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SF Bar Preview: Bar Agricole

Bar Agricole, the South of Market bar and restaurant by Thad Vogler, looks like it's on track to open in May after many months of delays. Vogler is behind many bar programs and consulting projects including the Slanted Door and Beretta in San Francisco, Bardessono in the wine country, and Camino in Oakland. Vogler and collaborator Eric Johnson (currently bartending at Delarosa) gave me a tour this weekend.

355 11th street

Bar agricole will be located at 355 11th Street, right next door to the live music venue Slim's. The building is sheathed in corrugated metal, and designed and updated by  Matarozzi/Pelsinger Builders. The metallic outside is perforated with increasingly large holes, and at night looks almost clear (picture here). The building and Bar Agricole's build-out are all LEED-certified to high levels.

Agricole outsides

Bar Agricole is to the right side of the building in the above picture. The front of the building holds a fenced-in patio that currently is a plain courtyard, but they will install a biodynamic garden with trees and such so that it feels "peaceful and overgrown" according to Vogler. Interestingly, the gardener is also choosing the wine list for the restaurant.

Running through the patio will be long communal tables, which I imagine will be a great place to sit in summer- because there will also be heat lamps.

The picture below looks from the building entrance out towards the street. The garden will be along the sides and the street view will be mostly blocked by vegetation.

Patio gardens

Inside, the 4,000 square foot space is divided into two halves. The lower level, accessed by ramps off to the left of the main space, houses the kitchen and private dining room that should seat about 24 people and have its own bar and AV set-ups.

The lower level is shown below with its freshly-installed plumbing.

Kitchen levels

The main level will feature two bars: one focusing on people sitting at it and the other a high-volume service bar for the rest of the restaurant. There will be many booths facing the bar going down the rectangular room. 

They partnered with concrete, glass, and ironworks artisans so we should expect to see touches like the bar made from poured concrete and a large light sculpture descending from the skylight that looked like an extended piece of ribbon candy in the mock-up I saw. The back of the room will have more windows out to the alley, so between the front, back, and skylights this could be a really bright space for its size.

Main rooms

Vogler says he's a fan of hot beverages and will have a Slayer espresso machine, one of only a few in the country so far. He's developed a relationship with a Guatemalan coffee farm and is bringing in a biodynamic tea from India. That could be good for business, as I recall from earlier conversations that the restaurant will be open for lunch with a casual vibe.

Other beverage touches will include a single beer on tap to ensure it is served as fresh as possible, and a selection of spirits with an emphasis on local, organic, and biodynamic products from some of our favorite local distillers.

Soon they'll start pouring the concrete for the floors and the space will start to look more like a restaurant than the empty shell here. It seems they're really going all-out on this project and I came away from the visit impressed with the scale of the operation and very much looking forward to getting in there in May.

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