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Get Hip to B-Side, the Easygoing New Cocktail Lounge at SFJAZZ

Expect “uncomplicated” drinks, straightforward small plates and plenty of vinyl records

Patricia Chang

The cocktail bar and restaurant inside the SFJAZZ center in Hayes Valley has struggled to hit the right note since the space officially opened in 2013. Charles Phan’s (Slanted Door) original concept South changed directions from soul food to south-of-the-border food after its first year and never made much of a lasting impression. Developer Hanson Li, who had a hand in bringing Petit Crenn to the neighborhood, hopes his latest incarnation dubbed B-Side will be able to finally find a groove with classic cocktails and an uncomplicated lineup of reasonably priced small plates.

For starters, Li’s team have overhauled the sparse concrete space, filling in it in with more seating, plush leather couches and a wall of records that give it a warmer, midcentury lounge feel. Naturally, the decor is closely tied to jazz culture and the vinyl record wall will put a focus on local artists. The plan is to eventually hold listening parties and allow diners and touring musicians alike to select the bar’s music themselves, Li explained.

As Li told the Chronicle earlier this month, chef Chris D’Andrea will oversee the menu of 15 or so small plates with a couple larger entree items. The plan is to offer simple items like fried chicken sandwiches, cheeseburgers, glazed Brussels sprouts or pastas for $10-15, with the more substantial entrees coming in at a few dollars more. "I'm talking drinks that don't have eight ingredients in them,” Li told the Chronicle. “Food items that have three or four ingredients.”

Officially, B-Side opens Wednesday, April 26th, but the bar and lounge soft opened today for your weekend drinking pleasure. 205 Franklin Street at Fell Street.