Top of the Mark misses the Mark

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by sararevell on February 4, 2012

A steep uphill walk from our hotel is the Intercontinental Hotel. Perched on the corner of California and Mason Street, the Intercontinental towers above the city. The hotel’s grand lobby immediately impresses but it is the Top of the Mark bar and restaurant on the 19th floor that draws visitors year round.

We arrived early in the evening on a Friday to find that the place was already busy. All window-side seats were occupied so we had to satisfy ourselves with a table in the inner circle of the floor. Asides from the panoramic views, the Top of the Mark touts itself as the place to come if you want to try a Martini, as they claim to serve 100 different varieties of the cocktail. They have taken some artistic license with this assertion though as the "100 list" includes pina coladas and margheritas. I’m no cocktail waiter but I’m not convinced these fall into the Martini category.

We decided to keep things Californian and ordered a glass of Domaine Chandon and a MacMurray Pinot Noir. The Chandon is no Champagne but was sufficiently bubbly. The MacMurray was impressive though and very smooth, velvety and full of flavour. Our waiter was nice enough but not particularly knowledgeable, even when it came to recommending regional wines. Instead he rather predictably suggested the two most expensive red wines and seemed to take a guess that the MacMurray was from Sonoma. Once our drinks had been dispatched he seemed to forget about us and we struggled to get someone’s attention to request the bill, making us feel less welcome than we would have liked.

I would recommend stopping in for a drink or two. The views are lovely but the bar itself is in need of a makeover. The carpet is outdated and the arrangement of the tables isn’t very clever. The outer tables would benefit from being elevated so all guests could enjoy the views and the whole place could, and in fact should, be a much classier and professionally run affair. The ornate lobby has a far more impressive interior than the bar and it’s too bad that the elegance displayed downstairs isn’t continued up on the 19th floor.
Top of the Mark
999 California St.
San Francisco, California, 94108
(415) 616-6916

© LP 2000-2009