Two San Francisco Grand Dames of Hospitality Welcome You Back

By Emma Krasov. Photography by Yuri Krasov

From the golden age of the City by the Bay, from its glamour epoch (way in the last century) when people dressed up for going out and picked special, memorable places for a date, Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco and Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar at the Fairmont San Francisco reemerge after the pandemic isolation and greet their guests from near and far with open arms.  

Perched high above on the 19th floor of the grand hotel, Top of the Mark, popular since 1939, features the same panoramic views of the city and its world-renowned icons, like the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, TransAmerica pyramid, and Sutro Tower, and reinvents its stellar food and beverage programming.

A new partnership with Hanson of Sonoma Organic Vodka introduces “Vodka Expressions” service – a tableside cart tasting experience that matches flavored vodkas (think anything from cucumber and habanero to Meyer lemon and mandarin) with artisanal chocolates from Kollar Chocolates, like passion fruit truffle, sunflower seed praline or orange Grand Marnier chocolate in one sweet pairing flight.  

The salty flight that’ll follow in August, will include a choice of caviar pairings with house-made potato chips, cucumber, or endive, on top of crème fraîche.

A new list of signature cocktails suitable for elegant appetizers and charcuterie, plus a select jazzy soundtrack and a live DJ performance on Fridays will keep you entertained and immersed in the old San Francisco atmosphere with a contemporary twist.

The Top of the Mark is located on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins at 999 California Street, San Francisco, and is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4:30 to 11 pm; Fridays and Saturdays till 11:30 pm. Appetizers are served from 4:30 to 9:30 pm. More information at 415-392-3434 or

Cross the lavishly decorated lobby of the Fairmont San Francisco, and make your way to the Terrace Level, to a notorious Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar known for its rainforest ambiance, traditional tropical cocktails with tiny umbrellas, and Polynesian-inspired menu since 1945.

Seated upon red leather banquettes and whicker armchairs under the thatched roofs, alongside tribal wall decorations, and around a green-water lagoon, Tonga Room revelers indulge in a sultry atmosphere of South Pacific paradise, enhanced by the romantically darkened space with randomly flickering lights, and dozens of popular tunes, performed live by The Island Groove Band.

Playing music and singing on a red-accented wooden barge that glides upon the lagoon, the band is accompanied from time to time by refreshing streams of a programmed “tropical rainstorm,” complete with thunder and lightning—to the utmost delights of San Franciscans, who won’t see a real rain until wintertime. 

Anthony Bourdain has called Tonga Room “…the greatest place in the history of the world,” so better hurry to make your reservation soon.

The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar is located at the Terrace Level of Fairmont San Francisco at 950 Mason Street, San Francisco, and is open Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 11 pm. All ages welcome from 5 to 10 pm., only 21+ from 10 pm until close. The Island Groove performs from 6:45 to 10:45 pm. with $15 cover charge, waived for hotel guests. More information at 415-772-5278 or