Upon its opening in 1928, the Beacon Grand Hotel in San Francisco, like many other businesses at the time, created clever loopholes to sidestep the nationwide alcohol Prohibition. For the Beacon Grand, this was in the form of a secret room behind an elevator where guests could discreetly drink and socialize.
Nearly 100 years later, the Beacon Grand Hotel boasts a not-so-secret “Whiskey Library” today that is a callback to the hotel’s Prohibition years—a storage room that is home to a collection of favorite liquors and bottles. But, the real star of the show is the Library Bar and social gathering space, a newly built extension of the Whiskey Library. It’s unique, classy, and the perfect cozy spot for a cocktail or two.
“Our menu is a fun mix of modern and classic,” says Megan Benshalom, the Beacon Grand’s beverage manager. “Since we are a leisure destination hotel, our guests visit from around the country and the world, so I make it a point to highlight a wide range of both familiar and unique ingredients.”
Some of the drinks on the menu certainly keep in that realm of familiarity and comfort—matching the space’s ambience—while others are for the more adventurous cocktail connoisseur, like a drink made with ricotta water for a fluffy egg white texture. Guests can also try out the barrel aged cocktail program, uniquely dubbed The Flavor Chronicles. Through this program, guests can try whiskeys from all over the world, from the Caribbean to Israel. A taste of Tierra de Alma, for example, is a savory trip to Mexico, spotlighting Abasolo whiskey that hints flavors of fresh cilantro and juicy lime.
“I approach each barrel as though it is a time capsule of flavors celebrating the culinary combinations and terroir of that place … The Flavor Chronicles can take the guest to a faraway place through a simple sip in the same way a book from a library will transport the reader,” Benshalom explains.
Transported one will be as the historic architecture and interior design of the space is as inviting as it is remarkable. Paneled woodwork, an ornate ceiling, and herringbone wood floors speak to the history of the hotel, while an open floor plan welcomes meeting and event attendees with a space to work, connect, and plan. And, Benshalom adds, the staff is an indisputably essential part of the warm atmosphere.
“It’s truly the people that make the place,” she says. “Working in a restaurant within a hotel is a next level hospitality opportunity because in addition to tour-guiding you through a beautiful meal, we have the ability to accompany you through an entire chapter of your life.”