Local Insights

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Chief Concierge Antonio Barrios shares the rich and decadent spring experiences awaiting guests of The St. Regis San Francisco.

By Allison Hata

_MG_7079 SENDThe concierge team at The St. Regis San Francisco knows all the top places to dine, drink and shop in the city this spring. Here, Antonio Barrios shares a few of his top recommendations, cultivated through his years of experience at the St. Regis.

Signature Sips

In this new era of contemporary artisan cocktails, Bay Area bartenders and mixologists serve up creative concoctions from behind the bar.

At BAR AGRICOLE, vintage cocktails are revamped with modern twists from owner Thad Vogler. The cocktail-centric restaurant features a bar crafted from salvaged whiskey barrels, as well as a full menu of creative drinks. For bourbon aficionados, Barrios recommends the Brown Derby, a cocktail typically crafted with dark rum, lime and maple sugar. Bar Agricole’s golden-hued variation infuses bourbon, grapefruit, lemon, honey and bitters for complex and citrusy blend of flavors. (415-355-9400; baragricole.com)

Expertly crafted cocktails are a staple at TWENTY FIVE LUSK, a modern restaurant and lounge in the SOMA district recommended by Barrios for its artful specialty cocktails. In addition to classic sips and extensive wine collection, Twenty Five Lusk offers its own twists on favorite drinks, including a Hendrick’s margarita made from gin and agave nectar. The Mulberry Street cocktail, made from Bulleit rye, Campari, vermouth, orange bitters and burnt orange, is a signature concoction that evokes flavors reminiscent of an Old-Fashioned. (415-495-5875; 25lusk.com)

For those who wish to enjoy a taste of the St. Regis, Barrios recommends a visit to the newly redesigned ST. REGIS LOBBY BAR located on the first floor of the hotel. Operated by Ame’s Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani, the Lobby Bar offers an intimate space with views of the “Love” and “War” murals by Andrew Morrow. For a truly St. Regis experience, order the signature Golden Gate Mary cocktail, The St. Regis San Francisco’s take on the classic bloody mary featuring chili pepper-infused tomato water with tequila and a dried heirloom tomato chip for garnish. (415-284-4000)

Gourmet Fare

Award-winning cuisine is abundant throughout San Francisco, but some of the city’s most delectable—and prestigious—dishes are served up at Barrios’ favorite Michelin-starred restaurants.

Named one of Bon Appetit magazine’s “10 Best New Restaurants in America” in 2010, FRANCES is led by James Beard-nominated executive chef Melissa Perello. The modern California restaurant focuses on fresh ingredients, showcasing artisanal products from local Bay Area farmers. The menu changes daily and features items like applewood smoked bacon beignets, panisse frites, brown butter parsnip soup and root vegetable cassoulet, contributing to the restaurant’s overall appeal that helped it earn a Michelin star status. (415-621-3870; frances-sf.com)

Guests of the St. Regis don’t need to travel far to find Michelin-starred cuisine. Star chefs Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani whip up seasonal New American cuisine at AME, which has received a Michelin star for five consecutive years. Selections from a raw bar featuring fresh market fish and a full menu of appetizers, signature entrees and desserts are complemented by wine pairings recommended by the restaurant’s wine director and sommelier, John Vuong. (415-284-4040; amerestaurant.com)

In a historic building in the heart of the SOMA district, the James Beard Award-winning Corey Lee leads the kitchen staff at his restaurant, BENU. One of only six restaurants in the city to receive two Michelin stars in 2012, Benu offers items a la carte as well as a full tasting menu that allows guests to sample the contemporary American cuisine for a multi-course meal. Skillfully crafted delicacies, like tarte flambee with sea urchin and green apple, roast quail with barley, mushrooms, mountain yams and pea shoots, and pear custard with chamomile and buttermilk, are abundant on the menu. (415-685-4860; benusf.com)

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Fashion Pour Homme

While many cities offer the latest fashions for women, San Francisco is also home to a plethora of options for men seeking bespoke apparel.

One of Barrios’ top recommendations is the WILKES BASHFORD Union Square flagship location, which features seven floors of designer apparel and accessories in a townhouse-inspired building. The newly renovated store offers men in the Bay Area an expansive selection from the top names in fashion, including Loro Piana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Brioni and Kiton. (415-986-4380; wilkesbashford.com)

Located in San Francisco’s vibrant Union Square neighborhood, John Varvatos offers Old World craftsmanship paired with a modern sensibility for the dashing gentleman. The exclusive boutique is a sanctuary for well-dressed men, with sleek leather couches and exposed brick walls that complement the polished collections of suits, furnishings and casual attire. (415-986-0138; johnvarvatos.com)

For those seeking a vast selection of designer brands, Barrios recommends visiting one of the city’s major department stores located in Union Square. BARNEYS offers a plethora of casual and professional apparel, as well as men’s furnishings, from brands that include Giorgio Armani, Prada, Paul Smith and more. Just up the street, NEIMAN MARCUS features a men’s shop with selections of polos, sweaters, coats, shoes and more from designers such as Brunello Cucinelli and Alexander McQueen. (Barneys: 415-268-3500; barneys.com) (Neiman Marcus: 415-362-3900; neimanmarcus.com)

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