Perched on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins, the iconic Top of the Mark Sky lounge grants its guests an immersive 360-degree panorama of San Francisco. From the legendary Golden Gate Bridge to the rugged terrains of the Marin Headlands, the lounge offers an unparalleled perspective. Remember the shimmering city lights and popular spots like Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf.
But the allure doesn’t just end with the vistas. Known for its expansive 100 Martinis menu, the lounge is a magnet for those looking for a relaxed evening, complete with cocktails, light dining, and live entertainment most nights. If you’re an early bird, they serve breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea from Monday to Saturday and a delectable brunch on Sundays.
Imagine, in 1939, owner George D. Smith was apprehensive about his decision to transform the 19th-floor penthouse apartment of his Mark Hopkins Hotel into this cocktail lounge. He wondered, “Would people journey 19 floors just for a drink and a view?” Smith added a dance floor to hedge his bets and roped in a live band. However, within days of its grand opening on May 11, the overwhelming crowds led to the dance floor being removed to make space. And thus, a legendary San Francisco hangout spot was born.
History lovers would appreciate the Top of the Mark’s connection to World War II. Service members would practice a heartfelt tradition – they’d buy a bottle, leave it with the bartender, and the subsequent soldier from their squadron would have a complimentary drink. The catch? The person sipping the last drop bought the next bottle. These brave men would assemble for a final toast to the Golden Gate Bridge, associating it with good fortune and hopes of return. As ships departed, their loved ones created in the lounge’s northwest corner, now dubbed the “Weepers’ Corner,” looking out with heavy hearts.
Over the decades, the lounge has had its share of star-studded visitors. Names like President Herbert Hoover, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Michael Jackson, and even royals like Prince Edward and Prince Charles have basked in its ambiance. The quirky John Barrymore even took his pet monkey up there for the view!
Today, the Top of the Mark remains a top-tier bucket list item for travelers worldwide. Whether it’s the sweeping views, the eclectic martinis, or just a touch of history and glamour you’re after, this San Francisco gem promises an experience like no other. Make your reservation here.
The Top of the Mark is more than just a place to grab a drink. It’s a journey through San Francisco’s history, a treat for the senses, and a tribute to all the old and new stories that have unfolded here. Put this legendary spot on your must-visit list on your next trip to the City by the Bay.