Photo: From (l) To (r): Sydney G. And Brittney B. On Yelp
For more coverage, visit our complete coronavirus section here.
After more than three years of popping champagne bottles, The Riddler is saying goodbye to San Francisco.
On Friday, the stylish bar announced it would permanently close its San Francisco and New York City locations after struggling to stay afloat in recent months.
“Unfortunately, even with an incredible support system, we realized we were losing more than we could sustain any longer, and we simply couldn’t make it work,” the message on Instagram read. “You can’t imagine how hard it is for us to say goodbye.”
Owner Jen Pelka told Eater that her businesses began to feel the economic pressure in March just after the shutdown. Despite offering takeout and receiving a Paycheck Protection Program loan, both coastal bars were unable to make ends meet.
“We just couldn’t make the numbers work,” Pelka told Eater.
Just before the coronavirus pandemic, The Riddler had regular business inside the tiny bar. Customers could select more than 100 champagne varieties on a menu that also included simple dishes. A self-serving popcorn machine was also on hand.
View this post on Instagram
It is with great sadness that we share the news that we will be permanently closing both locations of The Riddler, in San Francisco and the West Village. Our motto at The Riddler is “Hello, old friend,” so you can’t imagine how hard it is for us to say goodbye. When we opened The Riddler five years ago in San Francisco and last year in the West Village, we wanted to create spaces where guests felt like they were settling in at a place they’ve always loved. Thank you for welcoming us into your lives, for celebrating your special occasions at our tables, for clinking glasses at our bar. We miss you all so much, and we’re devastated to close. As we wind down, today we’re selling our Champagne selection at 50% off list price, and we hope you’ll take the opportunity to pick up a bottle to toast with someone special to you. (Link in bio.) In the fall, we’re teaming up with @bonhams1793 on an auction of the beautiful design objects from our spaces, including our tables, champagne buckets, furniture, art, and lighting. Stay tuned. For you #100club members, we’re taking the sprit of The Riddler on the road with @unefemmewines, the champagne label I started this year celebrating women-made wines. Stay tuned there on insta for how you can work your way to that jacket, partnerships, Champagne events, and Champagne concierge services in the days ahead. Thank you to everyone who made this dream a reality, especially to the best team in the world. Jen
A post shared by The Riddler SF (@theriddlersf) on
“We loved serious Champagnes but didn’t take ourselves too seriously: we paired our Champagne with burgers and tater tot waffles, served our caviar with potato chips, and offered free popcorn all day and all night,” the message on Instagram read.
A draw to the space at 528 Laguna St. was the whimsical atmosphere and attention to detail. “Hello, old friend,” was printed in bold letters on circular tables while a large portrait of actress Jacqueline Bisset in the 1967 film, “Casino Royale,” drew customer attention upon entry.
When Pelka decided to open the champagne bar, she sought out investors that soon became an all-female-led-team. In 2017, Pelka, who also owns communications and marketing agency Magnum PR, told The San Francisco Chronicle that The Riddler was funded by 33 women.
The Riddler thanked its team and guests in the Instagram post and indicated that champagne bottles at the San Francisco and New York would be available for pick-up at discounted prices. Later in the fall, The Riddler plans to auction tables, champagne buckets and other objects.
The Riddler is located at 528 Laguna St. in San Francisco
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:
Sign up for ‘The Daily’ newsletter for the latest on coronavirus here.
—Newsom: San Francisco likely to be removed from state watch list Thursday
—Email to employees says Farallon Restaurant will close permanently
—Target profits, sales soar as shoppers shift from essentials to electronics, furnishings
—Woman filmed hurling racist insults, breaking COVID rules at Dolores Park
—How long coronavirus lasts on metal, glass, plastic and other surfaces