Design at America’s Cup: Food + Drink

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We shared our fondness for the overall design of America’s Cup Park in a previous post. Now it’s time for a drink. Park planners stole a page from our playbook and made food and drink the primary focus. In fact, the Park is mostly bars and eateries. Each is airy and expansive, effectively blending indoor/outdoor space (a bold move for chilly San Francisco). They inspire lazy afternoon lounging. They are also welcome additions to a burgeoning waterfront bar/food crawl (tapeo!) that includes Coqueta, Hard Water, La Mar, The Plant, Slanted Door and maybe even Epic and Waterbar.

Perhaps the design we’re most taken with is the upscale Waiheke Island Yacht Club, a fleeting import from New Zealand. Housed in a historic Pier 29 building immediately adjacent to America’s Cup Park, the striking space is a tribute to desert island modernism. It mimics a soundstage given its warehouse setting. You’ll likely run into our staff at their attractive happy hour which runs daily from 4-6pm. Get discounts on Moa beer (New Zealand’s craft brew) and a sampler plate that includes a stand-up-in-attention venison tartare. Some questions remain about keeping the untreated wood looking pristine after commercial use, but stepping off the Embarcadero into the large repurposed space, it was love at first sight:

We also like the 12,000 sq. ft. Sports Bar, touted as the world’s largest “pop-up” bar. Its design employs clever nautical riffs in union with the industrial setting. Try and snag a patio seat that opens up to the bayside for some world-class lounging. Just remember your Ray-Bans and boat shoes! The food is good and cocktails are great. We’re fans of Scott Beattie, the local bar consultant/hero who crafted the exceptional craft cocktail menu here. A significant milestone was surely reached by bringing quality and artistry of drink not only to a sporting venue, but a very touristy part of town. Try the Caribbean Buck, a spiced drink that combines funky/delicious Smith + Cross rum with a delectable homemade ginger shrub. It pairs well with the unfortunately named but tasty MexiCali dips. You’ll also find salads, sliders and a bacon-studded hot dog from local meat impresarios 4505 Meats on the menu. Tips for tipplers: Sports Bar is the only area where you’ll find (public) flush toilets in America’s Cup Park.

The Puma Yard Bar is the first structure you’ll notice from the Embarcadero: bright red shipping containers are stacked high with bold signage to alert deep space. The upstairs, outdoor bar overlooks the bay and a happenin’ “grass” recreation yard filled with modern bean bags, games and a Jumbotron showing racing events & films like Endless Summer. On weekends, a talented roster of local DJs keeps the crowd hyped.

Towards the back of the Pier, closest to the water, you’ll find the following venues in close proximity to each other. Come on down and have a drink before the well dries up in October 2013:

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