San Francisco-Financial District
May 11, 2018
Housed in the former Fluid Ultralounge space, Novela is a new bar with a literary theme. The name is the Spanish word for ‘novel’ and the venue has been designed to resemble a library, and a hip, glamorous library at that. It’s a dramatic, attractive space with black and white floors, customised wallpaper and chandeliers suspended inside huge bird cages. The walls are lined with books, a whole rainbow of the things, arranged by colour rather than author. These are illuminated at night by a LED lighting system. It’s a huge space too with plenty of room for drinking and mingling. But as stylish as the design is (and this place is a looker), it’s the cocktail list that really excites. One of the highlights is the house punches, of which there are six kinds available on draft. Punch can be ordered in individual pours or by the bowl, if there’s a group of you. The Code Hero, a potent mix of rye, Irish whiskey, Scotch, maraschino, Earl Grey, grapefruit, and lemon, is one of the mainstays though the selection will change with the seasons. The literary theme extends to the cocktail menu, with house drinks taking their names from famous fictional characters: the Leopold Bloom is a mixture of hibiscus gin, pineapple and mint, the Holden Caulfield is a spirited mix of rye, sherry and angelica bitters, while the Jay Gatsby is a suitably golden blend of bourbon, amaretto and scotch.