Phil Spiegel is my long-time friend, a San Francisco local, and mover-and-shaker. He’s leading the new restaurant, bar, and private event space that will soon debut inside the 500-foot-tall skyscraper and its century-old conservatory on One Sansome Street in Downtown San Francisco.

Q: Phil! We have been friends for more than a decade. I think we met back when we both worked on the San Francisco Symphony Symphonix Board. You grew up in San Francisco. How have you seen it change?

A: Wow, big question! The biggest change over time (a lot of time!) is that San Francisco through its many booms and busts has become a little more transient. There was a day when San Francisco was like Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name”. I would say over the past 25 years or so we see a lot of people passing through as opposed to settling. That being said, if we aren’t changing we are dying so I’m for the evolution but I do fondly remember days of walking Chestnut Street with my grandfather and him saying hi to every person and business owner in sight. It was pretty cool.

Q: You are a total mover and shaker. What are your favorite parts of town to live in? 

A: Over my 50 years, I lived in Westlake One (if you know, you know), the dorms at USF, the Richmond, the Sunset, North Beach, Marina, Soma, and back to the Marina. I could tell you love stories about all of those neighborhoods. I tend to love places with great walkability. In the Marina, the ability to walk to the bridge, walk to the coffee shop, heck, even walk downtown is something that I appreciate.

Q: You have undertaken a major fundraising project to get The Conservatory off the ground. Tell us about the Conservatory, and tell us what your investors were most excited about when signing on for this venture. 

A: The Conservatory at One Sansome is a project that I’m incredibly proud of and quite frankly I joke that it’s my “Mona Lisa”. I spent 11 years building a hospitality company with my brother and the next 11 years building a hospitality company with Clint Reilly…all in San Francisco proper. Both Clint and Jeff have given me a master class in this industry and it allows me to see the Conservatory at One Sansome through a unique and creative lens. This project has multiple business models doing so many interesting and fun things. What is exciting? Let’s start with the address, One Sansome Street. You can’t replicate an 8,000 sf historic marble-walled, glass ceiling, authentically San Franciscan space. It’s spectacular. In this space, we get to host the great San Francisco Wedding, the vital fundraiser, the corporate collaboration, and the civic celebration. We also get to activate a great public space and program free activities that help get people back in an office, back in the Fidi, and hopefully interacting creatively in the community. What is exciting? Our project included opening the Holbrook House bar and restaurant in the lobby of the building. Creating a restaurant adjacent to a kind conservatory required bringing in a one-of-a-kind designer and we did that with Jeff Schlarb. Jeff, his team, and I have come up with something that to me is truly San Franciscan and will be part of our community for a long time. Jeff has a design that feels classic, is classic, yet is also contemporary and unique which not coincidentally could describe our city. The restaurant will be truly serving the Fidi while people are there as we are offering a sophisticated sit-down breakfast and sit-down lunch and then it will be time for a post-work cocktail (yes there is a happy hour menu)! What is exciting? The Conservatory at One Sansome has a business center that has conference rooms, breakout areas, and state-of-the-art amenities for the tenants of the 42-story building. We get to provide bespoke hospitality to all the tenants of the building and hopefully successfully execute a model that makes everyone involved a winner. People who know me well know that I like to tell a story or two. My investors and I are excited to have a multi-faceted project like this that will no doubt lead to some new stories, some fun stories, and will stimulate many stories for all of our guests for a long time.

Q: So many people say San Francisco is in a decline. How do you respond?

A: My response is opening a 16,000 sf event facility, restaurant, and commercial office catering operation in the heart of the San Francisco Financial District in the summer of 2023. I believe all San Franciscans want safer streets. I believe all San Franciscans want cleaner streets. I believe all San Franciscans will hold public officials accountable to provide us with safer, cleaner streets. I believe this and as a San Franciscan (who is not leaving) I am opening this project with the hope that I can do my part in helping get San Francisco back on the incline.

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