San Francisco is a city known more for its fog than its selection of scene-y rooftop bars, particularly when the sun begins to set. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and one of those is Charmaine’s, the rooftop counterpart of the Proper Hotel’s stunning ground floor restaurant, Villon.
LA-based Kelly Wearstler designed both Charmaine’s and Villon, which won the Eater Award in 2017 for SF’s Most Gorgeous Restaurant. Each winner was promised an accompanying feature, to be determined. Here, now, is a gorgeous spread of a Thursday evening at Charmaine’s, around 8 p.m.
The view is one of the best around, giving visitors Eastern views directly down Market Street towards the Ferry Building, or Western views of Sutro tower and beyond. Fans of the fog can often watch it roll over the ridge from the ocean; those less enthusiastic about San Francisco’s famous marine layer can stay warm and cozy by the fire pits, protected by glass wind screens that flank the perimeters.
The cocktails are from the clever fellows of BVHospitality and the food is inspired bar bites that match the inventive menu found at the restaurant downstairs, like a Charmaine’s Hot Dog with Bavarian mustard, fermented lettuce, and a milk and honey bun.
Who goes to Charmaine’s? Anyone who likes heights. Hotel guests. Craft cocktail lovers. Late night revelers (it’s open til 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday). Those who enjoy a crisp evening en plein air.
Though it is a popular destination for couples on dates, groups of after work drinkers, and boisterous celebrations, the crowd does thin as the night goes on, making way for quiet contemplation in the glow of the fire.
Is it the Top of the Mark for the 21st Century? Maybe.
Charmaine’s is open Sunday-Thursday from 3 p.m.- 12 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m.-2 a.m.