Located on one of the most scenic waterfront lots in Sausalito, Barrel House Tavern occupies 5,000 square feet on Bridgeway Avenue. With 140 seats, the restaurant features an enormous Carrera marble bar, a cozy lounge, wood fired pizza oven, and waterfront seating with breathtaking views of the Bay and San Francisco beyond. The building itself has a rich history: Built in the 1900’s, the space was once the original ferry terminal that shuttled passengers from Sausalito to San Francisco before the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. After sitting vacant for the past several years, building owner Chris Henry decided to open a restaurant of his own
“Craft” was the concept behind this project. Housed in the former Houlihan's and Water Street Grille, the restaurant took nearly two years to renovate, which is shown in the incredible craftsmanship throughout the space. Acting as the owner and the contractor, Henry and his team hand crafted as much of the space wherever possible, from the walnut slab dining tables to the handcrafted leather belting that lines the bar. Efforts were made to retain the historical characteristics, including the handcrafted reclaimed maple ceiling that curls in like a barrel, expansive windows and a deck overlooking the water. Upon entering and ascending the walnut lined staircase, a blackened steel and metal mesh structure holds liquor and wine. Existing cement plaster arches were refinished and polished, and lined with formed bronze. A long Carrera marble bar centers the space, flanked by an intimate lounge on the left, plush banquettes and ottomans surround a blackened steel fireorb. To the right, custom curved shelving acts as a champagne display in the main dining room, surrounded by floor to ceiling windows overlooking the water and a linear gas burning fireplace. All furniture was custom designed and fabricated, dishware was provided by Health Ceramics.
About the food:
Chef Matthew Bousquet, who was most recently the executive chef at Bistro Jeanty in Yountville, focuses on French American fare with a strong emphasis on locally and sustainably sourced items. On the drinks side, GM Ginny Brown and Miranda Poore from Hog & Rocks concocted the menu. Particularly notable is a build-your-own-soda program, allowing drinkers to combine up to three soda flavors into a non-alcoholic creation of their own (strawberry, vanilla, thyme, tarragon, and even bacon are among the options; booze can be added, too). The menu is rounded out by an all-California wine list.