Sir Francis Drake Hotel’s Iconic Club is Now Lizzie’s Starlight

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Long considered one of San Francisco’s nightlife staples, the Starlight Room received a head-to-toe makeover late last year and is now a sleek, sexy spot known as Lizzie’s Starlight. Located on the 21st floor of Kimpton’s Sir Francis Drake Hotel, the evening destination offers 360-degree views of the city as well as some stunning scenery within.

The design of Lizzie’s Starlight pays homage to the original 1920s opening while layering on modern touches to dig deeper into the history of the hotel’s namesake. Apparently, Sir Francis Drake had a love affair with none other than Queen Elizabeth I, so guests of Lizzie’s Starlight can expect to step into something of a live-action imagination of their love letters. The decor is equal parts masquerade ball and Studio 54, and the bites and beverages are served up in truly unique ways.

The space features white walls, crown moldings, and flexible interior walls inspired by 16th century ruff collars. There’s a single curvilinear pewter stone-top bar at the heart of the space, and pyrometric lighting throughout. Helmed by Dawson Design Associates, Lizzie’s Starlight includes raised ceilings and extended windows to create a tall, light, 4,100 square-feet of space. DDA exposed the original architecture in the form of clay tiles and brick walls and leaned on mostly white interiors and minimal furniture. The loft space features a wide-plank oak warehouse floor, sectional sofas, and wrought iron and crystal chandeliers.

Photo credit: Aubrie Pick
Photo credit: Aubrie Pick
Photo credit: Aubrie Pick

In partnership with art consultant Julie Coyle, original art pieces include a large entry piece entitled “Her Majesty” by Michael Kirkbride, a playful rendition of Queen Elizabeth I by Ryan Burke, a custom fragmented mirror by Allen Miesner, and an 18- by 9-foot sculptural wall upon entry inspired by Elizabeth’s neck collar and underlit for drama. The custom Pioneer sound system, acoustic flooring, and pyrometric lighting is all controlled by touch (iPads), and the glass- and service-ware reflects the same mix of old and new with high-end, heirloom pieces and retro throwbacks.

Photo credit: Aubrie Pick
Photo credit: Aubrie Pick

Chef Justin Deering puts high-luxury ingredients to use in his menu of approachable dishes. The Caviar Cannoli features a fresh cannoli shell filled with whipped crème fraiche and private label beluga caviar, dipped in fresh chives; while the house-made Seafood Sausage is served lobster roll-style on a brioche bun with summer pepper relish. FYI, there’s also a “Spoil Me” option, which offers one of everything on the menu.

Photo credit: Aubrie Pick

Pastry Chef Kimberly Bugler serves up sweets that are serious sensory experiences, like The Candied Apple, which is cut open to reveal layers of apple butter mousse, lemon apple compote, white chocolate shell, and graham cracker sable. The Drake’s Pearl looks like a delicious piece of jewelry and comes with an edible letter from Lizzie to Drake. Hot Toddy caramel is poured over the “pearl” to reveal an earl grey “tea-rimisu” with honey cardamom ladyfingers and a blood orange gelee.

Photo credit: Aubrie Pick

The cocktail list draws inspiration from Drake’s travels around the the globe, as well as his love affair with Lizzie, of course. Exploration: The New Albion is named for Drake’s landing at Point Reyes, and pays homage to the classic Gold Rush cocktail, amping up the traditional combination of bourbon, honey, and lemon is amped up with a few drops of absinthe and garnished with amaranth frond, native to the California coastland. 

Photo credit: Aubrie Pick

Lizzie’s Starlight features an array of experiences throughout the week, from live string musicians to “Studio Sessions” featuring a blend of live band and DJ sampling. Friday and Saturday nights feature a rotating roster of local and nationally established touring DJs peppered with various performances and surprises and Sundays emulate an elevated garden party with champagne, wine, cocktails, and much more. The flexible interior design features convertible air-walls to section off various portions of the space for highly customized private dining and events, and events of all sizes can opt to include a portion of the main bar or a private mobile bar, the main dance floor or a separate space with roving DJ booth.


Located at 450 Powell Street, at Sutter Street, in San Francisco, Lizzie’s Starlight is open Wednesday and Thursday 5:00pm-12:00am, Friday and Saturday 2:00pm-2:00am, and Sunday 1:00pm-8:00pm. Closed for private events Monday and Tuesday. For more information, call 415.395.8595 or go to https://lizziesstarlightsf.com/.

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