music in the park san jose

.A Family Dream Becomes Roses on Adeline

A neighborhood wine bar refurbished with vim and panache opens in Berkeley

music in the park san jose

Rose Clarke has been dreaming of owning a restaurant since she was young. “I loved eating with my parents,” she recalled. “They would throw parties, and we’d also go out to dinner.” 

Before opening Roses on Adeline with her parents, Clarke was working in San Francisco for the Flour + Water Hospitality Group. “Initially, I worked the sandwich line as a prep cook and then later on as a line cook for Penny Roma when it first opened,” she said. Clarke also worked for a year as a line cook at Good Good Culture Club in the Mission.     

When Nick’s Lounge was up for sale in late 2020, about three blocks away from Clarke’s house, her parents purchased the bar. “It had always been something my parents and I talked about,” Clarke said. “What if my dream became their dream because they’re both architects, and they do a lot of restoring and renovating.” After the sale went through, it took a solid three years to fully renovate it. Clarke and her family transformed an ultra-casual dive bar into an art-deco-inspired jewel box.    

“My dad is extremely artistic, and he’s got a great eye,” Clarke said. “Based on my experience in commercial kitchens, I had a lot to do with the kitchen design. And then later I was involved in the decoration, the colors of the walls and booths and bathrooms.” 

There isn’t a single interior detail that’s been overlooked. The tiles behind the bar form a pattern made from the colors of a harlequin’s jumpsuit—periwinkle, amber and verdigris. From the ceiling beams to the floor boards, red and blonde woods exude warmth and coziness. It’s the kind of wine bar that’s made for intimate conversation, date nights and lingering in general.   

“Ever since I started working at restaurants, I always had this idea in my mind that eventually I would have my own spot,” Clarke explained. “I was constantly looking at it from that lens of, ‘What do I like, and what do I want to bring to my place?’” Compared to being a line cook, becoming an operations manager is the hardest thing she’s ever done. “Stress and anxiety-wise, there’s a lot at stake,” she said. “The pressure that I have to make money is hard, but it’s definitely worth it.”

Clarke created a small menu featuring bar bites, shared plates and desserts. “Basically it’s bar food that’s slightly elevated,” she said. “It’s comforts and classics with a little twist driven by seasonal products.” Among the bar bite choices, there’s a charcuterie plate ($19) and a double smashburger ($19). More substantial fare includes lamb and beef kefta meatballs ($23) and katsu-style fried chicken ($21). 

“It makes the job a lot more fun when you’re able to switch it up,” Clarke said. “Certain things will always stay, like the burger, but I want to add to the menu once I feel that I can be 100% behind the items I do bring on.” During the soft opening phase, the menu was much bigger. “We pared back because it was just too much to start with,” she explained. And they wanted to highlight the wine list and curated cocktails concocted by bar manager Jennifer Colliau.

“We were super lucky to have Jennifer apply,” Clarke said. “She’s a long-time Berkeley resident, and she was super down with our vision.” When Clarke and Colliau met to discuss the cocktail menu, Clarke told her that she loved candy and edible garnishes. “Our drinks have stuff like that because she also has a big sweet tooth,” she noted. Colliau, a well-regarded bar consultant and mixologist, used to run her own bar, Here’s How in Oakland, which closed in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.  

With only eight wines to choose from now, the wine list was deliberately cut shorter. The longer list of options distracted attention away from the cocktails. “It was hard for us to choose only a few because we tried so many that we liked and really wanted on the menu,” Clarke recalled. Currently, there are wines from France, New Zealand, Italy and Santa Barbara, with jaunty descriptions like “Zippy White” for a glass of sauvignon blanc ($11) and “Skin Contact” for a carbonic orange ($15).   

During the day, the South Berkeley neighborhood is busy with people working in the area and the Tuesday farmers’ market. But, Clarke said, at night it’s much quieter. “We feel that the area has so much potential. We just wish there were more businesses like ours,” she noted. “We hope that we can inspire more to come so we can have better foot traffic.” 

Neighbors have already told Clarke they’re glad Roses on Adeline moved in. She added, “In this area of Berkeley, people are really excited to have an all-around neighborhood spot that has cocktails and food that’s a little bit special.” 

Roses on Adeline, open Thu to Mon 4pm–late, 3218 Adeline St., Berkeley. 510.903.6733. rosesonadeline.com.

Jeffrey Edalatpour
Jeffrey Edalatpour’s writing about arts, food and culture has appeared in SF Weekly, Metro Silicon Valley, East Bay Express and KQED Arts.

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