It might suffice to tell you that a new rooftop bar has opened in San Francisco and you would guess that the spot is worth your time. But that’s not even half the story.
Charmaine’s, the posh lounge with panoramic vistas from atop Mid-Market’s recently opened Kelly Wearstler–designed Proper Hotel, could probably get away with resting on its fire pits, city views and celebrity style trappings. It would draw the locals once or twice, perhaps, before finally becoming a tourist hot spot, the kind of place where Millennials take their in-laws. But BV Hospitality, the company behind the project, is capturing the tastebuds of San Franciscans with an overall recipe customized for locals.
Expert cocktails come courtesy of everybody’s favorite bartenders, Josh Harris and Morgan Schick (of Trick Dog and The Bon Vivants). They’ve cultivated a bar menu brimming with personality and categorized names like big and beautiful, tall and fun, and pretty and proofless; the most exotic of which include ingredients like banana bread (Cuddly Toy) or Szechuan peppercorn (Strange Effect). But good drinks can be had anywhere. This place does happy hour proper with high-class comfort bites—think fancy hot dogs, plump sliders, and playful cheese plates—by James Beard Award–nominated chef Jason Franey (formerly of Monterey’s 1833 and Eleven Madison Park in New York).
If not to eat or drink, Charmaine’s decor alone makes it worthy of a visit. The design is curated by Kelly Wearstler—who has decked the halls of major hotels like the Avalon Beverly Hills and Viceroy hotels as well as styled homes of celebrities such as Gwen Stefani and Cameron Diaz. You may even own a piece of her work without even knowing it; within her spread of design-oriented businesses, she maintains a luxury homewares line at Harrods, has a collection of books, self-branded lifestyle goods, and designer bridal products. Her signature style is felt through Charmaine’s—a bold, vivid energy. She has designed the space to feel like you’ve entered somewhere cool. From the mixed collection of printed chairs to the red metal accents speckled throughout the space, everything is both topsy-turvy and chaotic while being cohesively entrancing.
A rundown of Charmaine’s
The atmosphere at Charmaine’s is strikingly modern while keeping cozy and plush, thanks to deep seating and warming fire pits. No reservations are accepted, so arrive early to snag a primo spot.
No seats by the fire? There’s plenty of space around the bar indoors—and you can still see the city lights from its location 120-feet above the streets. The Wearstler-designed space is bold and luxurious—a mix of striped, checkered, and floral prints adorn the comfy armchairs and embellish the walls, while vivid red accents in the forms of lamps and columns.
In the mood for something bright? Order a Kissin’ in the California Sun, a concoction of Elyx vodka, orgeat, crème de pêche, cranberry, and lime served over crushed ice.
The more classically inclined can trust that the bartenders know how to pull together a smooth Old Fashioned.
Talk about a tease: The sliders—topped with melted cheddar, tomato confit, pickles, lettuce, and savory special sauce —will leave you wishing you could order this juicy burger in entree-size.
Take heart—the fries are the crispy and sinfully salty, with a light dusting of herbs and a side of aïoli.
If you need some greens, don’t panic—there’s a kale salad with a sprinkling of crunchy puffed seeds, pickled white onions, and seeded vinaigrette.
The Proper Hotel has a prime location on the west end of Market Street, just far enough from the skyscrapers of downtown to result in a stunning, glittery view. Already, the best seats in the house go by 6pm on weekdays.
As if designed to celebrate the hotel’s holiday season opening, the Proper Cup puts a twist on the classic Pimm’s Cup with a bit of blackberry, black pepper and a healthy slice of cuke.
The entrance to Charmaine’s is tucked under an entrance off the McAllister Street side of the Proper Hotel.