The Pawn Shop is not your typical restaurant. In fact, it was once a fully functional pawn shop for over 25 before it was transformed into what it is today. It is located right next door to Monarch, the popular Soma nightclub, and also run by the same owners. The owners had always dreamed of having a restaurant that could cater to Monarch's guests and also provide food options. When the opportunity arose to acquire the adjacent pawn shop, they saw it as the perfect chance to continue the legacy of the pawn shop while also creating something new - a speakeasy-style restaurant with a unique entrance through a pawn shop portal.
The Pawn Shop has a unique entrance that sets it apart from other restaurants. To enter the restaurant, patrons must first go through a pawn shop portal and trade an item with the Pawnmaster, MSS VEE. The front entrance is covered in quirky and kitschy items that have been traded over time. According to managing partner, Michael Anthony, items need to be special or unique in order to be traded.
The interior of the restaurant was designed to have a Havana 1920s Deco theme, which ties in perfectly with Monarch's deco theme concept. The team pulled up the carpet to reveal an incredible wood floor and uncovered a stunning real brick wall behind the drywall. The speakeasy concept really came to life with these discoveries, and customers love the vintage, glamorous vibe of the restaurant.
"We want people to feel like they've stumbled upon a hidden treasure when they come here." explains Michael.
With a nod to the building’s past, The Pawn Shop features a storefront that looks just like a traditional pawn shop, complete with vintage signage and a dusty display window filled with eclectic items. But step inside and you’ll find yourself transported to a sleek, sexy space that’s equal parts speakeasy and modern tapas restaurant. The ambiance is intimate and inviting, with a focus on creating an experience that’s both fun and memorable.
But The Pawn Shop is not just about the ambiance. The restaurant also has a bar with delicious low ABV cocktails like The Uno, made with elderflower liquor, prosecco, grapefruit, bitters and lime, is a refreshing choice for those who want to indulge without getting too tipsy. The Tres, on the other hand, is a heavier option, featuring vermouth, madeira, bitters, orange, pomegranate and rosemary. These cocktails are perfect for pairing with the restaurant's traditional Spanish tapas menu.
Guests can expect to find classic tapas dishes like blistered shishito peppers and patatas bravas, as well as heartier options like grilled octopus and seared steak. The dishes are expertly crafted by the restaurant's talented kitchen staff and headed by executive chef Jonny Meinke.
In addition to the main dining area, The Pawn Shop also offers a private karaoke room for up to 12 people, as well as catering services for events and parties.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic date night spot or a fun night out with friends, This restaurant is the perfect choice. It’s a hidden gem that’s quickly becoming a favorite among locals and visitors alike, and it’s easy to see why. The Pawn Shop has certainly succeeded in bringing the hidden restaurant concept to San Francisco. Upon entering the pawn shop portal, guests are transported to a completely different world with dim lighting, vintage decor, and a menu of delicious tapas and craft cocktails.
Overall, The Pawn Shop is a must-visit spot for anyone looking for a unique and immersive dining experience in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood.