San Francisco

Castro's Samovar Tea Lounge To Close For New Location Of Le Marais Bakery [Updated]

A little over a year after closing its location at Page and Laguna in Hayes Valley, it appears that Samovar Tea Lounge might be moving out of the Castro as well. A new beer and wine license has been filed for the address of the upscale tea shop and health-food spot, which has occupied the corner of 18th and Sanchez since 2003. 

The new tenant for the Samovar space appears to be Le Marais Bakery, which has had a location on Chestnut Street in the Marina since 2013, and recently opened a pop-up satellite location in Ghirardelli Square. Owned by Patrick Ascaso, a native of France, and his wife Joanna Pulcini Ascaso, Le Marais specializes in authentic French pastries and breads. (We reached out to the Ascasos and to Samovar owner Jesse Jacobs, but have yet to receive any comment.) 

Pastries at Le Marais. (Photo: Courtesy of Le Marais)

A Castro location of Le Marais would be the third for the Ascasos, who plan to debut Le Marais Bakery and Bistro, a 5,000-square-foot restaurant with a full bar, in Ghirardelli Square later this year. As for when Samovar might close, or whether the closure will affect its Yerba Buena Gardens location or its smaller "tea bar" on Valencia Street, that remains to be seen.

Update, 2:59pm: We spoke with Jacobs, who confirmed that the Castro location of Samovar will close, and that Le Marais will be moving in. He said that while he loved the neighborhood location, Samovar is pivoting as a business to focus on more high-foot-traffic locations like Yerba Buena and Valencia. 

That strategy will include a new location the company plans to open this fall in the International terminal at SFO. It will have a full restaurant with tea-infused cocktails and a menu similar to that of Yerba Buena, as well as a to-go tea bar, similar to the one on Valencia.

As for Samovar Castro, Jacobs anticipates it will close up shop sometime in March or April. "Le Marais are good friends," he told us. "They’re excited to grow their business, and we’re excited to move into a more high-foot-traffic business."

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