Almost exactly eight years after opening the Dorian in the Marina, the team behind the Victorian-themed bar and restaurant has sold the business to a new owner. The bar will host a final blowout party — its annual Halloween Beastly Ball on October 27 — before closing and being flipped into a fresh concept under its new ownership.
Palm House Hospitality, the folks behind a number of Bay Area food and beverage destinations including Palm House in San Francisco and the newly renovated Nick’s Cove restaurant in Tomales Bay, will pass the business on to Kingston Wu, another experienced San Francisco bar and restaurant owner.
Wu’s ever-growing portfolio includes Wilder and Westwood, both also in the Marina; Thriller Social Club in SoMa; and an upcoming project near the Moscone Center downtown. “My goal is to extend The Dorian’s winning tradition of delicious food and inventive cocktails in an updated wrapper reflective of our new concept,” Wu said in an emailed statement to Eater SF. “We hope to be good stewards of this iconic corner, the entryway to the restaurants and bars of Chestnut and Fillmore, for years to come.”
The team is still finalizing the details of the plans for the space, but here’s what they know so far. They’ll remodel the space “from head-to-toe,” Wu says, including relocating the main bar to make the dining room feel “cozier yet more lively.” Chef Jesus Dominguez will lead the kitchen, coming from the once-Michelin-starred Taj Campton Place. Beverage Director Sean Doolan and Bar Manager Shane Caudill will oversee the bar program; Wu credits the experienced pair with helping make Wilder’s espresso martini one of the best in the country. Eventually, Wu says they hope to operate for lunch and dinner seven days a week, taking advantage of the space’s high-profile perch on a busy corner.
At least fans of the Dorian’s espresso martini (which was developed by beloved local bartender Ilya Romanov, who died in late December) and its inflation-proof $8 happy hour martinis, will have ample opportunity to knock a few back before the bar shutters. On top of regular service, the Dorian will host a Fleet Week After Party on Sunday, October 8 from 4 to 9 p.m., that aforementioned Halloween Beastly Ball on October 27, and an 8-Year 80s-themed Anniversary Party on Sunday, October 29. Happy hour will continue to be offered from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, plus brunch starting at 10:30 a.m. on the weekends.
Palm House Hospitality co-founder Benson Wang, Anderson Pugash, and Jack Herr opened the Dorian in the former Circ space on the corner of Chestnut and Fillmore streets in September 2015 and it’s since become a staple in the Marina neighborhood, one known for its abundance of both bars and youthful people who frequent them. They named it after the beauty-obsessed Dorian Gray of Oscar Wilde’s novel, and in addition to the powerful lineup of cocktails, it’s known for oysters and American fare including a smash burger, roasted chicken, and gnocchi.