A beautiful new cocktail bar settles in on 16th Street this week for mezcal and rum-driven drinks, natural wines from California, and food with Caribbean and Latin influences. Elda, from first time bar owners Eric Ochoa (ABV, Bar Agricole, Trou Normand), Alvaro Rojas (True Laurel, El Techo), and Jay De Natale, opens on Thursday in a prominent, thoroughly remodeled space at the corner of Guerrero (previously the Tacolicious-owned Bar San Pancho).
To achieve what Ochoa calls “Baja, ’70s vibes” for their bar, Elda worked with Hannah Collins-led design firm ROY. They’ve remade the high-ceilinged, 2,800-square-foot interior in a more feminine mode, with lightly textured concrete and splashes of color from blue Clé tile and leafy plants. Wood fixtures include a hanging pendant from carpenter Chris Cook, and on an exterior wall, artist and musician Brijean Murphy (Toro Y Moi) contributed a bright mural of a band performing.
Elda opens with eight cocktails ($13) based on classics, like a Presidente #44 — Rojas’ riff on the Cuban staple with pineapple rum, brandy, and two vermouths. ABV regulars will recognize the Pink Flamingo (Oaxacan rum, limi, tiki-tivo, pineapple, absinthe), which Ochoa created there, but has brought with him to the new bar.
An acolyte of local talents like Thad Vogler, Todd Smith, and Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud, Ochoa wants to keep Elda’s drinks simple and spirit-focused. Patrons can expect “cocktails with not too many components, so people can taste what they’re drinking,” he says.
Seven local beers, a cider, and three or four natural wines and vermouths are on tap at Elda, with offerings from producers like Methode Sauvage and Subject to Change. A short bottle list from Kara Fowler (Ruby Wine) has two white, two red, two orange, and two sparkling wines, all priced at $50.
To eat, chef Jose Flores (Cala in SF, Flora in New York) will serve pan-Caribbean and Latin bar food: The opening menu includes a Jamaican beef patty, a milk bread fried chicken sandwich, and sikil pak, a mayan pumpkin seed dip with crudité.
Ochoa named Elda in honor of his mother, Martha Elda Ochoa: “She always hated saying her name,” he remembers, “but I just thought it was really powerful and feminine.” While his family is Mexican, Ochoa emphasizes that Elda’s influences are more broad. An entire upstairs loft area and bar has its own Caribbean identity — the team calls it Cheeky’s, and will use it for buyouts and events.
“I wanted to say [Elda] is more a Chicano bar — but Alvaro’s Colombian, he grew up in LA,” says Ochoa. Instead, it’s “Californian, but Latin” — an idea that should be right at home in the Mission.
Starting June 20, Elda is open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., with the kitchen from 4 p.m to 12 a.m Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Elda Opening Menu by Caleb Pershan on Scribd