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Oh, Cafe du Nord. One of the city’s most beloved indie-music venues has gotten a fancy refresh (thanks to the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group and Bon Vivants, the folks behind Flour + Water and Trick Dog, respectively). It may resemble little of what it once was--a dive-y yet heartwarming underground spot with a quirky restaurant-like alcove and a pool table in the back--but we promise you’ll like its new attitude. Here’s why.

Michael David Rose

The Decor

Du Nord is definitely going for the trendy speakeasy vibe: It’s a 1930s-inspired lounge with wood wainscoting, vintage wallpaper in soft greens and grays, and dim lighting. All that, plus the big wraparound bar from the original space.


The Cocktails

Inspired by the bar’s 100-year history, the drinks are strong and a throwback to some of the city’s old classics. Order the Södermalm, a nod to the building’s Swedish history, with rye, vermouth, cherry liqueur and bitters.


The Viking Room

As you descend the stairs into the bar, you’ll see a closed door across the main floor. Go through it. Here you’ll find a few tables reserved solely for dining, along with Du Nord’s legendary stage, which hosts nightly performances of jazz-influenced crooners.


The Food

With chef Thomas McNaughton at the helm, you can’t go wrong. Start with the beef tartare (accented with anchovies, chiles and sourdough). Then share the cioppino and chicken al Mattone (with arugula, squash and charred lemon) with the table for your main dish.


The Late-Night Specials

When the clock strikes midnight, bottles of Champagne go for half price and half-price oysters take over the menu. We can’t think of a better reason to stay up late.

Cafe du Nord, 2174 Market St.; 415-471-2969 or

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