San Francisco’s Top of the Mark Celebrates InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel’s 50 Years


Story and Photos by Lee Daley. 

San Francisco Top of the Mark atop the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel is now celebrating the hotel’s 50 year anniversary.. The iconic 19th-floor sky lounge  has updated its live music roster to include acclaimed local musicians such as Nick Rossi and his Swing Four. Celebrate Easter Brunch with live piano music and unlimited Bellinis surrounded by spectacular views of the City and the Bay.

Live Music at Top of the Mark, San Francisco.

Nick Rossi and his Swing Four perform live at the Top of the Mark, bringing back swing, jump blues and guitar-driven jazz.

The Views: Here is where patrons can channel their inner Ansel Adams with frame-worthy photos of views from every window. On a foggy afternoon or evening, you’ll want to capture the romance with naturally hued black and white images of San Francisco’s dramatic skyline as cloud tendrils caress the spire of the Transamerica building.

Transamerica Pyramid, Top of the Mark View,San Francisco

One more Transamerica Pyramid view from the Top of the Mark Penthouse Lounge.

 Grace Cathedral, Top of the Mark view, San Francisco, Mark Hopkins Hotel

Atop Nob Hill, Grace Cathedral in all her glory is viewed from the Top of the Mark Penthouse Lounge on a late afternoon in San Francisco.

Create a truly memorable moment with the house special, a tableside Champagne Experience featuring

View table at Top of the Mark, San Francisco

Your Table Awaits

a perfectly chilled bottle of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne paired with exceptional Astrea Kaluga Hybrid caviar and served with buckwheat blinis and traditional accompaniments.

While enjoying the views, staff advises that visitors may come across a few servicemen enjoying a “Squadron Shot,” in honor of a cherished tradition dating back to World War II. In 1941, when the United States entered World War II, Top of the Mark became a destination for soldiers bound for the Pacific to enjoy one last drink before shipping out. Here, they would toast the Golden Gate Bridge for luck. This led to traditions such as the “Squadron Bottle,” where servicemen who came to the Top of the Mark would sometimes leave a bottle with the bartender for when they returned safely. Any Squadron member who visited the bar was welcome to sign his name to the bottle and drink for free. But, should that be the last drink from the bottle, he was honor-bound to buy the next one. Even now, military personnel and veterans can enjoy a free “Squadron Shot.”

squadron bottles, Top of the Mark, San FRancisco

Squadron bottles and World War II memorabilia are displayed just outside the entrance to the 19th floor Top of the Mark Penthouse Lounge.


The InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel is a beloved landmark at the crest of celebrated Nob Hill.     999 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.  Telephone: 415-392-3434. The Top of the Mark sky lounge is open daily. Call ahead for reservations and hours.

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About Author

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Lee Daley has been producing award-winning travel articles and photographs since the early 1990s. With print and radio media experience, she contributes features on local and international travel destinations to a wide variety of publications, from in-flight magazines to lifestyle and travel periodicals to internet travel sites and radio travel shows.


  1. Carol Canter on

    Iconic indeed. Delighted that San Francisco’s Top of the Mark has reopened and that you found your inner Ansel Adams in an urban setting to share with your readers. Love both your photos and your word pictures of “cloud tendrils (that) caress the spire of the TransAmerica building.”

  2. Stephanie Levin on

    Loved your photos and article; Indeed, as you described so perfectly, ” a beloved landmark at the crest of celebrated Nob Hill… in all her glory.”

  3. Dear Carol and Stephanie: It’s wonderful that you both love this iconic San Francisco destination as much as I do. We should meet up soon to celebrate! Lee