It’s been a long road for Seven Stills. But finally, after more than a year in the making, the owners, Clint Potter and Tim Obert, fully opened the doors to their new headquarters at 100 Hooper Street.
The distillery and brewery, which was founded in 2016, had long been operating out of a diminutive warehouse space in the Bayview, where they housed a bar but could only offer extremely limited pours of their whiskeys to patrons due to the city’s prohibitive distillery laws.
Then in 2018, an opportunity arose. A space, a very large space, was available a short distance from the forthcoming Chase Center in San Francisco, new home to the Golden State Warriors. Potter and Obert hatched a plan: Rather than descend into debt, they attracted 750 investors through Wefunder, an equity crowdfunding platform.
“People really pulled through for us,” Obert says. “I think [people] have this image that we’re bigger than we are, but we’re not. It’s me and Clint.”
The new space, however, is rather big. In total it’s 22,500 square feet, with roughly 6,500 square feet of that encompassing the public-facing space. As of this week, they’re now operating a full bar and a whiskey tasting bar, a restaurant, lounges and private event spaces.
Following the closure of the original Bayview space, this new flagship location will now be home to Seven Stills brewing and distilling operations. Drinkers who’ve embraced their Slo Flo Pils or Hype Can series can find such favorites at Hooper, as well as a whole new menu of specialty cocktails made using their spirits and others.
Upon arriving patrons meet the front bar, made of copper, where they can sample a number of Seven Stills’ whiskeys — all distilled from local craft beer.
“That’s where you can see all the different expressions [of spirits] we’re making,” Obert adds. “We [also] ended up saving a ton of our vintage whiskeys, so we’ve got this secret whiskey list with our old stuff.”
Obert and Potter are obviously pretty serious about the spirits available, but not just theirs. California law dictates that at a restaurant they’ll need to offer a large list of other brands to customers, which is something they’re actually excited to embrace at the second, full-service bar at Mission Bay.
Obert’s focusing on a list of whiskeys and mezcals in particular, telling SFGATE, “I envision this being the go-to whiskey place in the city.”
That’s not to say things will be overly high-end. The menu includes a mix of easygoing, widely-appealing dishes, like five pound whiskey and tamarind-glazed chicken wings and fried avocado tacos. Obert’s favorite is a butter chicken poutine, but other offerings, like the house burger and fried chicken sandwich look like they could be crowd favorites too.
Before opening this week, some last-minute changes were afoot, Obert adds. Seven Stills needed to make Mission Bay feel more true to brand.
“We made some adjustments in the last couple days that make it feel like more our style,” Obert explains. “Originally, we were going for a high-end restaurant feel. But it didn't mesh with my style and Clint’s style. We live in San Francisco but we don't have a ton of money so we don't want to go somewhere super fancy. We made it more approachable, like what we'd want in a restaurant or bar.”
Being so close to not just the Chase Center but also the Giants’ Oracle Park meant that they'd also need to make it approachable for diners and drinkers who are sports fans. So in addition to 10 or so TVs dotting the space, they'll be adding a 10-foot projector screen soon. They're currently working on a deal with the Warriors to become an official viewing party venue.
Seven Stills joins a number of breweries now building up the Dogpatch and Mission Bay neighborhoods. Among them are Magnolia Dogpatch and Little Creatures, the latter of which is a new American arm of an Australian brewery. Obert, however, is careful to set itself apart Seven Stills from its neighbors.
“It’s not a brewery,” he says. “It is, but the biggest thing I’m trying to differentiate is this is a distillery too. We’ve got our own spirits in-house, which is cool … The reason this project was so ambitious and big is because it hadn’t been done before. But we did it.”