The Proper Hotel is almost ready to check into mid-Market, bringing with it the new restaurant and bar Villon next week, with food from James Beard award nominee Jason Franey and drinks from the BV Hospitality guys Josh Harris and Morgan Schick. That duo, best known for Trick Dog, will also handle the drinks at a rooftop bar and lounge, Charmaine's, coming mid-October. For now, they’ve shared their clever menu for Villon, which will be available to accompany Franey’s food in the restaurant area and also served from a small bar and at an open lounge area next to the dining room.
The menu consists of 49 drinks, seven sections with seven drinks each, in a play on the dimensions of “San Francisco proper,” a pun of the hotel’s name. Practically speaking, “we wanted it to be an experience they could interact with solo,” says Schick. “That’s often the way people experience hotel bars.”
You could certainly spend a lot of time with the menu, which is a worthy, witty cocktail history companion. It starts with drinks Schick and Harris fashioned specifically for the hotel (“we made these, up so be nice,” the menu reads), and continues through classics divided into sections like “drinks created at hotel bars,” “drinks created in clubs,” “drinks from novels,” and so on
“It’s a compact little bar,” says Schick, “so we wondered, could we do something big and immersive?” Turning to classic drinks, made with many permutations and combinations of a limited number of ingredients, lead them to the structure. The individual sections could also change over time, Harris explains, a way to keep the menu fresh without starting from scratch, as at Trick Dog.
Villon is actually a return to the hotel space for these two: After the current Proper Hotel proprietors bought the space, previously the Renoir hotel, they brought in the Bon Vivants for a temporary project, Rio Grande, which had a 10-month run there. When it closed, Trick Dog was just beginning to receive the recognition it’s consistently enjoyed since.
“It’s very exciting, with our relationship with the building, to be back and to see how much has happened so quickly,” says Harris. Check out the cocktail menu below: