The IT Wine Lounge In San Francisco: Press Club

Press Club San Francisco is known first and foremost as a wine bar, having first entered the San Francisco social scene in 2009 as a destination for authentic wine tasting in an urban city setting.

Press Club
PHOTO PRESS CLUB

While Press Club originally offered tastings for seven wineries on site, the request for wider selection led owner, Jan Wiginton, to expand the wine list to over 230 local and international labels, and to create a new venue for the modern wine enthusiast: the wine lounge. Complete with a full bar, comfortable couches for savoring a glass of wine with friends, and wooden tables for dining on their assortment of seasonal dishes; Press Club brings a distinctive social excitement to the experience of wine tasting in San Francisco. It manages to effortlessly combine a warm and relaxed spirit of Northern California with the social, downtown atmosphere of the Financial District, an accomplishment that makes Press Club the “It” bar for any local or visitor to San Francisco.

Press Club is best known for its fantastic wine selection. Jan introduces sommelier, Mauro Cirilli, as the ultimate expertise behind every recommendation, flight, and pairing. Mauro illustrates expansive level of detail and imagination behind the conception of a comprehensive wine list. He aims to make tastings, in particular, both delicious and entertaining for guests by assembling unique flights of international and local labels that span from: sparkling 2009 Schramsberg from North Coast, crispy white 2010 Collio Friulano from Italy, to voluminous and well-balanced 2010 Crozes-Hermitage from the North Rhone Valley in France.

Mauro explains, “The wine program is a success here. One, we select the winemaker, those who truly understand quality wine. Secondly, we understand the concept and who is the crowd. We’re looking at twenty, thirty to early-forty-year-olds – people who are traveling and they know what’s outside of California. They can understand other traditions and different textures. At the same time, we don’t want to make it too hard for them. I can do that for myself, but the goal of hospitality, a word that comes from ‘hospital,’ is about helping and taking care of people.”

Jan shares her belief that the root to a brilliant management team is its heart and drive. “They all have a passion for the Press Club that elevates the quality of their work.” Mauro’s collaboration with Chef Chris Borges results in a masterful compilation of wine and food, a lovely feature of Press Club: every item on the menu is matched exclusively to a wine that is pre-selected to bring out the flavor, texture, and finish of the dish.

Press Club has also expanded its tasting repertoire by popular request, offering not only an expert sommelier, but also a beer expert armed with an array of artisan-crafted brews sure to satisfy any palate. Press Club is home to over twenty-five artisan brews, varied daily and hand picked by Manager and resident Beer Expert Kristian Cosentino. From Berkeley brewed pilsners to Italian Wild Ales, the beers on tap can additionally be paired with dishes on the menu. The recent addition of beer-on-tap to the menu has drawn an even more dynamic demographic; contributing to the thriving social scene Press Club is known for.

Besides the beer and wine, certainly a draw to the lounge is the exquisite social atmosphere, shaped by the original architecture of low ceilings and multifaceted lighting that creates spaces for every patron. The ambiance comes together in a stunning combination of modern and warm, urban and cozy, revealing Jan’s original intent to bring wine culture to the city. The feel of comfort and easiness is largely due to her belief that impeccable service is what makes a successful establishment. “I want our guests to feel they’ve been touched by the highest level of service, that they had an amazing time here in San Francisco.” It is this attention to the overall experience of the guests that makes Press Club a wonderful place to enjoy an evening, and the “It” wine lounge to visit in San Francisco.

Some exciting events at Press Club coming up this February is during San Francisco Beer Week, kicking the week off with 48 Hours of Sours February 6-7th and also offering the entire Mikkeller Yeast Series starting February 9th.

Lena Kazer

Lena is a Chicago native, her travel style consists of red cowboy boots that make her feel like she can take over the world. She adores Peru and can't travel without her journal to draw or write in.

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