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This Iconic Bar With 360-Degree Views Just Nabbed a Famous Chef for Its Comeback

Union Square’s Starlight Room will return as Starlite in February 2024

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Starlite will return to Union Square in February 2024.
Alison Van de Berghe
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Few San Francisco bars boast as much history, plentiful views of the cityscape, and star-studded clientele as Harry Denton’s Starlight Room. The 21st-floor destination bar and restaurant was the go-to for Alan Ginsberg and Herb Caen, not to mention any fancy folk visiting the city and staying at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, now the Beacon Grand. As of February 2024, the once-closed venue will roar back to life with huge talent cracking out drinks and bites and will operate under the name Starlite.

In a press release, Starlite’s team writes Trick Dog co-founder Scott Baird is heading the venture’s drink list, and Washington, D.C.-based chef Johnny Spero is creating the bites menu. Baird is San Francisco born-and-raised, best known for his time at award-winning Trick Dog, and Spero is recognized for his Michelin-star restaurant Reverie and an appearance on the Netflix cooking competition show, The Final Table. A refreshed interior inspired by cable cars and gold, the city’s founding factor, comes from Alice Crumeyrolle. The bar and restaurant space closed early on in the pandemic and will reopen for the first time in about four years.

Six San Francisco food and drink classics just became Legacy Businesses

Polly Ann Ice Cream, Firefly Restaurant, Elixir Saloon, Orale Orale, Thai House, and Il Pollaio are the newest food and drink additions to San Francisco’s Legacy Business Program. The program itself came under fire in late October when the San Francisco Chronicle reported on just how much of the money goes to landlords who house the businesses rather than the restaurants, cafes, and bars themselves. As of mid-December, the paper reports the program could change to better share funds with recognized business owners.

Sonoma County queer farm expansion hopes

Solarpunk Farms, a regenerative agroecological project in Guerneville, is now a nonprofit. In an Instagram post, the founders thanked Fulcrum Arts for giving them the money needed to make the jump. That means the group can formally fundraise, and they’re on the lookout to hire, build a greenhouse, get required permits, and open to the public for tours.

Finally we know the food hall additions to San Jose

The Mercury News let readers know the much-sought-after list of new restaurants taking up residence at Downtown Food Hall. Almost all new businesses, the roster includes Monosushi, Forza Italian Kitchen, Y-Linh Sandwiches, Sophia’s Sweets, Silk Road Kitchen, Cosmic Cuisine Halal, Mercy Mediterranean, Sam & Curry, TeaZer, Azuma San Jose, Cinco Milpas and Slobster.

Street vendors to receive pay from the city

After a confusing rollout, it became clear some vendors were not meant to be impacted by the new Mission Street vendor ban. Legal and legitimate vendors were impacted anyway, and the San Francisco Standard reports San Francisco will give $1,000 to about 40 merchants who were operating within their legal rights but were negatively impacted due to the ban.