Historic San Francisco Building Welcomes Fifth Arrow and August HallAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
When Ruby Skye and Slide, the sometimes-loved, sometimes-loathed San Francisco concert and club venues closed their doors last year, music fans began buzzing about their potential replacements. The wait finally ended last month when August Hall, the city’s new live music and special event space, and Fifth Arrow, its downstairs sister dining and drinking establishment, opened for business at the Native Sons of the Golden West building at 420 Mason Street.
Let’s start at the bottom. Fifth Arrow isn’t just your run-of-the-mill downtown bar. It’s an underground cocktail lounge, gaming parlor and restaurant that serves up elevated rustic cuisine from executive chef Joey Booterbaugh and features Union Square’s first and only bowling lanes, and vintage video games. Housed in a historic, 90-year-old subterranean space that served as a 1930s speakeasy, Fifth Arrow is the brainchild of SF hospitality veterans Nate Valentine, Scott Murphy, Chad Donnelly, and Justin Roja, and combines modern, semi-industrial design with classic style and authenticity. In addition to three bowling lanes, guests will find skee ball, vintage video games, and six flat screen TVs for maximum sports fanaticism.
Jordan Dunn (Padrecito), Jamal Blake-Williams (Harper & Rye) and David Ruiz (Junior Bar) joined forces to together to deliver a bar program that features $12 craft cocktails like the Cut Point with bourbon, amaro, ginger solution, Campari, pineapple gum, ango and yuzu. The beer list includes domestic and local brews from the likes of Magnolia, Lagunitas, Stone and Fieldwork, and there’s also a variety of red and white wines curated from Napa Valley, Argentina, Italy, Austria and beyond. Booterbaugh, formerly of LA-based Bar Angeles and Café Birdie, has created a menu of shared plates, fresh house-made pastas, and pizza made in a brick-lined deck Marsal Pizza Oven. A few special features: grilled asparagus with burrata, pine nuts, currants, brown butter and chive blossoms; meatballs with Sunday gravy, parsley, pecorino and semolina focaccia; and arancini with mozzarella, fontal, and hazelnut aioli. The restaurant accommodates up to 300 people and is available for private events.
Sharing a dual entry lobby with Fifth Arrow is its upstairs sister space, August Hall. In partnership with Live Nation Entertainment, the venue is set to host performers of all genres (Johnny Marr, Aly & AJ, Superfruit, and more are featured on the June lineup) and major music events. Named after its 1890s architect August Headman, the space preserves the original structure while incorporating state-of-the-art-technical touches.
Designed by Britt Hull of the Tide Design Co. and Clinton Miller of Parisa O’Connell Interior Design, the 15,000 sq. foot space has been redesigned to acommodate up to 1,000 guests and features a theater- style stage and expansive main floor, surrounded by an open balcony, wraparound grand mezzanine with a tucked away side bar, and new sound and lighting booth. Art Deco accents like brass and gold details play up the space’s historic crown molding and filigree and Cameron Helvey custom lighting and steel arched mirrors with mid-century modern sconces bring extra light and drama. Each of August Hall’s bar tops are finished with butterfly joints and constructed from a single Monterey Pine tree, locally sourced within 50 miles of the city. The 20 high-vaulted arched walls in the mezzanine feature restored stained glass windows depicting the profiles of notable members of The Native Sons of the Golden West including Jack London, Richard Nixon and former Governor and Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren.
Delivering an elevated VIP experience, yet open to everyone, The Green Room is a private enclave nestled in the corner of the second floor tucked behind the marquee. The intimate space features a brass bar, forest green hand-textured walls, deep tufted upholstered banquettes, and dimly lit custom brass. The custom velvet floor-to-ceiling banquette and bar seating allows guests to kick back and relax while sampling seasonal or classic craft cocktails. A wooden library wall, housing a built-in vintage piano from the original venue and flea market finds like vintage radios, instruments, and records.
Fifth Arrow and August Hall are both located at 420 Mason Street. Fifth Arrow is open Tuesday through Sunday. Happy hour begins at 4 p.m., followed by dinner from 5-11 p.m., and a social menu offered for late-night diners from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. A daytime menu and brunch service to be announced at a later date. Bowling is available for reservations; walk-ins are also welcome. Head to www.fiftharrow.com for more information, and follow @fiftharrowsf on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
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