660 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965 (See Map Below)
Neighborhood: Bridgeway Promenade. Website is here. Limited street parking across the street on Bridgeway (south of Princess St.) and on Princess St. A fixed-price lot is across the street and down the block, and city lots are about three blocks away.
We had been mumbling for years about the wasted opportunities inherent in the great view site of the old Houlihan’s and Water Street Grille space at Bridgeway and Princess Streets. What we heard (and caveat rumoritis) was that the lack of an ADA-compliant elevator in the building and no plans for its installation scared away restaurateurs. As of July 1, 2013, however, Chris Henry’s long and loving renovation of the building was complete and Barrel House has now become an established part of the Sausalito dining scene.
Once the location of the Sausalito Ferry terminal over 100 years ago, later the Sausalito Public Library, and from the 1940’s to the 60’s the location of Purity Market, Barrel House has gone through an extensive remodel that includes a barrel-shaped ceiling. To be fair, the curved roof-line dates back to the Purity Market days, but the re-rendering of the interior ceiling as the wall of a massive wine barrel was a huge and expensive undertaking.
The marble bar with an intimate corner bench-cum-tables sitting area overlooks the heart of downtown at Bridgeway and Princess St., and features a working open-hearth stove. The dining room now has oversized windows that do a far better job of bringing in the million-dollar view of the Bay and the San Francisco skyline than did the previous design.
In our Autumn, 2015 restaurant surveys Barrel House rated very highly as one of Sausalito’s Best Casual Restaurants, which reflects its informality and the fact that they welcome guests wearing everything from Ferragamos to flip-flops. That said, this is also a “fine dining” restaurant with meals that are more expensive then most places in Sausalito.
Some additional news that we should roll out about Barrel House? Can you barrelly contain your excitement at seeing this great new interior design? Hard to stave off the desire to have a unique new drink at their bar? Ready to ask me to stick a cork in the barrel jokes? Disagree with any of our suggestions? Please let us know!