Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Magnolia San Francisco closed for remodeling

By William Brand
Monday, May 12th, 2008 at 11:14 am in Uncategorized.


Photo: Dave McLean at the bar at Magnolia.

There’s a big makeover underway this week at Magnolia Pub & Brewery, 1398 Haight St. in San Francisco. In an e-mail, proprietor Dave McLean says the pub will be closed for nine days. It’s an extensive rehab in this historic building at the corner of Haight and Masonic. It started life as a Rexall Drug Store, became Magnolia Thunderpussy’s a late-night dessert cafe that became quite famous at the height of the 1960s in the Haight. Biggest treat: Pineapple Pussy. I am not lying.

Go to Magnolia’s Web site for some history about the building and Magnolia’s. Also, I’ve posted an interview with Dave, I wrote for Northwest Brewing News in 2006. You can find it here.

Here are some details from Dave on the re-make:

An incredibly talented team of artisans and craftsmen will show up tomorrow morning (today, Monday, May 12, 2008) and dive headfirst into a variety of projects to make Magnolia look and feel better than ever. Some parts of this process have been underway for weeks and are just awaiting final installation, like the new bar and table tops built from wood salvaged from the original Levi Strauss building. Others, like extensive painting and restroom tiling, require a closed and quiet pub to commence. And a few projects will continue on over the next two months.

Meanwhile, Brandon and crew are putting the finishing touches on the new menu, which will be ready to go for the re-opening. If you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve been running with an interim menu for the past six weeks while behind-the-scenes work on the fully-realized version pushes on toward our longstanding gastropub vision. The new menu will be full of beer-friendly snacks. charcuterie, and re-invented classics like our local catch & chips or a fun riff on shepherds pie. Brandon has reached out to the producers whose philosophy aligns most closely with our own, bringing Marin Sun, Cattail Creek, Devils Gulch, Wolf Ranch, Liberty and other farms into Magnolia for the first time.

The menu has never felt more seasonal, nor more full of delightful hooks for food and beer pairing. Even the Prather Ranch hamburger has improved in recent weeks with the new bun from Cake Box Bakery that fits it like a glove. The most exciting addition, however, is the unveiling of our new sausage program(!), with a selection of five different house-made sausages (including a veggie one). These sausages will change with some degree of regularity and can be had on their own or with a choice of any two of our new seasonal sides.

The sausage program is the first step toward our goal of being a neighborhood gastropub that celebrates nose-to-tail and farm-to-table cooking alongside our artisan beer making, inextricably linked the way we think it might have been in the great pubs of the past. We’ve been working toward this for over a decade and now that we’re here, we have to give you a newly refreshed space in which to enjoy it. As we hopefully hit our stride with these ambitious but necessary changes, look for more signs of our commitments to sustainability, seasonality, local sourcing, traditional butchery, farm-fresh produce, house-made desserts (thanks, Jenna), and more.

And finally, Dave says he’ll have all 10 taps at his sexy, new cocktail bar, The Alembic, stocked with Magnolia’s beers during the makeover. If you’ve never visited The Alembic, 1725 Haight, check it out. There’s a large stock of Belgian beer, lots of kinds of vodka and er–cocktails.

Finally, finally, you can follow Magnolia’s rehab on Twitter. Go to to sign on. Just checked and there are no updates so far. hmmm.

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