Cafe Du Nord is Reopening
image from Eater SF
Big News: Cafe Du Nord is reopening on Wednesday June 17th. A lot of people, including myself were bummed when it closed last year. Du Nord was a legendary spot to see music and is where many great bands first got their start.
As it reopens it appears that it will be more of a restaurant and bar now, though it will have live music 7 nights a week in the “Viking Room”.
I’ve copied and pasted the full press release below since I have to run out to practice for Friday’s episode of The Kinda Late Show (get your tix here). But I’m very curious to know your thoughts on all this. Please leave them in the comments:
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (June 15, 2015) – The Bon Vivants and Ne Timeas Restaurant Group are pleased to announce that San Francisco icon, Café du Nord (2174 Market Street), will officially reopen on June 17, 2015. The bar combines the talents of The Bon Vivants, James Beard Foundation Award nominee for Outstanding Bar Program, and Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, which operates flour + water, central kitchen, salumeria and Aatxe. Together, The Bon Vivants and Ne Timeas Restaurant Group’s chef and partner, Thomas McNaughton, three-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee for Rising Star Chef, pay homage to the history of Café du Nord and have created a food, beverage and entertainment program inspired by 100 years of San Francisco nightlife.
“Café du Nord has always been a neighborhood bar, and we are thrilled to help bring it back as such to Upper Market,” said Morgan Schick, creative director for The Bon Vivants. “Partnering with Ne Timeas and Thomas is ideal, because we all share the same goal of honoring this cultural landmark.”
Located in the subterranean level of the Swedish American Hall, which was built in 1907 and officially designated a San Francisco Historic Landmark in 2015, Café du Nord originally opened the same year the hall was built. Throughout the years, the space has served as nightclub, restaurant, bar and music hall and an integral part of San Francisco’s history and culture. Acknowledging the timeless appeal of this establishment, The Bon Vivants, McNaughton and his Ne Timeas partners have thoughtfully restored the bar and created food and beverage menus for guests to celebrate all occasions while honoring the legacy of the local icon.
The cocktail list, created by The Bon Vivants, is inspired by Café du Nord’s century of service as a bar, nightclub and San Francisco destination. The cocktail program features The Bon Vivants’ signature attention to detail using high quality, unique ingredients. Menu highlights include the Södermalm, a nod to the building’s Swedish history with Rittenhouse Rye, Punt e Mes vermouth, Cherry Heering and Café du Nord Fika bitters; and the Martini du Nord with Ford’s Gin and oyster shell-infused Noilly Prat vermouth. Additional drinks on the list represent The Bon Vivants’ spin on over a hundred years of drinking history, using new ingredients to create cocktails reminiscent of classics. Offerings include The Golden Era with George Dickel Rye, maple sugar and fig leaf bitters; Armory & Arsenal with Perry’s Tot Gin, pine nut and lemon; The Diggers with Tequila Ocho Plata, Chablis, peach, zatar and lime; and Stern Grove with Appleton rum, Tariquet Armagnac, Kummel, smoked pineapple, lime and coffee tincture. In addition to the cocktail list, Café Du Nord will offer a selection of craft beer and a wide selection of spirits, including thoughtful Scotch and American whiskey lists.
The wine program at Café du Nord, curated by Ne Timeas Restaurant Group wine directors Geno Tomko and Samuel Bogue, focuses on Champagne and the diverse wines found throughout that region. With an emphasis on vintage bottles from historic Grande Marques houses to small grower producers, this list provides a broad representation of the entire Champagne region. Additional wines on the list originate from top producers in classic regions such as Chianti, Burgundy, and Côtes du Rhône. In a nod to the tradition of Champagne served as celebratory drink, and as a way to make coveted vintages accessible to all, all bottles of Champagne will be half-price after midnight, seven days a week.
Chef Thomas McNaughton has created a menu inspired by classic dishes found throughout watering holes and eateries in America in the 20th Century, and influenced by his passion for local ingredients. The menu is available to guests throughout the entire bar and options range from small snacks to pair with a drink at the bar to larger plates more suited to a seated meal.
Bar snacks include Popcorn, Bar Nuts and Beef Jerky. Fresh seafood including Broiled Oysters Kilpatrick, Shrimp Cocktail and Raw Oysters is a nod to the California coast. In addition to a selection of appetizers, McNaughton’s menu features classic entrees like the Burger du Nord, Cioppino, Chicken al Mattone and a Rib Eye Steak. To complement the half-price Champagne after midnight, Café Du Nord will also offer $1 oysters.
“This has been one of our most exciting projects to date, and to work alongside The Bon Vivants to revitalize Café du Nord has been an incredible experience,” says McNaughton. “Such a storied space offers the extraordinary opportunity to create a menu that speaks to this 100 year history of the building and pay tribute to its legacy.”
Renovations to the 4,500 square foot space, led by Ne Timeas Restaurant Group partner David White, draw design inspiration from the Café du Nord of the 1930’s and 1940’s. The wood wainscoting is complemented by vintage wallpaper, deco-era light fixtures and a 1930’s-era color palette of soft greens and grays. Café du Nord is divided into two rooms: The Bar in the front and the Viking Room in the back. Upon entering the space, guests descend a flight of stairs into The Bar, which features a 20-seat bar, complete with the original 107-year-old backbar and café table seating for 20. The Viking Room has a five-seat bar, 30 seats for guests seeking a full-service dining experience, and a stage for musical acts, which will highlight local artists.
Café du Nord will host live music seven nights a week in the Viking Room, in keeping with the recent history of the storied room. Programming will highlight local artists playing a range of styles including jazz, blues and cocktail piano, as a complement to guests’ drinking and dining experiences. Guests can make reservations by phone for the Viking Room.
Café du Nord is located at 2174 Market Street (between Church and Sanchez) in San Francisco and is open every night, from 5:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Food is served until 1:30 a.m. For more information, please visit www.cafedunord.com.