When you step into Gibson inside of the Hotel Bijou, the first thing you’ll notice is how glamorous it feels – especially for San Francisco. The look leans heavily on Art Nouveau with lots of gorgeous tiles, shiny gold accents, and leather booths and banquettes. But if you look a little closer – specifically at the mural on the ceiling where the cherubs are sporting tattoos and Calvin Klein briefs – you’ll get your first clue that Gibson doesn’t take itself too seriously.
For inspiration, the designers played off the hotel’s name, from an era when Bijou was one of the most popular names for a movie house. The mural on the ceiling, Michelangelo meets street art-style, courtesy of Italian Artist, Marco Battaglini, is surrounded by clear bulbs reminiscent of a marquee. In place of a movie screen there’s a kitchen completely open to the dining room, similar to Chez Panisse and Saison. Diners don’t need a ticket to view the action at the stove and the glowing live fire where many dishes are cooked. Diners can watch the eight chefs, all dressed in blue shirts, jeans and dark wool aprons with leather straps, as they execute the eclectic small-plate menu.
The restaurant has already been lauded by local critics and food blogs as the next hot thing. This spot has snuck into downtown, gracing the Hotel Bijou with a new destination for contemporary dining. Walking into Gibson is like stumbling into the ‘20s. It’s a hip, elegant throwback spot with Art Nouveau-style finishes, antique mirrors, a decorative ceiling layered with images of the renaissance and graffiti, and a constant golden glow from antique lighting fixtures.