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A long-neglected San Francisco neighborhood that carried a somewhat undesirable reputation in past years, The Tenderloin has seen many recent improvements and is now one of the coolest places to be in the city. The rise of millennials working and residing in the area has encouraged a surge of adaptive reuse, including trendy new bars and restaurants. With an increasing popularity to both live and play in “The TL”, RetailSF, in conjuction with sister company, RentSFNow, have set out to help revitalize the area both from a residential and retail perspective through building improvements and the addition of unique new ground-floor retail tenants. One particular zone which is now a must-visit is the intersection of Geary and Leavenworth Streets to experience these tenants who reflect the trends and vibe of San Francisco.
Resolute Wine Bar
Recent building renovations at 676 Geary Street combined two previously small non-descript retail units into an ideal larger environment for Resolute Wine bar, now a stylish space known for well-curated drinks and knowledgeable staff. Owned by business partners Justin Deem and Daniel Brooker, the establishment underwent extensive interior renovations to make it a welcoming setting to relax, while still retaining the classic building infrastructure, including the original ceiling-high windows. New additions also included brass finishes throughout and a marble bar top that complements the exterior.
“We wanted somewhere that had a soul,” said Brooker in a Hoodline article, when looking for a perfect place to call their business home. The bar opened its doors in May of 2015 and has since been a favorite of many for happy hour or after-dinner drinks. The 48-seat space, designed by Zero Ten Design, offers bar and lounge seating, with an impressive artisanal wine list curated from small producers.
With an entry positioned exactly on the corner of Geary and Leavenworth, attracting foot-traffic from both streets, Rx (Remedy) has taken the bar space formerly occupied by Trocadero Club and BJ’s Sports Bar and transformed it with a Parisian/Prohibition-inspired décor that invokes a mysterious, entertaining, and surprising environment. The creative menu is based off of an actual prohibition-era prescription form for medicinal alcohol and features stimulating, stress relieving and painkiller-inspired drinks. Under management of Erick Ochoa, formerly of Michael Mina and Natoma Cabana, the unique focus is on amari and they host one of the largest collections of bitter and herbaceous bottles on the West Coast. The exterior of the bar includes a black-painted, steeled entrance, which wraps around the corner and a blacked-out clear story, which replaced an unappealing brick façade.
Elephant Sushi, occupying a cozy 12-seat space at 709 Geary, is a family-owned mini-chain focusing on an omakase menu. Previously a shawarma food joint, the exterior of the space underwent several enhancements, including the addition of a 600-pound steel door with LED lighting in the storefront and a projection light that projects the restaurant’s logo on the sidewalk. On the interior, suspended ropes adorn the walls and ceiling, and the dim lighting and chestnut wood surfaces make for an inviting and intimate atmosphere.
The latest popular addition to this block is Mensho Tokyo, the first U.S. outpost of a celebrated Japanese ramen restaurant chain. Offering traditional ramen dishes such as tori paitan ramen, organic shio (shoyu) ramen, and vegan tantanmen, Tenderloin residents can now get a unique taste of Japan right outside their door. The interior and exterior renovations were a labor of love to create just the right ambiance and included a beautifully updated façade, new marble entrances and a fresh coat of paint on the building to highlight its intricate historic details.