When the owners of Brass Tacks, the handsome, moody cocktail bar in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood, opened Anina next door, they called on just the right designer to create the perfect low-key, yet ethereal counterbalance: the inimitable Sayre Ziskin.
Sayre is known for her ability to dream up that ‘just right’ minimal and modern bohemian atmosphere with plenty of unique design elements. Each of Sayre’s projects is tailored to her client’s lifestyle and taste, but the unmistakable flair that makes her design services so in-demand always shines through: think earth tones, textural fabrics and textiles and show-stopping pieces of art.
Sayre gave us a tour of this red-hot hangout and let us in on the inspiration behind Anina’s gorgeous design (including that jaw-dropping, hand-painted mural). Read on below, and get the recipe for Anina’s delicious signature cocktail, directly from co-owner Matt Conway!
What are three words you’d use to describe Anina?
Lighthearted, relaxed and fresh.
What does the name ‘Anina’ mean?
The owners and I were looking for a feminine muse to guide the design of the space. We decided to create her and we gave her the name ‘Anina’ because it’s beautiful and it kind of doesn’t have any particular country or ethnicity. It’s pretty in any language.
What kind of atmosphere did you want to create for the space? Was there a particular style you were trying to achieve at Anina?
I was trying to create a cocktail bar that felt unique for San Francisco; basically something that wasn’t dark or moody. I was trying to bring a bit of that sunshine LA vibe to SF and make the space feel like a happy place to drink and be merry. I feel like we accomplished that.
What was on your mood board when designing the space?
I always knew I wanted great, big flowers adorning white textured walls and that was really where I started. All of the other elements just came flooding into my head after committing to the flowers; the Popham Moroccan tile, the Heather Levine pendants (which I first saw in Paris at Le Marie Celeste), the wall of abstract nudes, the Brazilian hardwood floors — it organically flowed.
Tell us about that gorgeous mural. Who is the artist, and what was the process like?
I stalked Lucila Dominguez on Pinterest and messaged her after looking through a lot of different artists work. Her paintings have an abstract wildness to them and feel very alive. She was so gracious when I reached out and it was a wonderful collaboration. I was with her on site many of the days she was painting and totally in awe of her skill and eye. We picked a lot of the flower species together and also created a color palate that worked for both of us. She’s a brilliant artist.
That gallery wall is picture-perfect. What was the thought behind the pieces you chose?
I selected colorful, slightly abstract nudes that I found at various flea markets and online and framed them in vintage frames. I bought a whole lot of watercolors that were painted by a woman in Pittsburgh, from a gentleman who collected them from her estate. I still have quite a few prints left and am hanging them in my home and letting some of them go to friends.
The space has a modern bohemian and island-inspired feel – especially those the tiles and lighting fixtures. How did you strike the right balance between tropical and contemporary?
The key to not going overboard is to keep the furnishings and surface finishes minimal. The white walls and warm flooring really help keep the space clean while letting the tile and the mural shine. It’s just about balance.
How did you want to incorporate color?
I wanted the color mostly earth-toned while still being vibrant. I kept describing my palate to the artists working on the project as ‘vegetable dyes’ because those colors have a certain inky, earthy tone even though they can be bright. The white walls allow the bits of color here and there to shine through and take effect.
For a wildly refreshing and perfectly zesty apéritif, try Anina’s signature drink below.
Makes 1 cocktail
- 1.5 oz. Amara Amaro (a blood orange amaro from Sicily)
- .75 oz. Cappalletti Aperitivo (a wine-based aperitivo from the Trento area of Northern Italy)
- .5 oz. St. George Bruto Americano (local bitter from Alameda’s St. George)
- .75 oz fresh lime juice
Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker, add ice, shake hard for 6-7 seconds.
Fine strain over a large cube in a frozen old fashioned glass. No garnish needed. Enjoy!
All photos courtesy of Sayre Ziskin