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San Francisco’s Top of the Mark reopens with new tasting experiences. - Epicurean Destinations

San Francisco’s Top of the Mark reopens with new tasting experiences.


Story and Photos by Lee Daley.  San Francisco’s Top of the Mark is now celebrating its reopening with new tasting experiences. The iconic 19th-floor penthouse lounge atop the Mark Hopkins Hotel has added a new “Vodka Expressions” curated tasting menu.

Top of the Mark, Lounge, San Francisco

Ultimate in classic relaxation, a table at the Penthouse Lounge atop Mark Hopkins Hotel.

New too is the Friday evening live DJ music session from 4:30 to 9:30 PM. What hasn’t changed are the 360-degree views of the San Francisco skyline seen from every window. Returning patrons and new guests can still unwind in the elegant ambiance of the 19th-floor penthouse lounge.

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

Transamerica Pyramid view from the Top of the Mark Penthouse Lounge

Follow up with a toast as you sample the curated Vodka Expressions pairing flight. The indulgent sweet flight pairs with delicious treats from Kollar Chocolates. For the adventurous, the Hanson Habanero Vodka can be paired with Kollar’s Orange Grand Marnier Chocolate.  Sweet and savory, the peppers come through strong on the nose and palate but are balanced by a hint of lemongrass on the finish. Choose from five flavors of Hanson Vodka – Original, Cucumber, Meyer Lemon, Mandarin, and Habanero.  Each one lends itself to a unique pairing flight. Signature cocktails, wine, beer, and light bites are also on offer.


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.

The 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.

For a 3D VIRTUAL TOUR of Top of the Mark:

Welcome Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 4:30 pm – 11:00 pm, Fridays & Saturdays 4:30 pm – 11:30 pm
(Appetizers offered 4:30 – 9:30 pm  Daily)      Closed Sunday & Monday.

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

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About Author

Based in Sausalito, California (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 Comment

  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.”