Most visitors who visit Yerba Buena Lane in San Francisco come for the museums, which dominate the landscape. The modern cube-on-edge design of the Jewish Contemporary Museum is always an eye-grabber.
And the immense promise of the reconstruction project going on at SF MOMA has the whole city waiting on the edge of their seats, as well.
Although it's easy to pass by the small and tasteful sign of Press Club without entering, don't. Behind that sign hides a whole world of good eats, good community and excellent wine.
Press Club in San Francisco — Photo courtesy of Nader Khoudi
Located two blocks from both Union Square and the Moscone Convention Center, Press Club is an extraordinary wine-tasting venue. Because Press Club rotates wines from artisan vintners on a monthly basis, guests are guaranteed a taste of the best wines in the region.
And although Press Club used to keep their wine selection to around 95 percent California wines, Head Sommelier Mauro Cirilli soon realized he needed to expand.
"San Franciscans are too sophisticated: they want wines from all over the world. We could not survive serving domestic wines alone, " Cirilli explains.
Sommelier Mauro Cirilli pours his best — Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy
Born and raised in Padua, Cirilli learned wine-making from his grandfather starting at the age of five. He's about as comfortable and knowledgeable around wine as a person can get.
"I come from a culture of people who drink wine on a daily basis," Cirilli explains. "I have wine in my veins."
And Press Club has included an expansion into beer, as well, with an impressive beer list served as three-ounce flights to let you really savor the taste.
Whether you order wine or beer, a highly trained staff member will suggest the perfect small bite pairing, like Crab Cake Sliders on Onion Buns or Salmon Gravlax Salad.
Fine wine served at Press Club — Photo courtesy of Nader Khoudi
As impressive as the wine, beer and food is, what really separates Press Club from other San Francisco wine clubs is the space. The award-winning architecture captures the cool grandeur of a wine cave but allows for small, intimate spaces, too.
Throw in an incredibly attentive and informed staff, and you'll find it hard to leave Press Club.
"There's no long-term commitment here, not like a four-course meal," Cirilli says. "But people seem to stay here for a long time to enjoy themselves."
If you want to enjoy world-class wine in a stunning space that is grand without being grandiose, be sure to stop by Press Club.
Press Club is the place to be in San Francisco. — Photo courtesy of Jason Chin