After many months of renovations to the historic Swedish American Hall, iconic music venue Café du Nord is finally open for business. The venue, which originally opened its doors in 1907, has undergone a revamp under the steady hands of Ne Timeas Restaurant Group (Aatxe, Flour + Water, Central Kitchen) and the Bon Vivants (Trick Dog). Over the years the space has had many lives, including stints as a nightclub, restaurant, bar and music hall; now, it has returned to modern day San Francisco as a classic restaurant and cocktail bar, offering live music and food until 2 a.m.
Located in what is essentially the basement of the Swedish American Hall, the space is divided into two distinct areas: the original, 25-seat bar with additional table seating for 20, and the Viking Room, featuring a five-seat bar plus a 30-seat dining room adjacent to the stage. Unlike the raucous musical acts of its more recent past, programming will skew towards jazz, blues and cocktail piano (though there has been no confirmation of the presence of any jazz flute). The decor of the 4,500 square-foot space harkens back to the '30s and '40s era of Café du Nord, featuring vintage wallpaper, Art Deco fixtures and copious amounts of green wood paneling, and inlaid hardwood floors.
The menu comes from chef Thomas McNaughton and his team, offering items influenced by classic American dishes from the 20th century, including the Burger du Nord, shrimp cocktail and, in a nod to San Francisco history, cioppino. Organized by snacks, appetizers and entrees, the full menu will be available at the bar as well the full-service Viking Room.
And on the cocktail side of things, the extensive list is inspired by the cafe's long life as a drinking destination, with the Bon Vivant's nods to popular drinks of the past. The Martini du Nord is particularly intriguing, composed of Ford's Gin and vermouth infused with oyster shells. Craft beer and a Champagne-focused wine program round out the drinking side of things. In order to make the good stuff available to a wider variety of guests, there'll be a Champagne happy hour starting after midnight, offering half-price bottles seven days a week alongside $1 oysters.
Starting tonight, Café du Nord is open seven days a week, from 5 p.m.- 2 a.m.; food will be available until 1:30 a.m.