San Francisco's oldest building, the Presidio Officers' Club, reopened in November 2014 after a beautiful new $30 million renovation, making the Presidio even more of a must-visit.
The adobe walls of what is now the Officers' Club were built in 1776 (before Mission Dolores, which often gets credited as the city's oldest building) by Spanish colonists and the building served as the quarters and offices of the El Presidio fort. The building remained intact through the 1800s, when the area came under Mexican sovereignty, and through the following century, when it was an exclusive gathering place for US Army brass and their families. In 1994, the Presidio was transferred to the National Park Service and now, the Officers' Club, which is widely considered the crown jewel of the Presidio, has been reborn as a dynamic, 38,895-square-foot cultural destination open to the public.
“This is the Presidio's new front door,” says Presidio Trust executive director Craig Middleton. “It's historic, but always relevant.”
The Officers' Club is home to several permanent and rotating exhibits, the most noteworthy of which is the Heritage Gallery, featuring multi-media displays on the area's history. Much of that history is discovered by local archaeologists who staff an active research center where the Presidio's artifacts are studied.
The club is also home to Arguello, a new Mexican restaurant from local acclaimed chef Traci Des Jardins. Expect casual and traditional lunch options with a more complex dinner menu. Inside the restaurant, you'll find original pendants and wall sconces as well as a bar made from the reclaimed wood of a demolished Presidio building. Adjacent to the restaurant is the latest sculpture from nature artist Andy Goldsworthy (his fourth Presidio installation), which incorporates local eucalyptus trees, further connecting the building with its Presidio surroundings.
Visit the Presidio Officers' Club at 50 Moraga Ave. on the Presidio's Main Post, 415.561.5444.