Downtown San Francisco’s bar boom simply cannot be stopped and the latest watering hole to enter the fray has officially arrived. Heartwood, the hotly-anticipated bar from the folks behind the Beehive on Valencia and the Treasury over on Bush, opens tomorrow, Tuesday, April 4 in a warm, nature-inspired space and with a cocktail menu blossoming with “flavors derived from plants, fruits, herbs, and spices,” per a press announcement. The bar’s name, after all, refers to both the innermost part of a tree, and the nearby Transamerica Redwood Park — currently closed but arguably the nature-filled heart of the Financial District itself.
The bar is located at 531 Commercial Street, around the corner from the Barrel Room and, in the other direction, from Wayfare Tavern. It’s a joint project from partners Tristen Philippart de Foy, Phil West, Arnold Eric Wong, and Steve Werney who bring plenty of experience running successful bars to the opening. Collectively they’re the forces behind a portfolio of drinking destinations that includes Third Rail, the Treasury, and the Beehive.
As for Heartwood, the team drew inspiration from the great state of California — specifically the many trees and plants that thrive here. On the cocktail front, that means bar director Casey Carr cultivated a menu of 11 original drinks, plus a seasonal slushie and a half-dozen soda-based highballs. The Apple Propaganda, for example, begins with a gin base and then veers into fruity-herbal territory with green apple, juniper, bay leaf, and elderflower tonic. An appropriately on-theme Leaf Water starts with tequila and adds jasmine green tea, honeydew shiso cordial, citrus, and shochu. On the cooler side, there’s a passionfruit, orgeat, and lemon Saturn Slushy starring gin and a touch of falernum.
Food comes from chef Byron Gee, who gathered up a menu of bar snacks, small plates, salads, and sandwiches. It’s a classic New American menu, meaning dishes draw from all over the place — think roasted red pepper hummus with pita and crudites, but also Mexican street corn dip, mushroom skewers, smash burger sliders, and pigs in a blanket. Leafier options include Caesar salad and Vietnamese-style tofu lettuce wraps, while sandwiches include a patty melt, a Korean fried chicken sandwich, and a grilled portobello number.
The space comes from Floriana Interiors (design) and Teutonic Construction (construction), both of whom channeled the power of California’s giant, stretching redwoods. They preserved the 1907-built brick and timber building’s red brick walls, wood beams, and wood floors, and now there’s a silver oak bar, tin ceilings, and dark red accent walls. Accordion-style windows open out onto Commercial Street, bringing a bit of city bustle into the forest-inspired 2,000-square-foot space. Artist Leah Tumerman hand-painted murals depicting California poppies, trees, and traces of neighborhood history.
Heartwood (531 Commercial Street) debuts Tuesday, April 4, and will be open for weekday lunch from noon to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Small plates and bar fare will be available from 3 p.m. to close, which will be at 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and midnight on Saturday.