge, followed by a four-course dinner with a choice of cocktails paired by Grey Goose brand attaché Christophe Namer, or wine pairings by Georges Passot. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the Tocci family. Reception 6 p.m., dinner 7 p.m.; $125 (not including tax and gratuity).

Marcia Gagliardi also writes a popular weekly e-column about the S.F. dining scene; subscribe for free at and get it in your inbox every Tuesday. She additionally writes for San Francisco magazine, Edible San Francisco, and the weekly SFCVB blog, Foodie 411. Got a hot tip? E-mail

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