The Burritt Room’s history, like that of the hotel itself, dates back to 1910, when it was a hotel of…let’s just say, less reputable standards. These days, the hotel has been spruced up, and the second-floor bar is no exception, with the original crown moldings restored, exposed brick walls, whimsical crystal chandeliers, smoky mirrors, cozy corners for canoodling, and a menu of cocktails stocked with old classics and new twists.
Diedrich prepared two cocktails for us. The first was a Robbie Burns with scotch whisky, Benedictine liqueur, orange bitters and a twist. It went down smooth enough to put a Scottish brogue in our speech. The second cocktail, and one of Diedrich’s favorite, is the Critical Mass, named after San Francisco’s day of environmentally conscious bike-riding. It started off with rye whisky, dashes of Aperol, sweet vermouth and Benedictine, and packed more punch than a Greenpeace anti-whaling expedition.
Aside from those speakeasy-ish potables, Diedrich and his trim staff also serve up cocktails that reflect the local farmers markets where he gets his ingredients, and he told us that he’s excited about fall specials like zucchini and apples--maybe not together though! The weekday scene gets swinging around the after-work happy hour, but the lounge also has music several nights a week, with a jazz trio on Thursdays, DJ’s on Fridays, and live bands on Saturdays.
Now, we know the hotel had a few opening jitters back when we stopped there last November, but it seems to have worked out the kinks since then, with 63 out of its 79 rooms completely redecorated, and the rest in process. Though somewhat minuscule, their doubles can start as low as $79 a night, making it a bargain for a hotel this close to Union Square (2 blocks!), but these days their rooms are going for closer to $119, which is still pretty reasonable for one of the city’s busiest times of year.
Full disclosure: Eric Rosen spent one night at the Crescent San Francisco gratis, while on assignment for another publication, but all opinions expressed are his own.