The Lower Haight has continued to be a pretty bustling neighborhood during the pandemic, and while a couple of key vacancies remain, one corner spot is set to have a new business by early next year.
A liquor license transfer application showed up in the ABC system on Friday for Stoa at 701 Haight Street, which we now learn via the Chronicle is going to be a cocktail-focused spot with small and shared plates, from some of the team behind nearby Nopalito.
The space was formerly Black Sands Brewery and bar, which had a full cocktail bar and food menu, and which was then acquired just before the pandemic to become an outpost of Fort Point Beer Co.
Fort Point had to close the bar for a renovation that began in January 2020, and they were required by the city to bring the windows “up to historic compliance” — an expense that was clearly detrimental when they were not able to reopen the space for many months, and even then only for outdoor drinking. Fort Point ultimately closed the brewpub in June of this year.
Stoa — a term in classical Greek architecture describing an extended, columned portico — will feature a cocktail program from Nopalito Bar Director Yanni Kehagiaras, as well as food from Nopalito chef de cuisine Joji Sumi, along with original Nopalito chef Gonzalo Guzman. Partnering with them is original Nopa and Nopalito partner Allyson Jossel, who has since parted ways with Nopa and ex-husband Laurence Jossel, who bought out his Nopa partners during the pandemic.
Jossel tells the Chronicle that the team is not looking to recreate Nopalito in the new space — and it doesn’t necessarily sound like there will even be any Mexican cuisine. (With the upscale and already popular Otra just a few doors up and across the street, that may be wise.)
By way of description, Jossel only tells the paper, “We’re kind of building on our own industry experience and moving forward, but not trying to duplicate or recreate something we’ve already created at Nopalito.”
Nopalito, an offshoot of Nopa that was inspired by Mexican family meals that Guzman and former chef Jose Ramos used to make when they worked in the Nopa kitchen, opened to near immediate acclaim in February 2009. Nearly 14 years and a pandemic later, it’s still going strong at Broderick and Oak streets, and they launched a taco window on 18th Street, adjacent to 18 Reasons, in 2020. During the pandemic they also closed a second location in the Inner Sunset, and as the Chronicle notes, it’s that liquor license that is transferring over to Stoa.
Photo via Google Street View
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Jay C. Barmann is a fiction writer and web editor who's lived in San Francisco for 20+ years.
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