San Francisco

Now Anyone Can Go to SoMa's Sexiest (Formerly Private) Bar, Marianne's

We’ve told you before about Marianne’s, the super-secret, super-swanky bar in a SoMa alley, the bar you could only go to if you had the members-only pin number. Which means when we told you about it, you were probably like, “Aw damn, that place looks super cool, but ugh, I’m so over this whole private bar thing that’s taking over San Francisco.”

Well good news, friends. The owners of Marianne’s (the same people behind Marlowe, Park Tavern, The Cavalier, and Leo’s Oyster Bar) feel the exact same way. Which is why the lounge is now totally open to the public.

The salon is still named for owner Anna Weinberg’s favorite style icon (and former Mick Jagger paramour) Marianne Faithfull, but it got a mini makeover and is now less posh English parlor room and more 1970s rock ‘n’ roll. (Which is a good thing, just trust us.) There are dark purple walls, zebra banquettes, leather and pony-hair sofas, and whimsical art and accessories throughout. Add to that incredibly sexy low lighting and private nooks, and Marianne’s now feels like the kind of place you go to make very bad decisions that you’re still talking about years later.

Those bad decisions will likely be aided by cocktails from the brand-new bar program that’s meant to invoke the frivolity and glamour of Studio 54. Specifically the uber grown-up version of a Long Island Iced Tea, made with tea-infused Flor de Caña rum, vodka, gin, Combier, lemon, ginger, and cola. If no Long Island Iced Tea is grown-up enough, there are plenty of other options that don’t mix four different types of liquor -- try the Dark Side of Hemingway (Brugal dark rum, grapefruit, lime cordial, and maraschino), or the Honey Bang Me Sloe (Barr Hill honey vodka, Sipsmith sloe gin, Galliano, elderflower, orange juice, and lemon). Hanging out with group? Most of the cocktails can be upgrade to “commune cocktails,” which serve six.

With all of that drinking, you’re going to want some food, so arrive on the earlier side because small plates are only available until 9:30pm. Food options include dishes such as oysters (baked or on the half shell), ham and cheese finger sandwiches, lamb schnitzel lollipops, potted Dungeness crab, and pickled octopus, all of which taste just as delicious and satisfying as you’d expect since they come from Big Night executive chef and partner Jennifer Puccio. (You know, the woman behind the famous Marlowe Burger.)

Marianne’s will be open Tuesday through Wednesday from 5:30pm-midnight, and Thursday through Saturday from 5:30pm-1:30am. Reservations can be made for parties of two to eight guests and walk-ins are encouraged. If it’s your first time, check in with the hostess next door at The Cavalier and she’ll show you where to go. If the bar is full, you can have a drink at the bar at The Cavalier while you wait. And trust us: it’s worth the wait.

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Daisy Barringer is an SF-based freelance writer who loves to make bad decisions, especially when they’re in a bar as chic as Marianne’s. Follow her on Twitter @daisy  to find out which one’s she’s made recently.
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