Go Ask Alice: PlumpJack’s New Bar White Rabbit Now Open

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White Rabbit
White Rabbit

Photo Credit: Russie Sanders

Walk into White Rabbit, the new bar from the Plumpjack Group, and it’s hard to believe the space used to be The Matrix Fillmore. The dark masculine decor has been replaced with a bright living room-like set up with pale pink armchairs, modern couches, and graphic rugs. The entire bar feels larger, brighter, newer. “The vision for White Rabbit is to be an approachable bar that people like to hang out at throughout the day, midweek, and then on the weekends, it kind of turns into a party,” Rico Avila, PlumpJack’s business development director, told Haute Living.

The bar at White Rabbit
The bar at White Rabbit

Photo Credit: Russie Sanders

The name White Rabbit pays homage to the building’s past. Initially opened in 1965 by the band Jefferson Airplane, The Matrix was a music venue. “The Grateful Dead played here,” Avila says. “The Doors recorded an album here. Bob Marley’s first San Francisco gigs were here.” One of Jefferson Airplane’s most popular songs at the time was White Rabbit.

White Rabbit has an extensive record collection
White Rabbit has an extensive record collection

Photo Credit: Russie Sanders“That’s where the name comes from. We wanted to celebrate the history of the music, the imprint that this building put on the music industry,” Avila explains. “We wanted to find a way aesthetically to celebrate psychedelia and that history, but be approachable and a modern place where the people who hang about in the Marina will feel comfortable at.” Avila and the design firm Shopworks realized their goal by setting up a massive vinyl record collection inside a DJ booth. A vignette of white rabbit artwork reinforces the theme.

An assortment of cocktails including Bieler Sabine Rosé; a beer; the Ginger Hop a mixture of Frisco Pisco, lime, and ginger liqueur; the Mad Hatter made with habanero-infused mezcal, cilantro agave, lime, and pineapple gum syrup; and Hunt & Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon
An assortment of cocktails including Bieler Sabine Rosé; a beer; the Ginger Hop a mixture of Frisco Pisco, lime, and ginger liqueur; the Mad Hatter made with habanero-infused mezcal, cilantro agave, lime, and pineapple gum syrup; and Hunt & Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon

Photo Credit: Russie Sanders

The name White Rabbit also illustrates a playfulness. There’s no pretentiousness. It’s supposed to be a neighborhood bar—the sort of place people return to again and again and the bartender knows your name. The short and straightforward cocktail menu reflects this mentality. “We originally toyed around with the idea of not having a cocktail menu at all, because, with White Rabbit, we’re conscious of not being a craft cocktail bar,” Avila says.

A floral concoction
A floral concoction

Photo Credit: Russie Sanders“People in San Francisco are getting tired of them. In the Marina particularly, people are looking for a vodka soda, and they’re looking for it as fast as possible. When we created the menu, it was with that in mind. All our cocktails are easy to make, and you’re not waiting five minutes for a drink. We did that very purposefully. We didn’t want to do a 12-step cocktail because it’s exhausting.”

Rosé is on tap
Rosé is on tap

Photo Credit: Russie Sanders

To ensure that guests don’t go hungry, there is a snack menu that consists of cheese, charcuterie, flavored popcorn, and deviled eggs from The Balboa Cafe, which is across the street. Rosé on tap, buckets of mini bottles of champagne, and beer are also available. With only a month into business, White Rabbit seems poised for success. The changes are welcome and have breathed new life into the space. As Avila puts it, “People, who come in say, ‘Wow, this is a pleasant change. We’re pleased that you guys have done this for the neighborhood.’ “

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