Formerly of The Jeffrey, an upscale “bespoke craft beer, cocktails and espresso bar” in New York City, Zack Schwab and Shane Matthews moved west to strike out on their own.
"It was that mid-range point where we felt like there was a gap,” said Schwab, the managing partner.
This month in Pacific Heights, Matthews and Schwab open their new venture, The Snug (2301 Fillmore St.). Joining them in the project are Chef Brian Shin, formerly of Benu and In Situ, and Jacob Racusin, former head of bar at The Alembic.
The Snug will offer craft beverages and reinvented comfort food to the neighborhood, which the partners said has a high concentration of young professionals. Located at the corner of Clay and Fillmore streets, (formerly Mehfil Indian Cuisine), the partners’ new bar accommodates 14 taps.
"We have developed relationships with a lot of the best local breweries," Schwab said, noting that the rotating beer selection will exclude products brewed by giant corporations. "We were alarmed by the predatory practices by some of the huge conglomerates in the beer industry,” he said.
Racusin, who’s leading the cocktail program, is curating a menu with contemporary versions of classic cocktails: the Bee’s Knees has been reimagined with sunflower-infused vodka, bee pollen, lemon, honeycomb and lavender; his whiskey sour uses li hing mui, a sweet/salty plum, and a new take on the Manhattan includes shiitake-infused Japanese whisky and house-blended amaro, a digestif.
The Snug will also serve bourbon from two exclusive barrels.
In the kitchen, Shin is joined by James Lok, another Benu alum, as chef de cuisine. Together, the duo plan to put out dishes that integrate California cuisine with eclectic influences.
The opening menu will feature a pork trotter hot dog with cucumber, perilla, and mustard, a musubi lettuce wrap with house-made spam, and Korean fried chicken wings. A number of dishes will utilize the tandoori oven the team inherited from the previous tenant.
"When quality is high and the execution is high, it can be hard to be approachable,” said Matthews, which is why most seating at The Snug is communal.
"We hope people will talk and meet their neighbors,” said Schwab. The interior’s living room vibe includes nooks patrons can tuck into—an homage to a “snug,” a sectioned-off area in traditional Irish pubs.
After opening later this month, The Snug plans to add brunch and eventually outdoor seating. Hours will be Sunday to Thursday 4pm–Midnight, and 4 pm–2 am on Friday and Saturday.
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