The left door is opened, from the owners of Bus Stop Saloon, in San Francisco.

The left door is opened, from the owners of Bus Stop Saloon, in San Francisco.

Inside Left Door, a new cocktail lounge opening in San Francisco.

Inside Left Door, a new cocktail lounge opening in San Francisco.

Courtesy left door

The owners of one of San Francisco’s oldest bars are opening a swanky new cocktail venue this week, upstairs.

The Left Door opens Wednesday, Nov. 22, above the 123-year-old bus stop saloon at 1901 Union St. In the Cow Hollow neighborhood. (It’s named after the entrance on the Union Street side of the building that leads to the second floor.) Owners Joseph Wallace and Robert Lemons bought the building and bar in 2021, and have been working on converting the second-floor space for the past year and a half.

“Our hope is that it will serve as a toast to the soul of the city, especially as we press to continue our comeback from the pandemic,” Wallace wrote in an email to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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While Bus Station, open since 1900, is a bustling sports bar, Left Door cultivates a different vibe. It’s a cozy cocktail lounge, complete with dirty martinis, caviar bumps and reservations. The pub’s website encourages people to “dress to impress” and “limit phone use”.

A large tufted sofa and velvet chairs surround the fireplace. Floral wallpaper, mismatched framed prints, and a classic San Francisco picture window overlooking the street make it feel like you’re in a friend’s living room.

San Francisco's newest bar is Left Door, which opens above the old establishment Bus Stop Saloon in Cow Hollow.

San Francisco’s newest bar is Left Door, which opens above the old establishment Bus Stop Saloon in Cow Hollow.

Courtesy left door

Drinks lean toward the classics but with local touches, like the Drill ($24) with wasabi from Half Moon Bay Wasabi or the Manhattan ($21) with TCHO chocolate. There’s an entire section dedicated to martinis, plus optional olive pairings with blue or goat cheese, Meyer lemon peel or caviar. The Dirty Martini ($21) is made with Monterey Bay seaweed, olive brine, and Hog Island sea salt brine. Or customers can order a $25 shot of bourbon with a can of Budweiser. Wine, beer, cider and non-alcoholic drinks are also available.

As for food, don’t expect average snacks; The menu includes Wagyu beef chops with miso butter ($65) and lobster crudo ($32) topped with chili oil, puffed beans and fried shallots. The caviar service ($80 to $210 or $12) comes with crème fraîche, crème fraîche, egg yolk sauce and chips. For dessert, there’s a homemade version of the nostalgic choco taco for two ($18) filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with cajeta (Mexican caramel) and candied cacao nibs.

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Left Door will be closed on Thanksgiving and then resume normal business hours on Friday, November 24th.

Left door. Opening November 22. 5:30pm – midnight Tuesday – Wednesday, 5:30pm – 2am Thursday – Saturday. 1905 Union Street, San Francisco. leftdoorsf.com

Contact Elena Kadvany: elena.kadvany@sfchronicle.com

    (tags for translation) San Francisco Chronicle 

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