Don’t let the name dissuade you: Members Only, a new bi-level bar and restaurant debuting later this week in Lower Nob Hill is open to everyone, no enrollment required. The name is intended to be satirical, poking fun at exclusive nightlife spots, which Members Only is proudly not. It is, however, a two-for-one deal in that there’s a second bar tucked underground. To get to sister spot Finders Keepers you’ll have to meander down the stairs, where the quirky space pays homage to oddities of all kinds and the bar serves several cocktails not found upstairs. The dark and moody dining and drinking destination comes from an experienced San Francisco bar owner, Phil Chen, who’s also behind SoMa bars Alchemist Bar & Lounge and Woodbury.
Members Only and Finders Keepers open Friday, May 20 and aims to bolster the late-night dining options in the city. The full dinner menu will be available at Members Only until 11 p.m. on weeknights and 1 a.m. on weekends, meaning customers can snack on Parmesan truffle fries or take down a fried chicken sandwich into the early morning hours. The menu offers two types of burgers — one smashed, of course, and the other dressed with brie, bacon, and caramelized onions — plus hearty entrees including steak fries, grilled salmon, and ragu pappardelle. For those looking for a lighter snack, options range from roasted bone marrow and pork belly bao to crispy mushrooms and shishito peppers. A daily oyster happy hour from 4:30-6 p.m. also means $1.50 oysters — or a dozen and a bottle of bubbles for $45.
But on to the drinks: Beverage director Candice Jae (Evil Eye, Lolinda, Hideout) put together a list of 12 cocktails, some of which you’ll be able to get at either bar and some of which will be strictly up- or downstairs options. Of the drinks that span both bars, the Larkin Breeze blends both gin and cachaca with rhubarb, vanilla, lemon, and fennel for a lighter offering; the Don’t Post This leans into heavier territory with brandy, baiju, citrus, and smoked cherry. Upstairs at Members Only your choices also include a vodka, cardamom, and cranberry number dubbed Carda-mom Jeans and an almost-tiki like creation called the Papagayo that’s made with sherry, pineapple, hibiscus amaro, and cinnamon.
Down the steps at Finders Keepers, things get a little more unconventional. The bar is so named because the building’s previous tenant says the leasing agent didn’t even realize the basement existed, which means when the former tenant discovered the space, he claimed it under the long-respected law of “finders keepers.” The basement bar is inspired by now-closed Haight Street shop Loved to Death, once known as a destination for all things odd and old. Designer and creative director Sydni Downs outfitted the dark space with a hot pink neon sign, tufted blue velvet couches, and white marble cocktail tables, plus cute-creepy gallery walls of artwork, preserved insects, and taxidermy animals. On the way to the bathroom there’s a “leave a secret, take a secret” cabinet (scribble yours on a piece of paper and pop it inside, then feel free to take someone else’s) for anyone who needs to relieve themself of more than just the facilities.
The main upstairs space, formerly home to the Saratoga, didn’t get a heavy update. Chen left the interior bone structure designed by Stephen Brady and metalwork from artist Magnus Schevene, choosing not to mess with features like exposed brick and Carnegie steel that give the space its character. The team did add some art deco details including blue and gold art panels, tufted black leather booths, and a 16-foot-long chandelier made by Look Lighting that stretches from the ceiling of Members Only into Finders Keepers. Chen has also pulled together an all-female management team for the project; in addition to Jae and Downs, the crew includes director of operations Candice Shaub (Alchemist, Woodbury).
Members Only and Finders Keepers (1000 Larkin Street) opens Friday, May 20 and will be open 4:30-11 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 4:30 p.m. to midnight Thursdays; and 4:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.