Harry Denton’s Starlight Lounge
A San Francisco Legend
An infamous den of cocktailian lore, Harry Denton’s Starlight Room (atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel) has attracted such acclaimed Mixologists as Tony Abou-Ganim and Jacques Bezuidenhout to leave a lingering libational imprint. The vibe is swanky and glammy with a hint of kitschy Vegas glitz. In other words, it’s the kind of place I love to have a cocktail with friends, warming up for a fabulous night, or ending one…
It has been on my list for ages, and I was very excited to finally get up there and try Abou-Ganim’s Cable Car. Of course, I had to pose in one of the famed plush red-velvet booths with said drink. (What can I say – I was a starry-eyed cocktail tourist!) I did not try one of Bezuidenhout's Million-Dollar Cocktails (which actually cost a few hundred per glass...) but I guess I'll put that on my "I've Been A Good Girl Santa" scroll.
I love that the swishy waitresses wear elegant long, black dresses (with a sexy side slit)… however, I would have felt slightly warmer toward mine had she given my friend Claire and I as timely and efficient service that she gave the table of men, nearby. Between waiting for our drinks to be ordered, then delivered, then having to finally bring our payment up to the cashier as we sat for 10, 15, 20 minutes waiting to pay… well, we wasted far too much valuable Cocktail Week tasting time!
On our way out, we learned a bit about Tom Sweeny, the hotel’s infamous and heroic bellman. About 15 year ago, the 30-year veteran bellman, chased down purse-snatchers who had nabbed a female guest’s bag. As a reward, the hotel sent him on a vacation to Mexico, where he saved a child from drowning.
He has since been featured in TV shows and movies, a part of Union Square history. (Who says all the celebrities are in LA!)
*Photos courtesy of Claire Barrett Photography