The historic, 108-year-old U.S. Grant Hotel is launching a new cocktail bar that will pay tribute to a legendary drinking spot that once stood on the property. Dubbed Rendezvous, the Wonder Bar, it was founded in 1933 right around the repeal of Prohibition by the hotel’s then-owner Baron Long; according to Classic San Diego it was “one of the first in San Diego to legally serve ‘giant’ 12-ounce glasses of ice cold beers”.
The modern-day Rendezvous, which will be housed in a 3,023-square-foot standalone space in the hotel facing Broadway and Horton Plaza Park, will feature a replica of the neon sign that was once displayed above the entrance of the original bar. Slated to open at the end of October, it will have an overarching French theme to its design, atmosphere, and menu, from vintage elements decorating a lounge-like space filled with sofas and communal tables to scene-setting dim lighting and a soundtrack created by live music and a custom-built modern gramophone “jukebox”. A modern touch will be provided by exhibitions from local artists.
Longtime U.S. Grant food and beverage director Jeff Josenhans and chef de bar Cory Alberto are helming the drink selections, which will range from a compact list of French wines priced at $10 per glass, a variety of cask ales, and punchbowls offered at “Petite Bourgeoisie and Grand Bourgeoisie” prices; signature $10 cocktails include the Triangle Amoureux made with gin, lillet blanc, and yellow chartreuse and the Arrete Tonchar! featuring vodka, pavan, pastis, and sparkling rose. An elegant bar trolley, which has been roaming the hotel lobby mixing up cocktails, will find a permanent home at Rendezvous offering Vieux Carres, Manhattans, and more made tableside.