Tucked away on Mission Street, in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, is The Paramount.
A 40-story Related Rentals property, The Paramount’s amazing amenities are only surpassed by the ultra coolness of its residents. One such resident, is California-native John P.
John owns Novela, the literary-inspired bar next door to The Paramount. We had the opportunity to sit down with John recently and chat about all things SoMa, food and of course, mixology!
Related Rentals: What’s your favorite thing about living in San Francisco?
John: I love the ever changing food and cocktail culture here. We’re surrounded by some of the most innovative restaurants and bars in the world but all in our neighborhood. It’s awesome!
I grew up in Marin, but, always hung out in San Francisco from my college days until young adulthood.
I decided to move to move here in 2009 and immediately fell in love with SoMa.
Related Rentals: Tell me about The Paramount, you’ve live here for a while, why did you choose it?
John: I moved to The Paramount simply because it was convenient for work at Novela. Soon after I moved in, I realized I was too conveniently close to my employees and guests. I became the first response to almost everything. But, that’s even justifiable due to the location!
Related Rentals: What’s the best thing about living here?
John: The constant transformation of this neighborhood is insane. The explosion of new high risers being built to openings of new restaurants and bars weekly makes living in the neighborhood never dull.
As a resident of the Paramount, the best thing about living in the building is the amazing hard working staff here.
They are so pleasant!
Related Rentals: Now, you own Novela next door – a bar with scrumptious cocktails that also happen to be literary themed. So, tell me, what’s your favorite book? Do you have a favorite literary character?
John: Funny you ask.. I wasn’t much of a bookworm as a child. I enjoyed being outdoors and being active. As an adult, I find myself levitating towards books related to my career such as leadership, management, hospitality, cocktail, and food related books.
But, out of the small handful of books I read as a teenager, I would say Great Gatsby was my favorite book. Perhaps, I wanted to be Jay Gatsby in secret?
One of the first cocktails on our menu was “Jay Gatsby” and after almost four years it is still our best selling cocktail. It even made last year’s 7×7’s “50 Cocktails to Sip in SF Before You Die” list.
Related Rentals: You also own Whitechapel, which is a gin spot, correct?
John: Yes, I opened Whitechapel with my former GM of Novela, Alex Smith, and Martin Cate who is the owner of Smuggler’s Cove. While, I was employing Alex as my GM, he presented the Whitechapel business plan to me. I was shocked how detailed and creative the concept was. By coincidence, a location was offered to me couple weeks after I read his business plan and we quickly decided to make 600 Polk Street home to Whitechapel.
Related Rentals: Nice! It also boasts about 400 gins?
John: We opened with 400+ gins. We are now over 600+ gins! We have this amazing talented gin expert who we call our “Ginnoisseur” who travels around the world learning and collecting gins and shares it with our team and customers. Her name is Keli Rivers and you can often find her on the floor sharing her gin knowledge and experience with our customers.
Related Rentals: Any advice to a budding bartender? Or someone who wants to make their own stuff at home?
John: I’ve always been a fan of boozy cocktails. An easy classic cocktail you can make at home is a Negroni, one of my favorite gin cocktails. Just add these three ingredients in equal parts to a rocks glass filled with ice, gently stir and garnish with orange wedge or zest.
– 1 ounce of Campari
– 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
– 1 ounce of gin
Vodka is definitely the easiest spirit you can work with but it is also the most boring in my opinion. Now, gin is the cool vodka sibling with personality and style but as approachable for even the novice drinker. We often get asked about our gin cocktails, “Is this really gin?”
Related Rentals: In a past life, do you think you would have been a rum runner… or gin runner rather?
John: Rum or Gin Runner? Hahaha, It certainly explains why I do what I do.
Related Rentals: So, when you aren’t running your hospitality empire, what can we find you doing?
John: Snowboarding or wakeboarding! I love any sport with a board under my feet. Brings me back to my childhood. But, if I can’t be on the mountains or on a lake, I do love exploring different restaurants and bars in every corner of San Francisco. Of course, it helps I can expense much of it as “research and development” with IRS. 😉
Related Rentals: hahaha, too funny. So, wait, tell me are there any unique food finds you’ve come across in the San Francisco food scene, and you’ve thought to yourself, “this is amazing!”
John: I really love the small “mom and pop” restaurants. Often these smaller restaurants are where you find true love for food and their customers.
Recipes are often passed on from generations before and you can taste the goodness and the TLC. If you like fresh seafood, I highly recommend a Vietnamese / Chinese Seafood restaurant in the Union Square area called Kim Thanh.
Their salt and pepper baked crab is to die for!
Related Rentals: So, you consider yourself a foodie then?
John: A foodie? Hmm.. I’m first a boozie then maybe a foodie.
Related Rentals: Okay, last question, it’s a lazy Sunday at The Paramount, what can we find you doing…go!
John: I love our pool deck! The past summer I spent many Sundays BBQ-ing and drinking a glass of rose. Can it be summer already?