Moongate Lounge is hitting the Chinatown scene with dim sum and cocktails served in a swanky salon. Its owners, chef Brandon Jew and partner Anna Lee, are also the proprietors of Mister Jiu’s, the Michelin-starred restaurant located one floor below.
The lounge, however, is intended to provide the hip crowd that frequents Mister Jiu’s a place to stay a little longer, hang with friends and snack on Jew’s Chinese-Californian menu. Drinks, from Danny Louie and Alex Kulick, are based on the Chinese lunar calendar; the wine list from wine director Louisa Smith is all natural wine (for Moon Gate’s purposes, this means organic and/or biodynamic practices with no additions in the wine, other than little to no sulphur), with bottles ranging from $40-60. There’ll also be a selection of “bottle service,” which is hard-to-find or very expensive liquors available by the ounce.
Before its most recent rebirth, the entire building housed the Four Seas restaurant — Moongate Lounge’s floor was reserved as the banquet hall. “It was always a banquet room, a place that people celebrated in,” Jew told Eater last year when the plans were announced. “My uncle got married up there, we had a lot of celebrations here as a kid. We want to reopen it as a place to have those kinds of celebrations.”
Now its a mid-century Chinatown vision from Steph Wong-Swig Architects and Anna Lee. A large mural, preserved from its original time as a banquet hall, has been restored in the main dining area; original brass pendants hang from the ceiling. High ceilings with the building’s original redwood beams on display will also showcase the restaurant’s biggest decorative component: a take on a traditional moon gate (an architectural component in Chinese gardens), also inspired by the work of artist James Turrell.
Moon Gate Lounge opens to the public tomorrow, March 2, from 5 p.m.- midnight.