Seven Stills of San Francisco, a craft brewery and distillery gaining a reputation for its fresh beer and craft whiskey distilled from that beer, is opening a new, upscale outpost to showcase its many unique products: A bar inside the Stanford Court Hotel high atop Nob Hill. The new space at 905 California Street, called Seven Stills on Nob Hill, will open sometime next month after Seven Stills rebrands the chic lobby bar at the hotel, which recently underwent an extensive $16 million renovation.
Seven Stills’ new location joins its Bayview production facility and tasting room at 1439 Egbert Avenue and its Outer Sunset Taproom, Seven Stills & Hard Frescos, which serves Seven Stills beer alongside Mexican food and fermented aguas frescas at 3645 Lawton Street. The Stanford Court space also places the beer and spirits producer in the esteemed company of classic Nob Hill hotel bars like The Top of the Mark at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins and the Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel, directly across the street.
Classics aside, it’s also the latest in a wave of innovative SF hotel bars, such as Villon/Charmaine’s at the Proper Hotel, with cocktails from the Bon Vivants of Trick Dog fame.
“This is the first place where we’re really able to play with our spirits,” says Seven Stills co-owner Tim Obert, who explains that the taproom at Seven Stills’ Bayview distillery is limited by law to serving six quarter ounce tasters per person per day, and only in an educational capacity.
There’s plenty to learn about the distilling process from Obert and co-founder Clint Potter — like how they distill beer into whiskey while retaining and refining its sour or hoppy characteristics. And education is certainly a large part of what the brand hopes to accomplish: “So many people are just into beers, but if we can get just some of those people into spirits, that would be great,” says Obert. But that will require more pours in a less regimented process, like at the new Nob Hill bar.
In addition to spirits and beer flights, Obert and Potter will start mixing cocktails for the first time, including four cocktails on draft. Expect two year-round options: One an old fashioned made with Seven Still’s Chocasmoke Whiskey, a 94 proof spirit distilled from a chocolate oatmeal stout with added peat smoke malt, the other a Moscow mule made wth Seven Stills’ vodka. The bar will also serve two rotating draft cocktails, and 12 taps of beer. To round out their own beer offerings, the bar will pour some of the beers from other Bay Area breweries, like Barebottle, that it also distills down into whiskey, allowing customers to try those beers and whiskeys side-by-side.
Seven Stills on Nob Hill will also have a full retail program for fans to purchase cans of beer and bottles of spirits to take home. Snacks and more food, including the possibility of steak and whiskey pairings, are also in the mix. Visitors to Nob Hill, after all, have come to expect a certain level of sophistication.
Seven Stills’ lofty goals don’t stop at the top of Nob Hill. Specifically, the distillery’s Mission is to create one unique spirit for each of San Francisco’s “original” seven hills, hence its name. So far, they’ve done three, including Czar for Russian Hill, distilled from a Russian Imperial Stout.