The tower of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco was crowned on the 19th floor in 1939 by the legendary Top of the Mark lounge and restaurant. It has an extraordinary 360-degree view of the city and features live entertainment several nights each week. It is said that proposing marriage by presenting an engagement ring in the bottom of a drink glass is played out more frequently here than anywhere else in the world.
A plaque on the wall by the bar commemorates it as being a favorite spot for World War II Marines to have a last drink before sailing off to battle in the Pacific, believing that this was good luck and would bring them home. Wives and sweethearts gathered here in the northwest corner, dubbed the “Weepers’ Corner,” to gaze out the windows as their men sailed away. Service men also had a tradition of buying a bottle and leaving it with the bartender so the next soldier from their squadron could enjoy a free drink. You can see examples in a cabinet by the bar check-in stand.
This venue is a prime setting for a sunset cocktail or a night cap, and becomes even more romantic if you arrive by cable car. The perfect drink choice seems to be a martini. When martinis were first introduced, they were served in a Champagne coupe glass. And tasting like a doctor’s office smells--which doesn’t mean they aren’t good--a retro coupe glass is what they are served in here.
I think of this spot as more formal and had insisted that my husband put on black slacks for our recent visit, and of course two girls at the table next to us were wearing shorts, spaghetti-strap tops, and sandals--not that my husband minded. Another man sat down at a prime view table and opened up his computer and started working. So times have changed.
Cocktails and light bites (the housemade potato chips and Crab Louis bruchetta are superb) are available daily, and brunch is served on Sunday.
|couple enjoying cocktails at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California|
|bar at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California|
|historic bottle at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California|
|housemade potato chips at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California|
|Crab Louis bruchetta at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California|
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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers