Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated Michel Bistro will close on April 14 to make way for a new, mid-century-themed cocktail bar and restaurant called Bardo Lounge & Supper Club.
Seth and Jenni Bregman bought Michel Bistro (3343 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland) about a year ago with the intention of eventually turning it into the lounge of their dreams. They were attracted to Michel’s location — just a mile from their home — and the bones of the building. Michel’s top-notch chefs Anthony Salguero and Brian Starkey were a welcomed bonus, and they’ll stick around for Bardo Lounge.
“They had been doing Michel for a long time,” Seth said. “Once we got to know them and they got to know us, it was an organic conversation about them wanting to do something different as well.”
Prior to cooking at the Grand Lake area’s popular French bistro, Salguero and Starkey held stints at fine dining powerhouses Sons and Daughters, Commonwealth SF, and Plumed Horse. They’re still working on the menu for Bardo, but Seth said to expect a mix of small bites, full-scale dinner, and late-night options, all inspired by 1960s American dinner parties.
That’s really where the Bregmans are coming from with Bardo. Seth’s passion for making drinks turned into home entertaining and then a cocktail catering company called Bardo Cocktails. “There’s something about this old-school style of hospitality,” Jenni said, explaining their vast collection of vintage glassware, mixing sticks, coasters, punch bowls, cocktail books, and party guides from that era. They’ll contribute to the vibe at Bardo.
“We’d like to bring some of that fun quality of how people were doing cocktail parties not that long ago,” Seth continued.
Seth has been polishing his chops as a bartender at Stookey’s Club Moderne, the acclaimed post-Prohibition cocktail bar in San Francisco. At Bardo, he wants to mix time-honored traditions with new techniques. That might look like a fun interpretation of the Long Island Iced Tea, but Seth assured there will be no cheesy flavored vodkas. “There’s so much really great talent in the Bay Area and so much innovation,” he said. “I think we’d like to bring some of that as well into a classically focused program.”
The Bregmans hired Arcsine, the design firm behind Duende and Calavera, to create the feel of a mid-century living room. They hope to open in May.
But first, Michel Bistro fans have a chance to say goodbye to their beloved neighborhood restaurant. Starting today, Michel will offer a revised menu that digs into old favorites as well as new items, such as burgundy escargot, bison tartare, and the classic lamb burger. A final farewell party will take place Saturday, April 14.