The Tablehopper

Beer lovers unite: It’s time for a session at Sessions

Try a beer flight at Sessions. photo: ©


The large new project in the Presidio, Sessions (1 Letterman Drive, 415-655-9413), officially opened its doors last month. The bar and restaurant comes from partners Michael Bilger (who is executive chef) and Evin Gelleri, the general and business manager. The pair have brought on Nicole Erny, a master cicerone, to develop the beer list and educate the opening staff, and Jordan Spaulding, a certified cicerone candidate, to manage the beer list day-to-day.

The bar has 100 options on the beer list, including 24 on draft. The bottle list will offer some larger-format selections for sharing, as well as a selection of five session-style ales. There is also a daily bottle pour available by the glass, which provides a chance to try unusual beers without ordering the whole bottle, and there are daily rotating flights, too.

The wine list has 30 choices, along with 12 by-the-glass selections and 10 wines on tap. Cocktails made with fresh, seasonal ingredients are on the list from Peter Ziegler (Urchin Bistrot). Their liquor license allows them to offer wine for off-premise sale (meaning retail, essentially), and they plan to sell wines from Skywalker Ranch in Marin for both in-house and off-site consumption.

Bilger’s food menu offers hearty, seasonal food built around their relationship with local farms, especially the one at Skywalker Ranch. There is an ample choice of small plates, again with a focus on sharing, including a charcuterie platter of house-made meats with cheese and their own “brewed” bread ($16/$29); freshly shucked oysters (A.Q.); and panela cheese dumplings with cilantro-chile pesto, corn, and pepitas ($10/$18). For mains, it’s California style, with seasonal influences, such as rye pappardelle with smoked beets, pea sprouts, preserved lemon crème fraîche, and poached egg ($19), or meatier options like the pork rib eye confit with mustard fruit, stone-ground polenta, and broccoli di cicco ($30). This being a beer place, there’s also a burger, of course, available “straight” with just pickles and fries ($15), or “chef’s style” with the addition of Wagon Wheel cheese and bacon-Anchor jam ($18).

The space is large (3,500 square feet) with seats for 150 in the dining room, plus 50 on the patio. There is also a private dining room with space for 16. Lundberg Design conceived the space, incorporating an acrylic and steel sculpture into the entry. It’s also worth noting that Sessions doesn’t accept tips, but a 20 percent service charge is added to every check (Monday–Tuesday 11:30–9 p.m., Wednesday–Friday 11:30–10 p.m., Saturday 11–10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Limited bar menu 2:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. daily).

We have a bunch of quick updates on hours at Traci Des Jardins’s restaurants, mostly about service hours. Ready? First, The Commissary (101 Montgomery Street, 415-561-3600) is no longer serving lunch, but you can catch dinner Monday through Thursday 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday they also open at 5 p.m. for light bites and drinks.

Transit (215 Lincoln Boulevard, 415-561-5300) has expanded its hours to include Saturdays. You can find them Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

And last but not least, Arguello (50 Moraga Avenue, 415-561-3650) is now open for lunch on Tuesdays. Hours are now Tuesday lunch only 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., bar menu 3 to 5 p.m., and dinner 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday brunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., bar menu 3 to 5 p.m., dinner 5 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday brunch only 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Over in Cow Hollow, Belga (2000 Union Street, 415-872-7350) has launched lunch, Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu includes salads, a croque madame, roasted tomato soup and fried bread, and a hamburger and frites. And beer!

All 23 Bay Area La Boulange locations closed as of last month; however, Inside Scoop reports on SFGate that founder Pascal Rigo will be reopening six locations (Pine Street, Fillmore Street, Union Street, Cole Valley, Hayes Valley, and Noe Valley) as La Boulangerie de San Francisco, and plans to open the Pine Street location Oct. 1., with additional locations opening each week.

Betelnut also closed last month, after 20 years as an anchor on Union Street, serving up its final minced chicken lettuce cups and pork spare ribs. Apparently, the lease was up and the building owner did not renew. And so, another one of our city’s old-timers exits the stage.

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Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column about the San Francisco dining and imbibing scene; subscribe at Dana Eastland is the associate editor for Follow Marcia @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram.