San Francisco brims with excitement as the iconic rooftop bar on the 21st floor of the Beacon Grand prepares for its grand reopening on February 2, 2024, under the new moniker Starlite. Formerly the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in Union Square and renamed from its previous identity as Harry Denton’s Starlight Room, the historic venue holds a special place in the hearts of San Franciscans, having been frequented by both locals and tourists, along with notable figures such as writer Herb Caen and poet Allen Ginsberg.
The storied journey of this beloved establishment includes a stint as Lizzie’s Starlight in 2019, a brief rebranding, and a temporary closure during the pandemic. Now, with a fresh identity as Starlite, the top-floor bar is set to captivate the city once again. To infuse new life into Starlite, the Beacon Grand has assembled a team of experts in beverage, food, and design. Scott Baird, a James Beard-nominated industry veteran and Trick Dog co-founder, takes the lead in curating an enticing drink menu. With a focus on creating an enjoyable and intriguing experience, Baird’s menu, featuring 13-15 cocktails, introduces creative twists on classics.
For instance, the Cable Car, a rum-based cocktail by Tony Abou-Ganim from 1996, undergoes a San Francisco-inspired transformation. Chinese 5 Spice Syrup and a tableside pour of coastal-scented “fog” crafted with dry ice, redwood, cypress, and eucalyptus essential oils offer a sensory journey reminiscent of the nearby Muir Woods. Another standout is Baird’s take on the Pornstar martini, a 2002 creation by Douglas Ankrah. Baird enhances the celebratory feel by lining the rim with luster powder, a shiny edible glitter.
The culinary aspect sees the Beacon Grand enlisting the expertise of Johnny Spero, a Michelin-starred chef from D.C. Spero’s menu promises delectable bites such as oysters on the half-shell, hot fried chicken buns, and a whimsical churro tiramisu for dessert.
The interior redesign, orchestrated by Alice Crumeyrolle of Maison A., introduces an emerald and golden jewel tone color palette, reminiscent of the Art Deco era. Velvet upholstered banquettes and elegant glass chandeliers add a touch of sophistication to the ambiance. The 360-degree city views from the Starlite Room are complemented by an aesthetic that pays homage to the historical charm of San Francisco. Additionally, in a bid to revive the venue’s nightlife spirit, Starlite will host nightly vinyl DJ sets and listening parties featuring funk, soul, disco, and groove music, adding a diverse rhythmic vibe to the atmosphere.
As the Starlite Room at the Beacon Grand Hotel readies itself for its highly anticipated reopening, San Franciscans and visitors alike are eagerly anticipating breathtaking views, an immersive blend of history, culinary innovation, and vibrant nightlife. Starlite is poised to reclaim its status as a must-visit destination in the heart of San Francisco, offering an unmatched blend of tradition and modernity that captures the city’s unique spirit. Opening its doors to the public in February 2024, Starlite promises to once again shine bright in the San Francisco skyline, inviting all to bask in the iconic rooftop experience.