Hotel bars are weird scenes sometimes, but the W in San Francisco has long been a favorite watering hole of a certain set of twentysomething partiers who frequent that quadrant of SoMa, at least when they’re trying to have a classier night out with friends. Now the Upstairs Bar at the new Trace (formerly XYZ) has gotten a redesign, and last night was the grand opening of the other half of the new makeover by architect Stanley Saitowitz, over in the Lobby Bar and what used to be called the Library. Saitowitz continues his visual themes that are meant to evoke fog, the grid of streets, tall buildings, and splashes of vibrant color — meant to evoke either North Beach neon or the bohemian sixties, take your pick.
Check out our slideshow of the mod, totally revamped new entry and lounge spaces, which you might want to check out the next time you’re over there. And we recommend trying out Trace, where executive chef Paul Piscopo and executive sous chef Alaun Grimaud have crafted a subtle and sophisticated new menu that nonetheless features a simple, farm-to-table ethos.