Venue Review :: Black Cat SF

By: Kelly Kruger

The Bay Area is home to countless unique restaurants, bars, and lounges.  We love discovering new places to gather with friends over libations & tasty bites, especially when those elements are accompanied by live entertainment.  

Recently, we were invited to attend an Events Industry Soiree at Black Cat – a unique San Francisco spot that recently opened its doors in the city’s historic arts district, the Tenderloin.  

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Black Cat is a sultry, cabaret-style restaurant and lounge with a distinct speakeasy feel.  Upon entering the building and descending into the underground bar/dining room, we were transported from the grit of the city streets to a jazz club inspired by eras bygone.  The newly renovated space is filled with masculine-glam decor as well as intimate tables and booths, perfect for smaller groups, a first date, or a private event.

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Downstairs, we were greeted with chilled flutes of champagne (always a great way to say welcome!) and discovered that the bar boasts a wide selection of champagne, as well as classic cocktails and inventive alcoholic concoctions for those of us who have a more adventurous palette.  The signature drink for the event was a bourbon inspired cocktail with a touch of elderflower liquor and a rhubarb simple syrup, adorned with a hibiscus blossom.  It was quite sweet, but was well received by many of the guests.

The flavor factor wasn’t limited to the drinks.  The restaurant, which describes their culinary perspective as “modern American supper club fare,” recently welcomed a new executive chef, Alicia Jenish-Mc Carron.  We were excited to sample a number of items off of the small bites menu for events (available to parties of 13 or more) as they were passed around the room, including: lamb meatballs with a cucumber yogurt, beet deviled eggs, compressed melon bites with feta and basil, Thai chicken bites (not listed on the menu), grilled asparagus with herbed aioli, and the Cat’s signature truffle popcorn.

Although the asparagus was lackluster, we enjoyed the kick of spice in the Thai chicken bites, and the compressed melon provided a refreshing break from the richer offerings.  The truffle popcorn definitely had us drooling and grabbing for more – we could eat it all night long.  

While the food and elixirs were enjoyable, the highlight of the evening was certainly the live entertainment. Guests filled the tables near the stage to enjoy the beautiful jazz melodies of The Black Cat Trio and vocalist Danielle Wertz. Her smooth and luscious voice enveloped the space and kissed our ears, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere where you could linger with friends or a date until last call.  If that performance was an indication of the overall line up of musical talent gracing the stage at Black Cat, there is definitely no shortage of entertainment to be had.

Black Cat has a regularly rotating calendar of events and performances available for you to explore on their website.  However, do note that the pleasure of experiencing a live performance while you drink and dine comes at a cost – the fee to sit downstairs during a live performance varies by the performer and day of the week, ranging from $10 – $20 per guest.  For reservations, this fee is added to the bill; for walk-ins you will be asked to pay a cover charge to enter the downstairs dining room.  There is no fee to sit upstairs.     

After checking out the stylish atmosphere, diving into the sensuous jazz sounds, and getting a small peek into the flavors offered by the bar and kitchen, we’ve been dreaming of how the space could be used for a chic birthday celebration, bachelorette party, or intimate rehearsal dinner.  

Whether you and your friends are long-time jazz lovers or newbies to the musical genre, we recommend that you catch a show at Black Cat for your next dinner date, night out, or celebration. 

After you visit, let us know what you think in the comments below or share your best recommendation for a gathering place in the city!

The Black Cat is located at 400 Eddy Street, San Francisco, CA

All Photo Credits: Black Cat

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