With tropical bars like Mauna Loa Club and Palm House already indigenous to the Marina District, the climate could be just right for a new, kitschy watering hole. Enter Del Mar, opening in the former HiFi Lounge space on Friday, February 2.
The bar comes from partners Michael Wilbert and Max Young — Young ran HiFi lounge for 17 years before revamping it, and also owns the dance-y tiki dive bar Bamboo Hut. The duo has been remodeling the space at 2125 Lombard Street (between Steiner and Fillmore) since closing HiFi Lounge in August, and now they’re ready to unveil Del Mar — swing chairs and all.
“I didn’t want to repeat what we did at Bamboo Hut,” Young tells Eater SF. “The goal here was to be tropically inspired, not tiki.” Drinkers can still enjoy daily rum-based slushies and neon-colored cocktails by the bowl-ful. But in general, Young says, drinks will simply be “refined and really tasty, with tropical inspiration.” Above all, “they won’t take 45 minutes to make,” he says, and bartenders won’t be forced into tropical shirts: “No one has to wear a fez in my bar.”
The bar’s ambiance is built around custom jungle print wallpaper from the Brooklyn-based designers Flavor Paper. It also features hand-built swings and swing chairs — sure to be coveted seating — a spray painted surfing mural by local artist Camer1, and a wood back bar made from Shou Sugi Ban Cypress from Delta Millworks in Austin, Texas.
“Bars should be fun,” just about summarizes Young’s philosophy on the subject. At Del Mar, that means laid-back vacation vibes on weeknights, with a daily happy hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and more aggressively good times on weekends with DJ nights and dancing.