I've been within two blocks of the St. Regis more times than I can count, but I never went inside. It's not that hotel bars are taboo in San Francisco, they're just not on the radar. It took an exceptionally cold night and a dearth of cabs to get me to visit the St. Regis, but boy am I glad that I did.
The first thing that struck me was that the St. Regis space is really pretty.
The interior is comfortable.
Huge art that doesn't annoy me like other hotel bars. I actually kind of like it.
Fireplace? Yes please.
The cocktail menu is good, too.
The Da Kine cocktail is a lot of fun. Da Kine is a Hawaiian pidgin phrase with a variety of meanings, most often "like that." The rim is li hing mui, a sweet and sour powder common in Hawaii. Funnily enough, a handful of people at the St. Regis have strong ties to Hawaii, having either been born there or lived there for a number of years.
Smoked Manhattan––Ironically, this is a cocktail that came by way of a bartender in Hawaii named Christian Self, from 39 Hotel in Honolulu Chinatown. Talk about a taste of home!
That's a vanilla bean smoking in the snifter. The vanilla smoke helped bring out some of the richer notes in the rye.
What struck me most was the service at the St. Regis. As soon as I walked down I had water and bar snacks, which never happens at SF bars. The bartenders were incredibly serviceable and made me feel right at home. I had such a relaxing time at the St. Regis that I'd recommend everyone go there at least once, if only just to hang out.
St. Regis Hotel
125 San Francisco, CA 94103
(Across from MoMA)