Light on the vermouth. In a bar’s bar.
Preferably one you used to know quite well...
Give a warm welcome back to House of Shields, a dimly lit, dark wood tavern born a century ago and diligently restored to its historic splendor, opening Thursday on New Montgomery.
Brimming with 100 years’ worth of San Francisco gossip and intrigue (like hushed rumors about a cover-up of a former president’s death here, or how the back bar was meant for the Pied Piper across the street, or that the basement was once a speakeasy), House of Shields acts like it’s been there before. And even though it’s got a juicy chapter in our history, it’s somewhat reminiscent of an old nuts-and-bolts tavern you might stumble across in New England.
Once your eyes adjust to the darkness, subtle details like the four polished statues, carved redwood bar and mosaic-tiled floors start to pop out. And since there’s no printed cocktail list, you’re best off sticking with classics, or just whiskey.
The bar, with a wooden arm rail and brass foot rail, is seemingly made for leaning. But you’ll want to slide into one of the pinstripe-backed booths lining the opposite wall, as they’re prime real estate for high-stakes deal-making.
And since chef/owner Dennis Leary (Canteen, The Sentinel) is behind it all, expect some snack-type bites into the new year.
High intrigue and finger foods go hand in hand.