Scopo Divino is doing a little bit of everything with their beautiful wine bar bistro space — and people are noticing. For one, they’ve already been voted best wine bar by both the Bay Guardian and SF Weekly in their “best of” issues in 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively. Located on the more residential corridor of California and Divisadero, you may have easily passed up this neighborhood spot and not realized it, and according to owner Tim Hayman, most of their patrons are from the neighborhood. But, with all the aforementioned awards and buzz that’s being generated, they’re definitely turning into a destination spot.
What’s something people may not realize when they first walk into Scopo Divino?
It always surprises people when they realize that our food is very good. Since we’re a wine place, people expect just the usual charcuterie and cheese (which, of course we do have), but we also have this great food program. We have an amazing chef who moved here recently from New Orleans, Chef Matthew Woods, and you know New Orleans takes their food seriously. So if he’s going to do anything, he’s going to do it the way he’s proud of it. Everything is so delicious. We also have a brunch, which is also unique for a wine bar. (And, of course, beignets are on the menu.)
That sounds amazing. Would you say your entire staff then, are pretty serious about food and wine?
I mean, you have to be to curate that experience for guests. When we started, we wanted to focus on service and have a higher level of it here and make sure we all know our wine very well. We offer what’s called a “wine therapy” session where you can order a flight, get talked through the flight, thereby creating that emotional connection between the wine and the customer. That’s kind of what drove me to start in the beginning — I was a consultative salesperson in the past, and now I’m a consultative wine person. Because it’s more fun that way. People drink wine to change or enhance their mood, and we specialize in pairing wines to do just that for them. That’s part of the trick.
What else do you think makes Scopo Divino stand out among other wine bars?
When you first walk in, there are maps from all over the world on the wall. They feature places where wine is done well, and I think people immediately get the idea — we don’t focus on just Californian wines or just Italian wines. We do wine from where wine is done well, and that’s all over the world.
Something special that we also do is called Club Divino, our membership program. It’s pretty unique, it’s only $15/mo and guests can enjoy 20% off the wines they purchase at the restaurant and deep discounts off our library list of reserve wines. The program’s been very popular, it’s gone over better than we could’ve imagined.
Let’s dig into the actual food and wine. Have you noticed any fan favorites?
On the food front, our meatballs are housemade and incredible. That’s something people come for and come back for. Our menu is always changing, but some things stay the same and I think the meatballs are always going to be a staple. That and the pecorino gnocchi are to die for.
What about on the wine front?
Well, we’re a wine bar, so I think that as far as fan favorites go, it changes by the season. Tempranillos are popular right now — we have a Díaz Bayo Crianza that’s absolutely delicious. That and, rosé. San Francisco loves its rosé and sparkling rosé. We have two sparkling rosés right now, and those are very popular.
We like to change things up a lot. We like to give people curve balls. If someone comes in and say “I don’t like merlot,” then I take that as a challenge and think, OK, you’ve had bad merlot before, and I don’t have any bad wine. So, let’s talk.
Because there’s so much to try and take in, what would you say is your elevator pitch?
We’re a wine bar in Pac Heights, it’s a cozy neighborhood spot. Come in. Whether it’s before dinner for wine and cheese, or after dinner for dessert, or during dinner for a full meal, or any other part of the day. If you want happy hour, live music, a delicious meal with memorably good service, we’ve got you covered.
You can dial it in however you want. We just want to put care into all parts of it.
What to know
Location: 2800 California Street @ Divisadero
Phone: (415) 928-3728
Hours: Monday-Friday: 3pm – Late, Saturday-Sunday: 11am – Late