As soon as customers step inside the newly opened provisions shop Pine & Polk, they’re surrounded by seemingly every food and drink item needed for an urban picnic, from gourmet granola to kombucha to Shukette’s Not Your Average hummus. The 250-square-foot retail space is bright, with kitschy signage like “Really good goods.”
But push aside a shelved wall of fancy chocolate bars, and a surprise awaits. The secret wall opens up to reveal a more dimly lit hidden cocktail bar, aptly called PS, which debuts to the public on May 20. The bar’s name, also a reference to being in the know about the speakeasy, stands for Pacific Standard.
The owners, Lindsay Weiss and Alyssa Golub, are two long-time friends and hospitality professionals who met in San Francisco at the literal intersection of Pine and Polk streets. Their businesses at 300 Spring Street, between Hudson and Renwick streets, blend their East and West Coast influences — a sort of California chill meets New York refinement.
There’s also a dedicated effort to showcase women- and minority-owned food businesses, with offerings like vegan ranch dressing from Seed + Mill and ice creams from Miss Mona Makes Ice Cream. At any given time, Weiss and Golub say that 60 to 90 percent of the products sold in the shop will come from these groups.
PS — which can seat up to 39 people at a time, between bar stools and tables in the lounge area — is designed to feel like a dinner party thrown by the business partners. “With the drinks and food, we want it to be beautiful and tasty, but it’s all about being with your friends and grazing,” Golub says.
The lion’s share of the food menu are those charcuterie boards so popular on social media — “not just three cheeses on a board, but bountiful,” Weiss says. Each board will include one or two items that will be sold up front at Pine & Polk. It’s a way of tying both parts of the business together without being “too in your face,” Weiss adds. There’s the Sea Board, with tinned fish and a roe-and-potato salad, as well as a dessert-focused board with a selection of chocolates, nut butters, and fresh fruit. Customers will also be able to top up their food with caviar. Golub says their refined-yet-approachable caviar service also reflects their overall goals for the service and vibe at PS.
Drinks offerings won’t focus on a single spirit but rather will be a blend of house cocktails and riffs on classics, in some cases with playful names (for a Paper Plane, their rendition is called SFO to JFK). The ethos of highlighting women- and minority-owned businesses also will carry through to PS, from the wine list to the bottles sitting on the back bar to even the wine glasses themselves, which are created by sommelier Victoria James and available for purchase up front.
At PS, the leadership is all women: bar director Melissa Derfler hails from the Musket Room, head chef Ali Ghriskey was formerly a sous chef at Misi, and general manager Aimee Ollman has worked for Michael Mina’s restaurant group.
Golub and Weiss consider their culinary backgrounds a complementary pairing, which makes them ideal business partners. While Golub is a certified sommelier who has primarily worked in restaurant operations, Weiss’s background is in food-related events and, as she says, “wrangling chefs” to work for various tech companies. The friends had long bonded over their love of farmers markets and, over the years, have thrown a lot of dinner parties together as a means of introducing friends to lesser-known local products.
During the pandemic, the friends bonded in a different way when each suddenly lost a parent. By the end of 2020 they both wound up resettled in New York looking for fresh starts while grieving. “We always had ideas and talked about opening something together, but the timing was never right,” Weiss says.
Then, as COVID opened more affordable real estate on the market, Golub says it presented an opportunity for the retail shop and a hidden bar. They settled into this space on the edge of Soho in Hudson Square after initially passing on it but “now we’re obsessed,” she says. “The idea really came together when we saw the space.”
PS is open 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.