Perched atop the Grand Hyatt on the 36th floor, the Grandviews Restaurant and Lounge offers what veteran bartender Jaime Arevalo calls “one of the best-kept secrets of San Francisco” — spectacular panoramic views of The City and the Bay, including sunsets over the Golden Gate Bridge, and sweeping vistas of Nob Hill, Alcatraz and the Marin Headlands. “It changes every day. It’s one of the top views in The City, possibly the world,” he said. “Visitors should come here first because they can see all the major tourist attractions from here.” On Friday and Saturday nights from 8:30 to 11:30, a piano player complements the cuisine. Hotel renovations are planned, but the eagle’s-eye view will remain.
Grandviews Restaurant and Lounge, 345 Stockton St. (at Union Square), San Francisco, (415) 398-1234 ext. 3636, www.grandsanfrancisco.hyatt.com
What drew you to the work? Dealing with people, making friends, making conversation. I enjoy people.
How did you learn the job? Who taught you the most? I came from Peru when I was 15 and worked in an Italian restaurant for five years. A friend who owned the Puerto Vallarta bar showed me the ropes and there I met the man who hired me for the Hyatt.
How long have you tended bar here? [Jan. 28] was my 38th anniversary working here. I began in January 1973, when the hotel opened and the paint was still wet. I was 21. I’ve worked every bar in the hotel. We used to have a discotheque and theme bars. It’s a great place to work.
What’s your favorite part of working at the Hyatt? It’s a corporate bar with a neighborhood feel. There is the freedom to do your own thing. Bartenders can develop drinks. The sangria here is a secret recipe — a previous employee’s grandma’s recipe.
What are the top sellers here? We sell a lot of martinis, the chocolate-covered cherry martinis and espresso martinis, a lot of cosmos, lemon drops and appletinis, and the 2-ounce martinis made with Rain vodka. We’re introducing a green martini with Midori with the new menu.
What do you like to drink? I’m not a drinker, I’m a very light drinker. I like Cuba libres and sauvignon blanc. I like tropical drinks, on the sweet side.
Who are the most famous customers you’ve served? I knew you would ask that. Oh, let’s see. Jesse Jackson; Joe Montana; Carol Doda; [soccer superstar] Pele, who was the nicest of them all; Jet Li; Harry Kalas, the Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster, the voice of the NFL who passed away. And Peruvian novelist and Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you do? There would have to be a connection with people. Maybe I would be a concierge or travel agent, or drive a limo and tell people all my stories.
Put in ice and ingredients, add Pepsi or Coca Cola to fill. Garnish with lemon slice.