San Francisco’s New barvale Brings a Taste of Spain to NoPaAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
When Back of the House founder Adriano Paganini set his sights on opening a Spanish restaurant, he had one thing in mind: tapas. “I don’t feel like anyone has truly captured the essence of a tapas bar in San Francisco,” he wrote on his new venture’s website. “Are there good Spanish restaurants in San Francisco? Sure! But where most of the Spanish restaurants have positioned themselves as destinations—offering $45 paella that takes 45 minutes to cook and a bar menu that features 50 different gin and tonics.” Rather than following the trends, Paganini went back to basics and launched barvale, a Divisadero Street tapas bar that’s an accessible and unpretentious welcome addition to the NoPa neighborhood.
Chef Patricio “Pato” Duffoo works with locally sourced, high-quality ingredients to create a menu of small plates designed for sharing. Drawing from traditional Spanish tapas culture, Duffoo creates palate-pleasing dishes that look deceptively simple in presentation but are bursting with bold flavor. The menu features both cold and hot dishes, including favorites like pan con tomate (toasted bread, tomato jam, garlic, olive oil); tortilla de patata (Spanish potato and onion omelette), gambas (garlic oil poached head on shrimp, preserved lemon, bread) and the ultimate crowd-pleaser, patatas bravas (fried potatoes, smoke brava sauce, aioli). At the bar, pintxos—small bites served on skewers—are available as accompaniments to cocktails and sherries.
Spanish born industry vet Jessica Everett helms the bar, offering an innovative drink menu that’s anything but stuffy. Each unique cocktail offers a satisfying blend of fresh and savory flavors, often incorporating sherry, Spanish wine, and Spanish vermouth. strikes a balance between refreshing and savory, mimicking the two pronounced characteristics of sherry. The menu will also feature a house gin and tonic and three gin and tonics designed around four distinct flavor profiles. Jessica and her team tasted through over 40 different gins and worked with gin’s aromatics and tonic’s bitter quality before landing on the four flavor profiles that will be represented in the gin and tonics. The Spanish favorite Kalimotxo—a drink consisting of equal parts red wine and cola-based soft drink—and house-made sangria, will round out the menu.
Hannah Collins of Hannah Collins Designs infused the space with Barcelona influences, incorporating color, communal tables, and a standing tapas bar. The spacious interior includes a 32-person bar adjacent to a 65-seat dining room, and the venue will soon open a private event space called the Pintxo Room, which can comfortably accommodate 50 people.
barvale is located at 661 Divisadero St. and is Sunday–Thursday, 5 pm – midnight, Friday & Saturday, 5 pm – 1 am.