From Bartenders To Bar Owners: Scarlet Lounge Opens In Inner Richmond

The bar has been updated with fresh woodwork, comfy stools, and importantly, coat hooks underneath. | Photos: Lauren Alpert/Hoodline
By Lauren Alpert - Published on May 16, 2017.

After meeting as bartenders and patrons at the former Dave’s, three long-time service industry professionals have opened their own bar in the Inner Richmond: Scarlet Lounge at 408 Clement St (between 5th and 6th avenues).

Joining forces as SF Good Spirits, Michael LaFortune, Joanne Traynor, and Oliver Pender first started looking at spaces downtown to open a new bar. After the team realized that downtown was twice as expensive and lacked the neighborhood feel they wanted, they looked into the space on Clement after the closure of Side Bar, a bar and karaoke spot.

Another interested party backed out, and SF Good Spirits signed a five year lease, with an option for five more.

Black and white photos on the back wall feature sights from the three blocks of the Richmond surrounding Scarlet Lounge.

With dark red paint on the walls and door and brand new woodwork surrounding the bar area, Scarlet Lounge lives up to its name.

Currently, the bar carries a typical array of beer, wine, and liquor, with options like Sacramento’s Two Rivers pomegranate cider. In June, a cocktail menu will premiere, with a focus on unusual bourbons and tequilas.

Scarlet Lounge has space for large groups and four TV screens mounted throughout, offering ample viewing opportunities for those that want a pint while watching Bay Area sports. The bar counter seats at least a dozen people on cushioned, oversized stools. Also available are several booths and tall two and four-top tables.

Picking the Richmond was an easy choice given their desire for a neighborhood bar, LaFortune told us. His hope is that Scarlet Lounge will become a regular stop when locals and visitors alike are hopping around the neighborhood for "booze, food, merriment."

As the team develops Scarlet Lounge's offerings, they're placing a priority is on the preferences of the neighborhood. For example, the cocktail and snack menus will draw heavily on feedback from patrons.

Clean brick and a red door welcome customers into Scarlet Lounge. A sign will be up soon, permit pending. 

That community spirit was already evident on opening night. Bartenders Traynor and Pender greeted people by name, and knew customer orders before they were asked.

The bar is being staffed by the owners until the business settles in, and they find the right person to join their crew.

LaFortune noted that all three agreed early on that if two of the owners agreed on a business decision, the third has to hop on board.

"Business is first," he said, "and ego is left at the door.”

Scarlet Lounge is currently open 6pm-2am, seven days a week. Starting Wednesday, May 17th, it will open at 4pm. Eventually, it will open at noon on weekends for sports-oriented crowds.

About 4 hours ago
San Francisco Outer Sunset

DamnFine debuts in the Outer Sunset with wood-fired pizzas, Italian wines

The pandemic has cemented our love affair with comfort foods — chief among them pizza and to-go cocktails. DamnFine (3410 Judah Street), one of the newest restaurants to grace the Outer Sunset, is intent on being a one-stop destination for all that and more. Read More

1 day ago
San Francisco

Girls Scout Cookie season is here, but don’t expect in-person sales

The Girls Scouts of Northern California will not do-si-do with their normal cookie sale booths during the pandemic, but tag along as we show you how to buy Girls Scout Cookies online in the Bay Area. Read More

Jan 25, 2021
San Francisco Castro

Castro Theatre's massive new hybrid organ may get installed in time for cinemas to reopen

The new hybrid digital/pipe organ that has been in the works for the grand Castro Theatre for about six years is finally about to become a reality, and depending on how long it takes to ship from Pennsylvania and how long it takes for movie theaters to safely reopen in San Francisco, it may arrive just time for the Castro's next public screenings. Read More

Jan 25, 2021
San Francisco Ingleside Mission Terrace Sunnyside

City College site ramps up mass vaccinations with hundreds per day, hoping to reach 3,000 per day

While San Francisco and other cities around the country are facing shortages of vaccine supply compared with demand, the process of getting vaccines into arms quickly and efficiently continues to be honed in the city with the opening of the first of three mass-vaccination sites, at the main campus of City College. Read More