The Riddler

The words champagne and bar are particularly thrilling when next to one another, but even more so when you learn that the bar in question is entirely backed by ladies. In the heart of Hayes Valley, The Riddler offers champagne, small bites, and complimentary popcorn in a super chic environment. 

The former chef at Aatxe helped create the menu, which includes caviar, cheese, charcuterie, and tater tot waffles. The Riddler extends the tongue in cheek ambience with their menu offerings, “A Joan: For when you’ve had a hard day, a glass of cheap house wine…filled all the way to the rim” and their single beer offering: Miller High Life. It is the champagne of beers after all. 

If you’ve heard of The Riddler, it’s likely because owner Jen Pelka also owns Magnum PR –representing Mister Jiu’s and AL’s Place among others- and is currently working her PR magic on her own restaurant. She’s doing an amazing job, considering that every time you stop by the place is packed and the wait time is lengthy. On a Thursday night, the hostess quoted a three and a half hour wait, “at least.” We left and got pizza. Intending to grab a table without a wait, we decided to show up just before the doors opened. Apparently eighteen others had the same idea, and there was a line already around the block. 

The place itself is really cute, with brass rails, hanging plants and marble topped tables. Because there are so many people waiting to get in, you get the impression that you’re a bit rushed. Our server asked if we were doing alright, to which we replied yes, and were almost immediately brought the check. I really enjoyed the ambiance, but I think I’ll wait until the crowds die down before heading back.