Meeting planners looking for an off-the-beaten-path venue in San Francisco should look no further than the Presidio Social Club. The restaurant is situated in the heart of Presidio National Park, a park and former military base, overlooking a landscape of pine, cypress and eucalyptus trees that will make meeting attendees forget they’re in the city.
The restaurant is set in a building built in 1903 as a military barrack that has since been converted. The Presidio is run by the Presidio of Trust, and when they began remodeling all the buildings, the artifacts from the army buildings went into a warehouse. Any company leasing space in the Presidio has access to those artifacts. As such, the restaurant’s interior pays homage to its military past by using medicine cabinets from the old army hospital across the street to hold liquor bottles behind the bar.
“One of the things I love about the space is you have a nice balance between a masculine feel, which you can soften it up very easily at events,” says Veronica Romeyn, events director at the restaurant. “It’s also a beautiful setting. It’s not like a lot of restaurants where it’s just walls; there are a lot of windows.”
Half of the restaurant actually takes up what was once the front porch of the barrack, so it features windows that have a screened-in porch feel. The space is large enough for 110 for a seated dinner and about 200 for a cocktail party, as well as has a private room and outdoor patio space. Events in the past have featured fire pits on the patio or a tented lounge.
As for the food and drinks, the restaurant features comfort food with a local twist. Guests can nosh on oysters, deviled eggs and gruyere cheese toast or opt for something heartier such as the meatloaf sandwich. The firecracker cocktail is made from a spicy vodka infused in-house, which almost numbs the mouth in a very subtle way.
One thing meeting planners can be sure of is that the food won’t be served buffet-style if a cocktail party is being planned. “I don’t like buffets,” says Romeyn. “You should never have to walk with a plate. We do cocktail parties in the same format you would do a seated dinner, with appetizers and then work our way up to mini entrees—all of which are passed.”