From the people who brought San Francisco the ever popular Little Vine specialty grocery store in North Beach, comes the recently opened Union Larder, a wine, cheese and charcuterie bar in Russian Hill. Taking over a space formerly occupied by a parking lot on Hyde Street, owners Melissa Gugni and Jay Esopenko, along with the design agency that responsible for the Apple stores, have created a special space that is both comfortable, warm and inviting, yet also hip, modern and industrial. The 800 square foot space with windows along the entire side of building has approximately 30-seats, many of which are at the generous size bar. Behind the bar is more than just a bartender. There is a full-service cheese counter, with much slicing, dicing and activity. Beyond the bar and along some of the tables in the back is a larder inspired floor to ceiling shelving and cupboards, with a rolling ladder. The shelves are full with many of the grocery items found in Little Vine.
Co-owner Jay’s passion for wine and food comes through on the menu as he was greatly influenced by Cava bars he frequented when living in Spain. There’s a wonderful and welcoming diverse wine, cheese and appetizers list, including olives.
Hyde Street is an iconic residential street among the city's hillyest and most beautiful, with cable cars going up and down along several blocks. It's know for beautiful old architecture, with a wonderful mix of homes, restaurants and shops. It's just steps away from intersecting with the top of the famous Lombard street with all its twists and turns. Despite all this credibility, one would expect an onslaught of tourists, but it's surprisingly and welcomely an area frequented mostly by locals.